The time will come when every church is looking for a sound tech. There can be multiple reasons why we need a new tech:
- The church lost the person who ran the sound for years for one reason or another.
- The sound system has been upgraded or a new system has been installed and the requirements for running sound are now beyond the capabilities of the current church sound tech.
- We added a new service and need additional personnel beyond what we have had in the past.
Regardless of the reason, we need a new sound tech. No one in the congregation seems to be volunteering even though we have lots of people attending. So … what do we do?
We need volunteers. We are going to require that the person is present at many (if not all) of our services. They will have to be at church early and leave late. They will need to have a technical knowledge of the sound system. This is a big job. Do we need to pay someone to do it?
Before I launch into this colloquy, let me give you my personal bent on hiring staff in general:
First, I believe that a church needs to be very careful in hiring any staff position. This goes double when the position is not directly related the main purposes of the church .. which I define as worship, evangelism, discipleship and ministry to others (some call that service projects … but I don’t like the “works” connotation that this has (OK … it’s just a thing I have)).
Second, the “fellowship of believers” are the workers in the field. The staff (including pastors) should be in our churches to “equip the saints” to minister to the world. Too often, a congregation hires someone because no one wants to do it. That is not a good reason to hire someone. In that situation, the congregation needs to get off their duffs and put their faith into action!!
Third, how is it that we christians, who have already received the priceless gift of salvation from our Lord and Maker, believe that we should be compensated monetarily to do jobs in the church? Haven’t we already received more than we can repay?
Now, before you get me wrong, I do believe that there is certianly biblical presidence for paying church staff … particlarly clergy (or pastors or whatever term you use in your church). However, I am fully convinced that some congregations go way past what is reasonable in paying individuals for doing jobs in the church.
Now that I have that out of my system, let’s get back to the subject: Sound Techs.
Now, despite my previous ramblings, I do think there are some reasons why paying a sound tech is a good idea. Let me explain:
The time requirements for a sound tech are great. And, the tasks that are required are not able to be done at home or over the internet. You must be on-site. And, if the sound tech doesn’t show up, it can ruin the service or whatever event they didn’t show up at!
Have you ever heard the expression, “Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day … teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime”? I am a firm believer that we are much better off if we teach people how to accomplish tasks than we are in doing the tasks for them (or paying someone to do the tasks for them). Therefore, in many situations, I would much rather train multiple individuals to run sound than to pay a sound tech. In fact, that is the premise of this site!
However, there are situations when this just will not fill the bill. A mega-church with 10,000 attenders will nearly always have a paid sound tech … and they should! But, most churchs are not mega churches. So … what should and can be done?
- Get volunteers to volunteer for the sound ministry. Get more than you need. Set up a schedule for them and have them learn how to run the sound board by taking the lessons provided here at “The Sound Tech”!
- Hire a consultant to do some training. Where do you find someone to do that? Go to the local music store and ask them if they have someone on staff who will do training on the sound system and pay them to train multiple people at once. You will probably need to set up 4 to 6 “weekly” classes (at the same time the praise team is practicing if you have one). Then schedule some follow-up training for once a month for 5 or 6 times. When you have finished this training, you will have a group of trained sound techs!
- If you church is big enough to have a full-time music minister, then you may want to consider a part-time “staff” sound tech. By the way, the music minister should have a very good working knowledge of the sound system.
- If your church is 1,500 attenders or more and you have a full-time music minister, you may be at the size to begin to consider a full-time sound tech. However, I would recommend that this person be a full-blown “church tech”, having computer responsibilities as well as sound system responsibilities.
In my personal opinion, if you don’t have a full-time music minister, you have no business even considering “paying” a sound tech. A music minister should have all of the capabilites to do the sound system and training people.
– The Church Tech