What Your Team Can Do When There’s Friction with the Worship Team
Show of hands; how many of you experience some friction between the music team and the tech team? I’ve asked that question at many classes and I usually find myself looking at many hands in the air. This is a sad state of affairs, but not an uncommon one. Usually, people are in my class to learn the secret to making that friction go away. I suspect that’s why you’re reading this article as well. You are looking for the one thing you can do to make it all go away. While I hate to disappoint, there is no magic bullet. It turns out, getting along is hard.
It’s All About Relationships
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said that phrase, but I’ll keep on saying it. The only real way to make tension and friction disappear between music and tech is to build relationships. The bummer is that building relationships is hard and takes time. The good news is, once you do it, everyone will benefit, including the congregation. Believe it or not, the congregation knows when there is tension between the tech booth and the stage. I know; I’ve experienced it first hand. I had to spend time building relationships to make it go away. Once I did, the entire worship experience changed. You could feel it in the room.
A friend of mine often says, “It’s hard to curse out your worship leader when you were at his house with your families for dinner last night.” Fear and tension and conflict evaporate in the presence of relationships. It takes time, it takes effort, but it’s worth it.
We’re On The Same Team
I like to think of the music team and tech team as two sides of the same coin. One side can’t exist without the other, and one is not complete without the other. We are one team with two disciplines. Tech people tend to be less social, more matter-of-fact, and are almost always introverts. Band people tend to be a little insecure, more prone to process out loud, and can also be introverted. Put those two groups together and you can see how it takes some work to bridge the gap.
But we all want the same thing: a great worship experience for the congregation. We all want to help lead God’s people to the throne. And we have to do it together.
When a worship leader or tech leader comes to me and asks, “How do I get my tech guy/worship guy to do_______?” It doesn’t matter what is in the blank. I always respond with, “When was the last time you went out for a cup of coffee or lunch with them?” Doing life together will build relationships. Eating and drinking is part of life. So go eat lunch with your counterpart! Don’t even talk about church. Find out about each other. What do you like? Not like? Families, backgrounds, story, job…
Spend time together and you will find you will start getting along together.
Ten Tips to Win Over The Music Team
Relationships are key. You have to build relationships with your musicians. It’s that simple; you have to do it if you want to get along and relieve the tension. However, there are some other, very practical things you can do as a tech that will help the musicians succeed. If you do these things, you will gain respect and earn some friends.
1. Be Prepared
Few things frustrate a worship leader or musician more than having to wait for the tech team to get the stage set. Being prepared means knowing who will be on that stage, what they will need, and making sure it’s there when the musician gets there. This is easy, but it takes some work and is often overlooked.
2. Be Ready
This is a corollary to the above. Make sure you are 100% ready to go by the time the band walks on stage. In fact, you should be ready before then. I liked to be sitting around in the tech booth talking with my team (because we were all set) when the band got there.
3. Be Friendly
Musicians are people. Maybe you’ve noticed that. They are not circles on a stage plot. They are not an input. They are people. They may have had a crappy week, yet here they are. Be nice to them. See what happens.
4. Check In With the Band
Find out if they need anything. Maybe there’s a last minute change you didn’t hear about. Take the initiative to find out.
5. Put The Band First
I know you’re there to mix (or light or do slides). But just like we are to put our spouse first in our marriages, we should put the band first in our interactions with them. Give them what they need to succeed and you will get better results.
6. Be Consistent and Minimize Chaos
Don’t be constantly changing the monitor set up, stage positions, or processes. Keep it as similar as possible so they can focus on what they have to do – not adapting to this week’s change.
7. Have a Great Attitude
Often times, the most successful FOH and (especially) monitor guys were not necessarily the best engineers, but the ones the band enjoyed working with the most.
8. Walk Across The Room
When there’s a problem, don’t just yell from the booth or grab the talkback mic, walk across the room and go have a conversation at normal talking level. It makes a huge difference.
9. Pray With the Whole Team
Don’t sit in the booth with your hands folded when the team is praying on stage. Head on down there and pray with them.
10. Relax and Have Fun
Don’t be so uptight. It’s not about you, and most of the stuff you’re freaked out about won’t be noticed by anyone else anyway.
Hopefully this will help you build some great relationships, reduce your weekend stress, and create a better worship experience for your church.