Don’t be LATE! My fellow media technicians. Let me make a request to you pretty please. It doesn’t matter what presentation software you are using. Powerpoint, Keynote,Propresenter, EasyWorship, Media Shout, Song Show Plus, … It doesn’t matter. I would say probably THE #1 most distracting thing about using media in worship is when we put the wrong words up … which we all know to avoid, but a very close #2 that happens ALL THE TIME, is waiting to put up the words until we are already supposed to be singing them! If we are already supposed to be singing the line when it goes up, you are too late! You need to have the words up there BEFORE we are to start singing them.
Why are we late so often?
1) You aren’t paying attention to what is going on right now.
There are a lot of fancy things to look at, especially in some of our modern presentation programs. We can be changing the little labels to read “chorus”, be preparing the announcement or video slides, …
During the worship time itself, please CONCENTRATE ON WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT AT THE MOMENT. Resist the urge to tinker.
2) You don’t know how the song goes.
Chances are the worship team has practiced before this. Chances are this song is available online beforehand. You can learn the songs just like the musicians do. Make it happen guys!
3) You know the song too well
You know the song inside out and don’t notice that the words aren’t on the big screen. Sing along please and NOTICE!
4) You are thinking like a musician
You can’t hit “next slide” on the downbeat. You’re too late then. Not a lot, but enough to be distracting every single time. Put the words up BEFORE we need to start singing them!
5) You are “playing it safe”
Resist the urge! Yes, you might be wrong about what is coming next. The worship leader might skip the prechorus and go straight to the chorus, or repeat the chorus instead of going to the next verse. And people would notice that. And yes, it would be distracting, but NOT AS DISTRACTING AS BEING LATE ALL THE TIME! You are helping to LEAD. You can’t follow.
6) You are afraid of cueing people too early
Don’t worry if you put the words up “too soon”. They won’t start singing in the wrong spot. They will follow the worship leader just like the rest of the band. It’s not like you are following the bouncy ball above the words and you need to give it to them right before, or they’ll mess up. Besides, some people like to be reading and thinking about the words before they sing them. Give them that chance! Don’t worry about being early!
7) The Worship Leader changes things on the fly
Yes, we do that. Some more than others. Some with more clear signals than others. Some of our churches to the songs “just like the CD” or “Just like we practiced”. I personally think that this is often a waste of the possibilities of LIVE MUSIC. That’s the main advantage of LIVE MUSIC… we can jump around, we can change things. Otherwise we might as well put on an iTunes playlist. That would sound better. No really. It would be mixed to perfection, perfectly compressed, … and completely unable to respond to what was happening in the room at that particular moment. What a waste! Let’s all work together to make a creation that could not have happened anywhere else on the planet and really matters. This is OUR offering to God. Prepare prepare prepare …. and then let the Spirit lead!
One more suggestion: Cooperation!
Maybe let someone else run the presentation
If all else fails, there are actually multiple skills required to put together a worship service. Maybe you have terminal ADHD/ADD and it doesn’t matter how hard you try … you are great at building and preparing the presentation … but you can’t put up the right slide at the right time if your life depended on it…. Ask for help! There is probably someone who wouldn’t be able to put together the presentation to save their life, but clicking on the words that we are singing at the right time would be a piece of cake to them. Maybe we need to find partners to can team up, rather than expecting one person to have all the skills all rolled into one: propresenter operator, propresenter builder, photoshop, imovie, …. Can someone help you?
I don’t mean to just be hard on you. Yes, your job is difficult. One of the most difficult and important in the whole band. As a matter of fact, if I had just one volunteer besides myself to help me lead a congregation in worship …. it will be the guy putting the words on the screen. That’s how important and helpful YOU are! And people don’t understand how hard it is. Computers hang and freeze, worship leaders change their minds, don’t get stuff to you in advance, you have to program, spell check, …. tun lights on and off maybe, run sound, …. and the only time people notice you is if you make a mistake or put up some artwork that someone thinks is “distracting” …. It’s a pretty thankless job sometimes. I know. So…Thank you so very much for your service my dear media friends! Thank you for your service in our churches. Please take this in the way it is meant: as helpful constructive feedback. It’s a sign of appreciation that we care enough to tell you the truth even if it might hurt, for your good and the good of God’s Kingdom, which is the point of all of this anyway!
May we all put a smile on God’s face!
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