15 Ways to Review Your Church Service

How does your service rate? I’ve visited different churches this year and found myself analyzing the audio aspects the minute I walk in the door. I’m not talking just the mix. Today, I’m listing out the 15 points I check. Review your last service against this list.

The 15-Point Service Review

Pre-Service

1. Does the tech booth look chaotic five minutes before the service? Is anyone in the booth five minutes before the service?

Last-minute stuff comes up, but it shouldn’t come up before EVERY service.

2. Right before the service, is anyone doing production work on the stage?

When people start filling the sanctuary, they should feel the church is ready for them.

3. Could the stage be cleaner?  

A messy stage can be a distraction for some people.

4. Is the pastor fumbling with the wireless pack before the service?  

The pastor should be comfortable handling their own microphone. If they aren’t, they need a short training or someone to help them with it.

5. Are the speakers in a good location?  

Bad installation locations result in a bad sound. I’ve seen speakers placed with one side right up to the wall.

6. Is the sound booth in a good location so the tech is in-line with the main loud speakers?

Poor booth location puts the tech in a spot where they must mix for the location. This mean it has to sound wrong for it to sound right for most of the congregation

Service

7. Did the service start with a missed mic cue?  

This sort of problem gets the congregation distracted from the beginning. They worry it might be a sign of bad things to come.

8. Can the pastor or other speaker be clearly heard and understood?

This means they’re at the right volume, but also the EQ work ensures they can be understood. There’s a difference.

9. Is the worship band mixed in layers with instruments supporting each other, clearly separated and with the vocals sitting on top?

That’s self-explanatory.

10. Does any part of the band wash out too far into the sanctuary? For example, guitar amp sound, drum sound or floor wedge sound?

Stage volume can destroy a great house mix.

11. How does the congregation react to the music? Do they worship in their own way or does the majority look annoyed or disconnected?  

The congregation has an expectation of how the band should sound because it’s what enables them to worship.

12. If video is shown, does the audio sound good?

Just because you’re playing a video doesn’t mean the video has great sounding audio.

Post-Service

13. Did anyone on stage trip or appear nervous when walking on stage?

The stage must be a safe place to work. I’ve seen a pastor trip on a microphone cable.

14. How many problems occurred during the service? How many were likely quickly forgotten versus completely distracting?

Stuff happens, but how much was preventable?

15. Looking at the problems in the service, from audio quality to stage safety to mistakes, which category do they fall into: training issue, equipment issue or room acoustics?

Assign each problem to one of the three areas and then do something about it.

The Take Away

The point of this exercise is to review your last service, find room for improvement and then improve. I’m not demanding perfection (neither should you), but you should desire excellence.  

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Chris Huff
Chris Huff is the author of Audio Essentials for Church Sound. He also teaches all aspects of live audio production, from the technical fundamentals to creative music mixing to keeping your sanity. Find out more at www.behindthemixer.com