You are browsing the archive for excellence.

Two More Tips For Worship Leaders

March 29, 2012 in Featured, For Worship Leaders

This post is for Worship Leaders who are responsible for the majority of the elements involved in a worship service. Lets face it, the number of churches with a dedicated Technology Director is somewhere around 2% of all churches, and less than half of those have a fulltime Worship Arts/Media staff.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not in that 2%.  But even if you are, there are things you need to pay closer attention to. Here are two of them:

How Your Services Look. At my church, our lead and associate pastors have input into all we do. But at the end of the day, they empower me to determine how our stage, room and presentations look.  Effective Worship Leaders probe and seek out solutions to achieve the feel and the look of a service they want.  What technology or materials do you need in order to pull off an idea with excellence? What do you have in your inventory that you could be using differently to achieve better results? Who, on your staff or in your congregation can help you implement these ideas?  Successful leaders are never satisfied. They constantly anticipate change and lead others through that change. We should constantly look for ways to move our services forward with new or existing equipment and tools. And with today’s plethora of inexpensive gear and material, there is never a good reason for the look or sound of your service to become stagnant. Remember, we do not compete with other churches, but with movies, podcasts, Youtube videos, gaming and creative services suites, which come standard on nearly every computer in the world. Your product is being compared to every form of entertainment they’ve been exposed to throughout the week. Why would we allow THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE IN THE WORLD to fall short of their expectations? Unless you believe the new Pepsi message is more important than the New Testament message, your Sunday service’s production value should be on par with the best commercials, TV shows and movies your congregation is exposed to every day. Lets not allow what we can’t do, get in the way of what God wants us to do. Get creative. Find a way. Don’t settle.

 How Your Services Sound: Even though our church is blessed with a seasoned Tech Director and an awesome FOH guy, the sound that comes off that stage is still under my authority. Every entity has a message. In the church, ours is Jesus. It’s our job to make sure the message of Jesus is heard clearly. But almost as important, is that the message-in-song be presented consistently.  People want to know what to expect in your service. Sure, specific elements of surprise within a service are necessary, such as using a rapper in the middle of a well-known song, but The Three Ms – Music, Mix and Message – need to be consistent from week to week.  Does your band have an identity via their core sound? If I heard a recording of your worship team, could I identify them in the first three notes (think Lincoln Brewster)?  Or do you sound like everyone else? Do you understand audio mixing methods and have a grasp on the processing & effects tools that are currently in your arsenal to pull off the sound you desire? If not, start learning. Pull in experts in your area to give you advice and tips on creating a consistent sound that helps you deliver God’s message in a way that people will accept, respond to and tell their friends about. God’s message deserves to be heard in a relevant and compelling way. Your mix is crucial to the success of that goal.

 Much of this is no-brainer reminders of everything you already know. But many of you will read these two points and realize you need to pay more attention to the look and sound of your service. Below are a few websites you can use to move you ahead and get you out of any rut you may have been stuck in. Of course, if you need some one-on-one consulting, All Praise Ministries can help you with that as well. Hit us up and lets start discussing your specific situation and find a solution that works for you!

 Blessings,

Jimmy Smith

RESOURCES for How You Look:
I like to visit websites and look for thought starters. Here are some sites that have plenty of ideas for staging.
Church Stage Design Ideas
Staging Concepts

Concept Design Productions

There are too many sources for live sound for me to dare list them all here.
We can help you find a qualified sound consultant in your area. Just give us a call.

How to Attract and Retain Great Musicians

March 27, 2012 in Featured, Worship Team

I get asked all the time, “how do you find such great musicians.” And while my answers have always been straight forward and to-the-point, I’m still disappointed to see their reaction to my answers:

  1.  Be Great!  Greatness attracts greatness. If you’re a mediocre leader or musician, chances are the great players will not want to be on your team. Ok, ok. So you’re not great, but still need solid musicians. Fine, call people you know who are great at what they do.  Don’t know anyone like that?  Then hit the social trail and tell everyone in the whole wide world that you have a need and want the best of the best to audition. It’s more time consuming than a great reference, but may be your only shot at this point.
  2. Take Care of Your Musicians! This one is a no brainer, yet the second most rejected piece of advice I give on this subject. Musicians are typically “different” than most others on a church staff. And typically the lowest paid as well. The LEAST you can do to help compensate them for their time is to provide three simple  staples: Food, Water, Rest.  You’ll be surprised how eager musicians become to serve with you on a full stomach and a rested body. At every rehearsal, we feed our team. And we feed them WELL!  Not just pizza or sub sandwiches, but Chicken or Steak, Mashed potatoes or Mac and Cheese, green beans or Corn. I’m talking, a Southern heart-attack-on-a-plate meal! We eat for thirty minutes, chat about the music a little and then rehearse. Talk about getting your team there on time? This will help!
  3. Pay them!  By the way, THIS is the #1 most-rejected piece of advice I give. But you pay your pastor, your youth director, your janitor! Do you expect more of a commitment from the unrewarded? You get what you give. “Musician” is typically the one position that  requires a high-level, single-minded skill set. Yet, many expect them to offer those skills for free in the name of The Lord.  God wants YOU to be fair to everyone on your ministry team. He also wants you to reach for excellence.

By implementing one or all of these steps, you increase your chances of finding, retaining and multiplying great musicians for your church. Talk about these in your next staff meeting and let me know how it goes! Until then, if you need a leader, musician or singer for a worship service, All Praise Ministries can help. We know a lot of GREAT players and singers for hire. But if you ever want to use them again, you’d better treat them well.