SoundMan Super Hero

I’ve come across some great resources for church sound engineers recently. Here is one of them to read, then one to watch (at the end). Blessings to you in your ministry, to the praise of His Glorious grace!

SoundMan needs love. The church sound person is almost always a volunteer. This is not his full-time gig. During the week he’s repairing cars, selling insurance, cub reporting, peddling groceries, and on Sunday he becomes something other than a car repairer, insurance seller, cub reporter or grocer. He becomes -voila!- SoundMan! No one on the worship team cares anymore that he knows a Ford carburetor from one made by Chevy, or that he can tell you about the various whole life policies and their intricacies, or that the tomatoes are particularly good today. They just want excellent sound, and SoundMan had better come to the rescue. Bet on it, Sweet Polly Purebread prefers SoundMan over Underdog when she’s at the microphone.

Assuming that no local SoundMan wants to disappoint a frightened public that depends on him, I have some thoughts- the SoundMan Code- that will help him/her (yes, there is SoundWoman) do the job better and, when necessary, fake it convincingly.

1) SoundMan does best when no one knows his secret identity. That is, no one in the auditorium should be aware that there is anyone actually running sound. The better you do your job, the more invisible you are. You must strive to be the Clark Kent of your church. If anyone (other than guys like me) comes to you after the service and says ‘nice sound!,’ you have failed. It’s like someone saying “Aren’t you Superman with glasses on?”

2) SoundMan looks like other humans but he is different. He knows he is different. He has a responsibility at all times in all circumstances to be mindful of the fragile nature of the situation so that he can spring into action to quell any disturbance before the humans are even aware of it. That is, SoundMan does not close his eyes and sink into deep worship during the service. He runs sound like Nehemiah’s men rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem- they had a sword in one hand and a tool in the other. SoundMan never takes his mind or his eyes off the stage. He remains at his post with his hands on the mixer, always at the ready.

3) Soundman doesn’t simply wait for evil to happen and fight it. He anticipates. He prepares. He knows, according to the service plan, what should happen next and is prepared to make it go without a hitch. He knows when the pastor is going to introduce a video and has his finger on the play button ready to make a smooth segue from pastor to screen. And he has the volume adjusted so it is both ON and is at the proper level. He runs through the segue before the service to ensure that he is prepared. SoundMan is a Boy Scouts dream.

4) SoundMan knows his powers and uses them for good. He knows also what powers he does not have and does not insinuate himself into decision-making that does not involve him. SoundMan is not the worship leader. That is a job for WorshipLeaderPerson! He doesn’t need to help plan the song selection for the worship time or the topic of the sermon. He must use his powers at the console to make others look good. SoundMan cannot fix flat notes or make the bass player stop acting like a lead guitarist. He must accept the humans with all their foibles and make them sound as good as he possibly can. SoundMan’s job is to make good sound. That is all.

5) SoundMan is humble. He has an “aw, shucks” quality about him. This is because he knows a) there is a limit to his powers and b) he is not one of the humans but must be kind to them. This makes him approachable, friendly and teachable. When someone complains about the sound, he doesn’t react against them. To SoundMan this would be tantamount to kicking a small dog. Rather, he treats them kindly and accepts their comment, even when they have no idea what they’re talking about. SoundMan must be above revenge.

6) SoundMan knows how to use his equipment. When no one is looking he is studying his gear and practicing so that, when they are looking, he will not shame himself. SoundMan has read the owner’s manual for his console front to back. He knows what all the buttons and knobs do. He has read the Church Sound Survival Guide (written by this pos writer, available here) and, because of that, has a working knowledge and understanding of all things pertaining to his responsibilities. He keeps his gear in good working order.

7) SoundMan has a sidekick. He does not do everything by himself. His sidekick is an usher, a people counter, a mother-with-a-crying-baby ouster. He does not take upon himself any of the responsibilities of the church that would keep him from his first job, which is Good Sound. Even when he must communicate with his sidekick, he never takes his mind or eyes off the job. He cannot. The humans are depending on him.

8) If you are willing to slip into the outfit and become SoundMan, you must also be willing to live by the SoundMan Code and accept all the responsibilities of being a church hero. None but the brave.

This article originally appeared in Christian Musician magazine. Bob Kilpatrick wrote the classic worship choruses “In My Life, Lord, Be Glorified” and “Here Am I (Send Me To The Nations)”, has a daily devotional on the KLove radio network and has a new book coming out with Zondervan in 2010. His website is at

And here is a short and helpful training video on running a sound check which you may like to share with your crew:


Grace enables you to grow up into who you already are

Like many things in the Kingdom, our life in Christ is paradoxical. We’re already complete in Him, yet we’re growing up into Him (Eph.4:13, 15). Both are equally true. And grace transports us from where we are experientially to who we already are in reality.

Bottles of Grace

Just a quick quote which reminded me of God’s great grace!

