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Church Production: The Power of the Unseen

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In the world of live church production, most rely on their obvious senses when analyzing what’s going on. How does the audio sound? Aren’t the lights beautiful? Is the video style enhancing the vibe onstage? How does this song make me feel?

It’s certainly gratifying, and perhaps even fun, to determine our success based on these mostly visible senses. But I contend that the invisible side (read unseen), is far more important, and is perhaps one of the most ignored.

For me, this invisible side of church production is comprised of systems, processes, maintenance, equipment, skill-sets, and even attitude. These invisible elements in church production are what comprise the basis for the visible, or tangible side, to come into existence in the first place.

We’ve spent many years at Church on the Move, establishing invisible procedures to deal with almost every situation we may encounter in a live church production event.

Church Production: The Power of the Unseen

Prepare for failure: human, technical, act of God, whatever. But I thought we were supposed to avoid failure? How in the world do we prepare for failure when we’re not supposed to fail? Become a fatalist? Adopt an overly morbid outlook?

Not at all.

We do it by staying cognizant of this one fact: every single technician and every single piece of equipment CAN and WILL fail at some time.

Although no one ever told me I wasn’t allowed to fail, I’ve opted to spend our time developing ways to deal with failure accordingly. The crazy thing is that even though this is perhaps our biggest cornerstone tenant, it’s completely invisible to almost everyone. It’s literally had to become a state of mind, not a tangible object.

Here’s a good one: when mixing, how often does your audio engineer check a mic before it goes live onstage? Our engineers do this more times than you can even imagine. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve caught a problem and fixed it before anyone ever knew. This is all from exercising one of my obsessive compulsive habits of checking a mic a zillion times. And then checking it once more just to be safe. Again, it’s a seemingly invisible system, but yet SO IMPORTANT to the success of an event!

Establish paperwork to support events

Input lists, stage plots, rigging plots, schedules? They might seem overkill or boring to some, but these can help relay pertinent information to how an event is going to function. Beyond that though, they create an invisible procedure that will be a win for your team. It’s a win that can be repeated consistently time and time again. It happens because someone took a few minutes to think through the plan thoroughly and commit it to paper. All that work and all those printed pages for a procedure that is completely invisible to the audience? You know it.