Media Team Training

mediaministryChurch technicians are a critical part of the Chapel, and being a good church tech involves focus and responsibility. Many church techs jump into serving without prior training or with any idea of what they need to do. Don’t go it alone; I want to be your guide to learning church media production. If you’re interested in serving on Sheffield Chapel’s Media Team, then your basic training begins with this guide.

The Rules of the Booth

Learning to be a good church tech starts with a few simple rules…

  • Church media production isn’t just tech work, it’s God’s work.
  • Know the preferences of the Pastor and the musicians.
  • It’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.
  • No food or drinks in the sound booth, please.
  • Do not use phones, tablets, music players or games during services.
  • Watch, listen, focus, and be ready to respond.
  • Be excellent to each other!

I want you stepping into the church’s sound booth with confidence, and prepared both in technical and non-technical areas; this means everything from using the equipment to knowing how to meet the needs of the Pastor, musicians, and congregation.

Using the Soundboard

Yahmaha EMX5000-20Being a good audio technician isn’t easy and it should be taken seriously. It’s not just controlling the volume and it’s not just mixing, it’s a lot of work. Your peers will show you how to turn the equipment on and off, etc. Remember that mixing music is only one item in a long list of an audio tech’s responsibilities…

  • The musicians will have most of the settings on the soundboard “preset” for you, but you still have to pay attention to live queues, what’s happening up front and how to handle it if something strange happens.
  • Don’t play with any knobs or sliders if you don’t know what they do. Also, don’t turn all of the volumes or sliders down at the end of a session.
  • You need to ensure that the Pastor’s mic has fresh batteries, that it’s on and working properly.
  • Follow the sermon recording instructions correctly, they are in the white binder next to the computer. You  should start recording while he’s finishing his opening prayer, and you stop recording when the last song starts to play.
  • Label the recorded sermon CD with a marker, and give it to A.J.

These are just some of the basics, and you will learn from your peers as you go along. Most importantly, if you’re not sure about something, do not be afraid to ask questions!

Learning Soundboard Basics

Reading up on how to run soundboards and mixing boards will help you to understand what things are and how they work. You can find great church audio books on Amazon that you can use to learn more about running church audio equipment. If books aren’t for you (gasp) then consider watching Pro Church Tools with Brady Shearer or other church audio training videos to get yourself more familiar with the terms and concepts in a more general fashion.

Using the Computer

EasyWorship 2009The Media Computer is a very important part of our services, because it handles all of the lyrics, slides and videos for our services. Because of this, you really should only be using the Media Computer if you already have some understanding of Windows computers in general and how Windows works. The computer has a dual monitor display, the left monitor is only what you see in the booth, and the right monitor is what is shown on the projector screen up front. Your peers will show you how to turn on the equipment and the projector, to lower and raise the projector screen, etc. There are some basic rules to keep in mind when you’re running the computer during a live service…

  • Stay awake and pay attention, or you might be put on the spot in front of the congregation!
  • Keep up with the worship lyrics while the songs are being played.
  • Keep up with the Powerpoint slides during the Pastor’s sermons.
  • Don’t have food or drinks around the computer equipment, spills will kill it.
  • No games, web browsing, emailing, or social networking on the computer during services!
  • If you have a major technical issue, contact A.J. as soon as possible!

Learning EasyWorship Basics

EasyWorship is the primary software that we use on the Media Computer. We use EasyWorship to display song lyrics and Powerpoints to the congregation during sermons. Since EasyWorship is a critical component of our services, it is important that you learn how to use this software properly.

  • EasyWorship Training: This site has a number of helpful videos that show how EasyWorship works. Remember that the Praise Team will likely have the songs already added into the schedule for the order of service, and you will simply need to follow the song lyrics and slide queues.
  • EasyWorship Manual: You don’t need to memorize the manual, but having a copy of it on your computer, etc., will be a handy reference.

Using Other Programs

In addition to the EasyWorship software, we use many other programs on the Media Computer for various purposes, including…

  • Web browsers; which might be used to show web site content or internet videos.
  • Powerpoint; to show slideshows directly without using EasyWorship.
  • Video players; such as Windows Media Player, VLC, etc., to show DVDs or saved videos.

EasyWorship uses both screens automatically, however these other programs may display on the wrong screen. For example, if you start a DVD and it’s only showing on the left monitor, nobody else will see it, so you will have to “drag” the program (by the top bar, etc) over to the right monitor so that everyone can see it on the projector.

These are just some of the basics, and you will learn from your peers as you go along. Most importantly, if you’re not sure about something, do not be afraid to ask questions!

Media Volunteers Needed

Remember that you are doing the Lord’s work in the sound booth so you have to learn how to work with people, which isn’t always a popular idea among us techs. You need to be respectful, kind and understanding at all times. You should be ready to act on queues from people up front at a moment’s notice; learn the Pastor’s queues and listen to his prompts. Your goal should be to become a skilled church tech who can create a good presentation, despite unexpected circumstances. If you’re still interested in serving on the Chapel’s Media Team please contact A.J.