Yesterday morning at our 11:00am service we were halfway through our opening block of songs when I heard a crazy noise coming out of the speakers that seemed to make the whole room jump. No, it wasn’t my drummer deciding to let loose. It was the sound board deciding to go nuts for a second. Before deciding to do it again. At which point the engineer made the decision to mute everything. And restart the board.
So for 45 seconds yesterday we were smack dab in the middle of a song and the sound system was pretty much completely off. The interesting thing was that the band had no idea that the system was totally off for 45 seconds because our in-ear monitors were working just fine. (Chalk this one up as one major reason why in-ears might detrimentally effect your worship leading: because you can’t hear what they hear).
But I knew something had happened. I had heard the crazy noise and I had seen the people jump, and then I noticed that they seemed more reserved for the rest of the set. It would have been nice to know that they weren’t really hearing anything, but since I was blissfully unaware, I kept on trucking.
And the congregation kept trucking too. They were dealing with an enormous distraction, so of course they pulled back a bit, but they kept on singing. The projector hadn’t shut down, so the lyrics were still up. And they knew the song. And the band was playing and singing. So, slowly the sound system came back on, and slowly the engineer started fading up the channels hoping that the board would cooperate. And when I sat down I found out what had happened.
What did I learn?
1. In-ear monitors are great, but they really do cut you off from the congregation.
2. Unless there’s some sort of emergency, or a total loss of power, it’s better to keep on trucking than screech everything to a halt.
3. This kind of thing is humbling. It reminds you that you can’t control everything.
4. When the sound system dies, it’s probably best to keep people singing. If I had tried to stop the song and say something, it would have been hard for them to hear what I was saying. Plus, what would I have said?
5. Congregations look for cues from the people on stage. If you keep your cool, then they will too.