3 Steps to Better Volume (And A Happier Life)

Every church has had, is having, or will have issues with volume levels being too soft, just right, or too loud. It's inevitable. It will happen. Maybe not this week, or next week, but eventually someone, somewhere will submit a comment card or a passing comment usually resembling something like "why does the volume have to be so _________" (insert your favorite: "loud", "soft", "quiet", "deafening", "traumatizing", "ungodly", etc)?


Before you start banging your head against your desk, your soundboard, or your sound person, here are a few suggestions:

1. Get your pastor on board. Chances are, your pastor is hearing all the same comments that you are (or maybe even more). Be proactive and get his input. What is your pastor's desires for sound? Does he want a more congregational feel, where church attenders can hear those around them singing? Or does he want a more personal worship experience, where the level is a bit louder and people can't really hear their neighbor?

2. Get a SPL Meter. This handy little device will give you some concrete number data to measure with. People's opinions are based on their past experience and preferences, which are  subjective. A SPL meter will help you and your pastor come up with an acceptable level that's acceptable. It might not be preferred by every member of your church, but at least you'll be confident that you've worked to find an acceptable sound level with your pastor or team.

Remember, though, that while a SPL meter will help you and you pastor come to an agreement about a specific volume, a bad mix will sabotage your efforts from the outset.

3. Remember your role. As a worship minister, your primary job is to serve God, serve your pastor, and to serve your congregation. Keep in mind that the gentleman that just shot you the dirty look as he covered his ears is someone that God loves, and your church is trying to reach. React to all comments with grace and kindness, instead of defensiveness. If you can't serve with love, even in the face of criticism, perhaps your heart needs some changing. If you can't love the people that you're currently serving, why would God want to send you more?

Lastly, remember that if you're trying to make everyone happy, you're going to get discouraged. Talk things through with your pastor, get your heart right with the Lord, serve with gladness and excellence, and help people experience the presence of God!