As the title asks... in your church, do you expect sound and media techs to be there at your worship rehearsals each week?
In my experience, it is extremely helpful for a number of reasons. Those involved in running sound, lights, media projection, etc play a vital role and need to rehearse as much as the band on the stage does. Here are some thoughts:
1) The media team must feel like they are a part of the overall worship team. You need to do what you can to make sure they feel that you acknowledge the importance of the roles they play, that you appreciate them, and that you want to set them up for a win every Sunday.
2) Especially if you are in a church where there is some flow and flexibility in the worship, the media team must be as prepared as possible. When words are being projected on the screen, if they are wrong, it is much more of a hindrance and distraction than it is a help to anyone. Make sure those that are running those words KNOW the songs and that they know your signals as a worship leader. They need to pay attention to you and follow you as much as the band and vocals do.
3) On that, whatever you give your band and singers access to for learning new songs... that should be made available to your media team as well. They need to learn the songs too! The more familiar they are with the songs, the more likely they'll have correct words on the screen... the more likely they'll remember to turn up the guitar channel for the instrumental solo part of the song... the more likely all sound and lighting changes will be done at the right times... and the more likely the audio mix will be in line with what you want it to be.
4) Communicate with the media team. You can't get upset with them for not doing something that you didn't clearly tell them you were expecting them to do. Make sure your sound tech is aware of anything out of the ordinary and provide written details. For example:
- in Song A, Sally is leading the verses and the rest of us will join on the Chorus
- in Song B, Joe is playing a guitar solo after the Bridge
- in Song C, we are playing with a loop track so channel X will need boosted in our monitors
Those are just some thoughts. If your media team feels that they are a part of the whole worship team, they will be more excited about it and more likely to do a good job. If they feel appreciated, they're less likely to quit on you. If anything goes wrong technically in a service, the congregation glares at those in the sound booth. That can be discouraging and stressful to your media team... so do your part to set them up for a win each week. When it goes well, they'll feel good about it, knowing that they played a key part in a great worship experience!
What other thoughts, suggestions, questions does anyone else have?
At the last (multi-site) church I played at, the sound tech and the producer were there for rehearsals. The video person wasn't.
At the current (multi-site) church I play at, there are no rehearsals, only a service run-through about an hour before countdown. The iMacs that deliver the video are pre-loaded with everything needed for that particular worship day. Instructions for the sound and media and lighting techs are part of the typical Planningcenter details for a worship day. Also, the central creative team makes a video for all the sites that explains what needs to happen when during worship, right down to the second. It's basically a production run-through. The URL for the video is sent out to all team members a couple of days before worship day. So, with the Planningcenter info plus the video instructions, everyone's expected to be 100% good to go. Typically that's the way it turns out, since most people on the teams are super committed and do their homework.
We have the sound and tech/media guys at our rehearsal - this came about when we brought the worship team and the production team in under one department - Creative Team. This really helped to build good relationship and instead of it feeling like two seperate teams, each trying to do their role, it now works like one united team with each person playing their part. Expectation was set upfront and having both areas of the team rehearsing together helps takes the "unknown" out of a worship service. We have team nights where we hang out together, eat food, and get to know each other on a relational level and this also greatly helps. Both teams need each other and taking a unified team approach has helped improve the overall outcome of what happens in a worship serve.
Thanks for your input! Team nights are also a great idea, as the more connected and comfortable everyone is with each other relationally, the more they'll flow together and connect in the worship service. Good stuff!