Transitioning worship (Part 2) Technology improvement

Here we have another warmly welcomed guess post from our friend Kenny Lamb who works with the Baptist State Convention in North Carolina, USA.

Just to say from the outset – just because this talks about transitioning to a contemporary style of sung worship it doesn’t necessarily mean you HAVE to have this level of equipment or budget. Please take it more as some practical thoughts to work through if your church is considering something similar.

East City Church has begun a journey of worship transformation. In my previous post on transitioning worship styles, I introduced the church and the summary of steps that would be needed. This week, I will explore the need for technology improvement to support the desired changes.

East City Church has a reasonably good audio system already in place. However, the demands on the system will be much greater as the church begins to incorporate a worship band and vocal team in addition to their current offerings. Additionally, the church does not have a video system at all in the sanctuary; so much is to be done to provide video support.

Providing the infrastructure of audio and video support can take quite a bit of time to get into place, so start this area early on in the process.

The church plans these action steps:

  • Install a new video system, complete with a “confidence monitor” (rear screen for worship leaders).
    • The church will designate a team to work with video contractors to get proposals for the job.
    • The team will evaluate the proposals (see post on how to determine the correct screen size for additional help) and determine which contractor can best meet the needs at the appropriate pricing.
    • A carpenter may need to be secured to conform the sanctuary to the video needs, especially in cases where original architectural aesthetics are trying to be preserved. For East City Church, there will be modification to the baptistry area to house a drop down screen that will be completely hidden when retracted.
    • The projects will be initiated to be completed prior to the proposed launch date.
  • Purchase computer and needed software
    • Evaluate worship software such as EasyWorship, ProPresenter, Media Shout, and SongShowPlus to determine which best serves your needs and make the purchase. Most likely, you will also need to install Microsoft PowerPoint on the computer as well since this program is so widely used by presenters.
    • Evaluate various computer vendors’ offerings and select the one that seems to best meet your needs within your budget. Make sure you select hardware that optimizes the software you have selected.
  • Map out audio input needs for the new service
    • Trace out all current inputs and make sure they are working.
    • Determine if additional inputs will be needed to support the needs for the unified worship service to communicate to the professional that will be evaluating the audio system (see #4)
  • Determine and install upgrades to audio system (note: some sound systems merely need tweaking by a professional, while others may need some additional gear or a complete overhaul)
    • Contract with an expert to thoroughly evaluate your system
    • Consider needed upgrades and secure needed funding to have improvements done prior to the launch date.
    • Have the system optimized and tuned for the room
  • Acquire any needed instruments or amplifiers needed for the band. Some instruments would, of course, be provided by the musicians, but keyboards, drums, and often amplifiers for guitars would be provided by the church.
  • Purchase additional  microphones (wireless or wired) to support the additions.

Your church may require additional or fewer steps. It is imperative that you prepare your audio and video systems to provide the needed support for your new format.

Next time, I will discuss the benefits of putting together a worship leadership team to help lead in the transformation and to plan worship services.

Kenny Lamm, senior consultant for worship and music for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, is a frequent worship conference leader with a strong focus on equipping leaders in North Carolina (USA) and Southeast Asia. His blog, Renewing Worship, features posts that explore ways to renew–impart new life and vigor to–the worship in the local church.

Other posts you may find helpful:

Index of all Musicademy’s previous articles on worship and technology

10 things I wish I’d known when I started leading worship – Vicky Beeching

Does worship leader = musician or can others lead worship?

Harmonizing with the sermon – set list choices