Thought I’d reach back for today’s post – this is an article I wrote about a year ago & still feel pretty much the same way:
This post got it’s start after reading and thinking about Eric’s little diddy over on his site about professionalism in the church. I believe places have different vibes. Churches, restaurants, retail stores, museums, malls, theme parks, etc. You walk into a “Red Robin” and it has a loud, colorful, busy vibe – you expect a noisy, family, & fun time. Walk into a Ruth’s Kris and it’s dark, the servers are dressed up, and it’s candle lit. You expect a quiet, exquisite, expensive, and unforgettable dinner.
I bring this up because as of late LifeChurch seems to have lost some of its vibe. Now I know this my make some of my more charismatic friends uncomfortable – those who attribute absolutely everything to the Holy Spirit, and what God is or isn’t doing in the church. Now I’m not one to demystify Christianity, but I don’t think that the Holy Spirit is 100% responsible for the vibe. I’m more along the lines that we do everything that we are gifted and called to do – the very best that we can, and then we rely on God to show up and do something amazing every week. At least that’s my opinion. That said, I believe that there are some things that are definite vibe killers in the church worship service. Some very practical, some kind of liquid – hard to really describe. Here’s some things that come to mind – some that we are dealing with, some that we’re not (and of course this is from my perspective in a medium size church in southern California).
Lighting: too much lighting, not enough lighting (rarely the case), bad lighting (ie 80’s and 90’s colors), no haze, too much haze (or fog)
Messy Stage: garbage, drinks, food, guitar cases, guitars with no stands, non-matching guitar stands, sheet music, cables strewn about (ooh I like how that sounds), YELLOW, ORANGE, GREEN, or any other colored extension cords, leaning mic stands, non-matching mic stands, mic stands to hold hand-held mics, dirty & scratched drum shields, ugly amps, poorly placed musicians and vocalists, monitors
Messy Room: garbage, unnecessary junk, furniture strewn about (there we go again!), crooked screens, unswept or unvacumed floors, anything unorganized
Bad Band/Speaker attire: I know, a touchy subject, yet very important I think. Football jerseys and bermuda shorts say a whole lot about a person on stage. I’m not really a designer but I do know that clothes can either help you or hurt you
Bad Communication from the Stage: no smiling, no excitement, not looking people in the eye, no passion, mis-communication (wrong times/dates/stumbling through things, or worse – asking people in the audience), no leadership – especially in worship music, reading notes, having a music stand in front of your face (having a music stand at all!)
Bad Sound: poor acoustics, too loud, not loud enough, bad frequencies (this is usually what people mean when they say that it’s too loud), bad wireless mics, poorly mixed music
Bad Video: wrong words on screens during worship music, poorly planned backgrounds (are you still using nature stills?), too many words on the screens with a bad font (check this blog post), projectors not filling the screen(s), unfocused projectors, bad signals (flicker, distortion, etc.), bad IMAG (camera shots – too much to talk about in this post)
Bad Flow of Service: This is one of my BIG pet peeves. Bad transitions between songs, and other service elements, dead air, videos not firing on time, bad lighting cues, band not ready at the beginning of service or after message, speakers not prepared for their responsibilities, last minute changes that don’t get communicated to the entire team, announcements that go on forever (another future post)
Those are some that I’ve noticed, and some that we are dealing with. The way I look at it is if we can take care of these distractions and poor planning, we create an atmosphere where there is more freedom for people to be touched by God. We create the vibe, God does the work in the heart.
What about you, what are your vibe killers?
That picture is of a band called dEUS, I just thought it had excellent vibe…
Added for 09:
Wrong Words for Songs: This one I’ve noticed more being on the outside of the worship team/tech team. Wrong words & bad timing is a major vibe killer, people need those words up there – my guess is that a majority of people don’t know the songs as well as you do. I try and tell tech people to to change those words as quickly as possible, as soon as the last line is sung – switch it. Also worship leaders need to work closely with tech people on phrasing; how does the song flow, and how do you plan on singing it? Make sure you have the right words up there too. There’s a lot of options in phrasing/wording that should be nailed down pre-service.
No Pre-Production Meeting: I think I don’t need to spend much time explaining. If you don’t tell people where they’re going how can you expect them to get there in one peice? Plus this is a great place to spend some good time building people up, praying together, and hearing new ideas.
No Post-Production Meeting: I think this may be the key to taking the worship experience to the next level. I’ve never been successful in implimenting this, but I’ve heard some really good stories from other churches that do this. Basically people (tech, band, speakers, etc) should expect to have an open, adult conversation about what worked, what didn’t, where we could sharpen things up. This creates an atmosphere where critique becomes healthy (not just having to talk to people when they miss the mark). Also, you can celebrate together when things go right!