I remember when I first was appointed as the Director of Audio at a church. My first thought was that I had to make it sound amazing and take care of all the problems that I heard every week.
Knowing what's going on in the lives of your team will make you a better leader.
"Get out of my way! I am going to revolutionize the sound at this church!" were some of my initial thoughts.
Then a kid, probably 13-years-old, came up to me and tapped me on the side and pronounced, "You must be important! Tell me what you do."
I told him I mixed the audio for everyone who hears it. He said, "When I grow up, I want to be like you." It was at that moment that I realized my job really was not the role of "fixing" or "mixing” the sound, but to be a leader, an example.
My focus should be on leading a team of people.
While my job was in the audio area of the church, my real priority was the lives of those who worked with me, and how they could further grow in their walk with Christ.
Similar to a coach, I was there to challenge them, push them to the next level and encourage them when they fell down.
I firmly believe that everyone and everything was created to worship God. Psalm 66:4 ESV All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your name. Notice it says all the earth.
Everything was created to worship God.
Audio consoles and gear included. They are instruments of worship, like guitars or keyboards. They should be used and applied in a manner that worships God. This means it should be our goal to steadily steer people to focus their entire lives toward worshipping God.
What you do in your personal life counts. It makes a difference in how you act and interact with others around you. Those interactions change how you mix, and they also affect how others mix.
If you are mixing front of house, and someone else is mixing monitors, how you treat your monitor engineer will affect the overall sound. It just will.
If something is going on in the personal lives of your team or you, it will change your mix. If a worship leader is conducting his personal life in a sinful manner, we would all agree that this changes how he leads worship.
I would argue that everyone on the technical teams are worship leaders.
We are also worship instruments. How we conduct our lives outside of church, effects the audio mix, setup, etc.
As audio directors, how do we hold our teams accountable in their personal and work lives? I highly recommend having one-on-one personal and face-to-face meetings with each team member to help guide them on a weekly basis. Ask tough questions and be prepared for tough answers.
Make sure they are doing the same with their team members. Knowing what's going on in the lives of your team will make you a better leader.
Notice that we didn't talk much about technical things.
Even though gear, organizational charts, mixing competency and technical knowledge all play into this role, realize that I'm not saying we should ignore them or that those things don't matter. We should work hard in those areas. Bringing everyone up a notch in the technical is an important part of this role, but building leaders and a team around you is more important.
If you are the only person on the team, how you mix for that service may not matter, if you can't cover all the bases. You need a team of people, or you will burn out.
The Bible says, “Come to me (Jesus), all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me (Jesus), for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:2830 NIV) Notice that it says to "learn from me (Jesus)".
People are attracted to passionate leaders who want to build a team of technicians that love Jesus, are learning from Jesus, progressing Biblically in their craft and want the best for the church. Doing that creates strong relationships not only with your team, but it will be noticed by the lead pastor and the worship team, and will help you be successful in your role as the Director of Audio.