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Have you ever seen (or maybe performed) “the sound guy neck crane”? You know -- when the sound goes wacko in a church service and everyone starts turning around to look at the person running the sound? Poor guy. Working in technology can be a thankless job.

These past few days I’ve been watching the coverage of Synod, both the live streaming and the archives. I was particularly interested in watching my brother lead the devotions on Saturday morning. I didn’t catch it live but was able to watch it in the archives. After I finished watching it, I felt very grateful that I could see it....and thus this blog entry.

I got that term “sound guy neck crane” from Jon Acuff’s “Stuff Christians Like.”  When I read Mr. Acuff’s blog entry it cracked me up:

The sound messes up...You crane your neck to [the sound guy’s] position and stare at him with eyes that say, “Do you not hear this? That microphone is on fire! Why do you want church to suck? Do you hate Jesus? That’s it, isn’t it? You hate Jesus. You sweaty Philistine.”

I myself am on our church’s sound and Power Point teams, and I’ve definitely experienced that sound guy neck crane -- both giving and receiving. It is true, isn’t it, that most of the time we don’t even think about the people running the technology until something goes wrong?

So here’s my thanks -- thank you to those who have faithfully streamed the Synod sessions and posted the archives. I encourage all of you, dear readers, to take a minute to thank your church’s technicians next Sunday -- whether the service goes without a hitch or has some problems. They try hard to do their work so well that no one notices. Go ahead and notice...and say, “Thanks!”


Thanks for the laught about the 'sound guy neck crane'! I have to admit that I've done that. I've done sound at several church and have had several times that this happened to me. I was always glad when I could do a service where I was in the zone and went unnoticed so that the congregation wouldn't have to be distracted but could focus on the intent and purpose of the service.

I agree completely, Dave. I am always glad to go unnoticed when it comes to running the sound system. There have been times, with our old sound system, where I felt like holding up both my hands when people were craning to look at me to convey the message, "I wasn't touching anything!!" Fortunately we recently bought a new sound board and we're usually able to be unnoticed now when we run the sound -- always a good thing.

But I'm definitely telling my co-workers in the sound booth thanks for all their work. They do really put it on the line every time they sit behind that equipment.

Thanks Mavis. After a few long days at synod it was so nice to see your post.

Webcast traffic has been very steady (~1,350 unique viewers so far) and there's been some very good discussions in the chat. It's like a real-time extension of what we're doing on The Network!

Thanks Mavis,

I know that running sound and tech can be a very thankless job.  The sad thing is that people have no clue what it takes to do that ministry well.  As a worship pastor I trained our sound techs thoroughly so they had less of those head turns at them and could really help make the worship band sound good.  As a musician, I'm at the mercy of the sound people to help create excellent sound.  As a preaching pastor I am counting on the projection volunteers to make sure the screen is projecting what it's supposed to at the right time.  Both ministries require focused attention to details -- not something just anyone can do.  The sound people especially need to know what to listen for in order to tweak the sound just right -- what knob and slider does what and how to use it.

Kudos to all the techies out there who love what they do and seek to do it better!!  And strength to those who have been battered from insensitive parishoners.

Go thank your tech people after church this Sunday  :-)

You're right, Allen, knowing what you're doing makes a big difference, and that takes training.

Staying focused is definitely a prerequisite, too, as you noted. Once when I was recruiting new people in a bulletin announcement I wrote that one of the necessary skills was to stay cool when things go wrong. No matter how hard we try, sometimes things do just go wrong (As Jon Acuff also wrote in his blog, "God hates microphones."), and staying calm is another necessary skill. 

Thanks for sharing your perspective, as someone who's on the other end of the mike.

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