Steps to Resolution
Solving these types of problems is relatively straightforward. Here’s what I do when I intervene for helping resolve an issue like the “worst-case scenario” I just outlined. It works with most perspective-based issues … and aren’t most issues based around differing perspectives?
The six steps you should follow:
1. Gather the team leads together with the pastors. This is the core group with which you’ll work through the problems.
2. Pray as a team for guidance, unity and resolution. NEVER start a meeting like this without praying first. At the very least, it helps to set the expectation that we’re doing this for God’s glory, not for us as individuals.
3. Sit both sides down and listen to each side’s perspective about the issue. With this step, it’s important to have everyone be as honest as possible, knowing that only through honest communication can the issues be put on the table to be solved. The idea is focusing on the issues, not on the personalities. This is where the pastor can be a big help. He can help steer the conversation back to the issues so as to remove the personal confrontations. Each side needs to be respectful and just listen while the other side speaks. Remember this is about understanding the perspective and perception of the other side. I’ll usually make notes of both sides’ points of view.
4. Reaffirm the commitment to work this out as a team for the good of the congregation and for the glory of God. Whatever it takes to get to that point is what both sides need to agree on and work toward as their only goal. Without this level of buy-in, the resolution is doomed for failure.
5. Consider the other’s perspective. I usually ask the question of the tech team, “Have you been on the stage listening to what the worship team is hearing while they are practicing?” I ask the same question of the musicians: “Have you heard the full band play while you’ve been in the audience and in the sound booth?” Ninety-five percent of the time, the response I get is “No.” So the initial step in achieving perspective is having the tech team go onstage at each musician’s position and listen to what the musician is hearing, both from front-of-house and from their monitors. Then I have the musicians each come out into front-of-house and into the sound booth to hear what the techs hear. It’s important that there is a replacement musician playing the same position as the musician who steps out so they can hear what they would sound like.
By altering the perspective of the teams, the perception starts to change. Now having “walked in their shoes,” each side can understand the balance that’s needed between the worship team needing to hear themselves clearly and the tech team needing to have volumes on stage low enough to provide good clear sound in the house without having to blast everyone out of their seats.
6. Time for fine-tuning. Now that everyone’s perspective has been altered, they can start working as a united team to fix what’s broken for the good of the congregation. This is where you should walk everyone through six crucial steps:
- Turn everything down to zero. No monitor volume, no amp volume, no front-of-house volume. Have the band play a song they are familiar enough with that they don’t need to hear each other. Get the front-of-house level and EQ set first. Turn up the house a bit louder than normal. The reason for doing front-of-house levels first is it gives the musicians an existing baseline for later building their monitor needs.
- Start with the worship leader and his instrument. First make sure his amp and monitor are set up so they point directly at his head, if he uses such a setup. If he can’t see straight down the speaker, it’s not in the right spot for optimal sound reproduction. Once the amp/monitor speakers are properly positioned, have him bring up his instrument amp level until he can just barely hear it. Do the same with his vocal. Now EQ the monitor feed to get the signal to cut through the mix. For every other monitor send, bring up the worship leader vocal and instrument. Everyone needs to have that combination in their monitors. At this point, step back and listen from the audience perspective. Is the house sound louder than the monitors? If yes, then that’s good.