“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture…”

Robert Farrar Capon


Green Carpet Players: Endurance Songs

It’s always fun to discover a new group of musicians whose sound you enjoy. I discovered this one by following a trail from another blog. They are the musicians from Redeemer Church of Knoxville. Their site describes the songs as “endurance songs, a companion to help you journey by faith every day from Morning to Evening.”
I like the sound of that! The music of our faith is indeed an encouragement.
The album was released 09 October 2014, and can be bought by donation.

tags: americana christian folk redeemer acoustic rock folk rock hymns liturgy retuned hymns Knoxville

When in doubt, Mercy…

I enjoyed these words!

sermons and soda water

Jude quote
God loves doubters too and he is just
as concerned with caring for them as correcting them.
The comments in this third post on the theme of doubt come form Os Guinness and C.S.Lewis.

God in the Dark“Interestingly, God’s remedy for Elijah’s depression was not a refresher course in theology but food and sleep… Before God spoke to him at all, Elijah was fed twice and given a good chance to sleep. Only then, and very gently, did God confront him with his error. This is always God’s way. Having made us as human beings, He respects our humanness and treats us with integrity. That is, He treats us true to the truth of who we are. It is human beings and not God who have made spirituality impractical.”

From Os Guinness, God in the Dark

Lewis LettersIt is often the devil working through some defect in our health, and in extreme cases it needs a…

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Just in time for Christmas!

Joey Hoelscher Music

sleep jesusJust in time for Christmas, my new arrangement of “Sleep, Jesus, Sleep” is now available through Heart Publications! This tender Christmas lullaby is a beautiful addition to your church’s Christmas repertoire. The simple SATB voicing can be learned quickly, and the included parts for violin, bass, and guitar/harp add layers and depth to the piano accompaniment. The arrangement works well with choir as well as smaller groups. You can purchase the arrangement at Heart Publications’ website here, and see a score sample here.

Also, All Saints’ Church (Northampton, UK) is accepting pre-orders for their latest recording, Be Merry!, which will be released November 1. This recording includes my Still, Still, Still and is the first professional recording of the piece. I’m excited to hear it! This CD also includes settings by Forrest, Courtney, and Anglea, among others, and you can pre-order here.

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Greater is the One living inside of me

mercy welcome‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

These lines are the chorus of a really lively and encouraging song on the latest Mercy Me album. The song is titled Greater. It explores the fact that the Great One – Jesus Christ himself – lives in us by grace, through faith!  From His perspective we are redeemed, we are fully accepted by Him, with all our guilt and pain. Though there are days we lose the battle, “grace says it doesn’t matter”.  He is living in us and He is greater than the world that would condemn and discourage, and call us fools.  I pray that your joy and strength may be renewed in the Lord as you sing along.  Below you will find the lyric video, the story behind the song and the lyrics themselves. (If you don’t have a copy of the latest Mercy Me Album, this site says it is just 5.99 on iTunes for a limited time:  Blessings to you!

GREATER (Mercy Me, Album: Welcome to the New)

Bring your tired and bring your shame
Bring your guilt and bring your pain
Don’t you know that’s not your name
You will always be much more to me

Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world, In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Bring your doubts and bring your fears
Bring your hurt and bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed

Every time I fall
There’ll be those who will call me
A mistake, Well that’s OK


There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater, He’s Greater

I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He’s Greater, He’s Greater

Songwriters: Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Ben Glover, David Garcia, James Bryson, Jim Bryson, Michael John Scheuchzer, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran, Robby Shaffer

You would probably also like this song from the same album: Flawless


Digital insanity


This is a brilliant video clip that challenges all those new habits we have formed in the digital age. See what you think.

You may also enjoy:

Repurposed grand piano!

Greetings! Just a quick photo to share: If I had a spare grand piano (that no longer worked) I’d certainly be making use of it in this way. Thanks to ABC Classics for sharing.

Musicians spot mistakes more quickly and more accurately than non-musicians – Science – News

I always find it fascinating the way music and musical training affects the brain for good. Here is a recent study which once again shows how God has given us such a great gift in music, that enhances and grows our abilities in many different aspects of our life:

“New research has shown that individuals who play an instrument are more capable at identifying errors and correcting mistakes, and that these benefits apply to amateur musicians as well as professionals.

The study, led by Dr Ines Jentzsch for the University of St Andrews, tested the cognitive abilities of musicians and non-musicians, with the research concluding that learning an instrument could “slow or even prevent” the mental decline associated with aging.

The research, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, draws particular attention to the skills learnt in musical performance. When playing pieces to an audience or to themselves musicians must demonstrate heightened awareness of their actions: continually monitoring their playing through auditory feedback and rapidly adjusting their movements to anticipate possible mistakes.

The psychological and mental benefits of learning to play an instrument have been shown in previous studies, with research highlighting musicians’ improved reaction times and their increased capacity to “inhibit task irrelevant information” (aka, to stay focused).

“[The results] suggest that higher levels of musical training might result in more efficient information processing in general (indicated by faster overall speed across tasks without accuracy tradeoff), and confirms earlier reports indicating a positive link between mental speed and musical ability,” says Dr Jentzsch.

The research is notable in that unlike previous studies it focuses on amateur rather than professional musicians, showing that even “moderate levels of musical activity” were beneficial to cognitive performance.

The study also drew attention to the diminishing support for children to learn to play in schools, noting that “in times of economic hardship, funds for music education are often amongst the first to be cut.”

“This is particularly worrying given both anecdotal and limited research evidence suggesting that music can have strong positive effects on our physical as well as psychological functioning.”