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Author Topic: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"  (Read 4647 times)

humbled sound guy

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"sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« on: April 23, 2005, 06:53:32 pm »

Trying to get people to work the sound in the church is hard. They are just scared to get yelled at.  I'm doing better though.
I'm getting more people involved.  I do it for free for services when I have time it seems that i always have time.  I request money for anything extra like weddings.  I have to stop trying to be the nice guy.  I have to start charging for every sunday
I guess I could agree with all you guys about the difficulty of working in a church enviorment. from fake knob turning all the way to turing someone completly off in the house when they sound horrible.  I have been doing church sound for about 10 years myself.  I still believe I have a lot to learn. (I started when I was only 11 years old) But it's always one thing after another.  Now I have been doing sound for this new church I'm for 3 years.  My problems range from an adequate system for music reproduction to getting the band/praise team on time for sound check.  Its looking a little better now I laid a propasal down for the 3rd time they might listen.  Instead of the band/praise team getting there 5 minutes before service start they get there 15 minutes. (keys,drums,bass,lead guitar,2 horns. organ, congas, timbales, 6 back vocs, 1 lead, and a choir)I think longer sound would be needed. even more when they are start off fine but go flat by the middle of the first song. but i don't know anything
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Mark Cartwright

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2005, 07:47:25 pm »

I DO see it as a ministry to my church and to the Lord and I don't get paid.  I realize some churches pay their sound people and that's fine, but mine doesn't and I don't ask for it.  I feel that God blessed me with the gift of the ability to mix sound well and I enjoy doing it so it doesn't seem like a "job" to me.

And, like I said in the other post, I don't have the 'problems' of people giving me the eye, making negative comments, and acting like I don't know what I'm doing.  I have done my best since I started and they know I do and we rarely have any problems.  But, when and if someone does say something I simply explain how it works or why I can or can't do what they're saying or suggesting and leave it at that.  No lying.  No fake knob turning or anything.  That's not being honest.  The sound tech should be the one in control and, if they know what they're doing, shouldn't get comments.  A friend of mine gets comments and then talks about how the people don't know what they're talking about.  But, the truth is, they are often right and he is wrong.  And I've told him that, making a change and showing him how it improved it.  I think alot of people let their pride get the best of them and 'how dare someone suggest something to me' is their attitude.  Sure, that isn't the case for everyone and some people would complain if it was Jesus running the sound, but you know what I mean.  

One funny thing I'll share before I close.  A couple months ago I purchased a new effects processor and was using it in the service for the first time.  I was still tweaking it, making adjustments and stuff.  After the service my assistant told me one of the men in the church said "I don't know if he heard it or not but the sound system was ringing in the chandeliers and that needs to be fixed".  I laughed when my assistant told me, saying that was the effects reverb and not ringing (wasn't even close to a ringing sound).  You would have to know this man to understand but he's one of those who often complains to others about other things (air conditioning, heating, flowers, cleanliness, the lawn, anything).  When he said something to me about it I just said "oh, you mean the reverb from the effects processor I just bought?  Yeah, that's supposed to be there."  He was like "Oh, so you mean you paid money for that?  Hmm..." and walked off.  Granted, I was still tweaking it and it wasn't at optimum settings in that service but I just thought that was funny.  I didn't and wouldn't get mad at that, etc., like it seems some people do.  I don't feel I have a reason to defend myself to anyone when I know I did my best.  Like I said, I rarely get comments - so rarely I'd said it's never.

Good luck to those who have to deal with it anyway....
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Mark Cartwright
Sound & Multimedia Director
Calvary Baptist Church
Batesville, Arkansas

humbled sound guy

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2005, 05:51:08 am »

don't get me wrong yes i believe its a ministry also, but it came to a point where that that became my life.  i would be there all day sunday, tuesday rehearsal, and three other days of the week.
It got to a point of where I was expected to be there, and also not respected in my work(old church).  So i sort of knew i had to be a little more demanding or i would just get run over.  yes i have about two other people there but they are still learning, and have a long way to go. But at least they take a little pressure off me. At first I couldn't ask for money, because it was my talent and I thought i should give back, but that was just making me miserable.  everyone assume i would do stuff for free even outside of church (involvin members) i did.  but i had to change.  so i'm not money hungry i'm just respect hungry.
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Mark Cartwright

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2005, 06:50:44 am »

I don't necessarily think that sound techs shouldn't get paid, I just don't and my church isn't of the size that requires me to be there several days/nights a week.  If it became a "full-time job" or something liek that I would probably say I needed pay.  And, I do get paid for weddings and things like that.  It is in our church policies and facilities use policy and if someone has a wedding they get a packet and in it is included a fee schedule for "suggested minimum amounts of compensation" so that makes a difference, too.  I know how it is, having to spend half - or all - your Saturday at the church because Billy Bob and Betty are getting married.  Plus Friday night rehearsal...ugh!  I have an assistant that helps me and, while he's only 14, he does a good job and I completely trust him.  But, I work with the youth at my church, too, and so this summer when we're gone on trips it's always a hassle to find someone to run it and then I worry that it didn't go just perfect.

I suppose that if it became more of a hassle for me than an enjoyment I'd look for compensation.  But, for me, it isn't right now so...I'm happy how it is.  I feel blessed, more so after reading posts on this PSW forum, to have the respect of the church and basically if I say we need this or that I get it.  It seems, from other posts in other threads, that not everyone has it that good.  So, that makes it easier for me, too.

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Mark Cartwright
Sound & Multimedia Director
Calvary Baptist Church
Batesville, Arkansas

andrew gissing

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2005, 06:34:20 pm »

Payment is a question that ulimately you have to work it out for yourself. I mean, if you had the choice to be paid or not.

I was hired at my church to do sound. I was contracting before I became a christian and now that I am, and was hired to fill a large gaping hole, initially I had no problem with getting paid.

But as time goes on and i'm listening to God I feel that i'd like my sunday services to be free-of-charge. Currently i'm also required to do a mid-week rehearsal and for what's involved in my case, I feel that I can charge for that - for many reasons.

It's all personal - I see no problem with my worship pastor being paid, pastors being paid and admin people doing work on sunday as part of their working week being paid..... and other people have no problem in seeing me be paid on sunday.

But i'm getting uncomfortable with it and I think that's God talking to me and in the end, it's up to me and I can refuse payment.


On the other side of the coin, where you're not being paid and asked to do more and more and more - I think you have to look after yourself first. Without thinking about money, think of how much time you're prepared to commit on a regular basis - and stick to that. Yes there might be some weeks where you do more but you should try and balance that out.

I'm constantly telling my guys - all volunteer - that I don't want them overcommitting. If they can only do one service a month whereas someone else can do 4 - then that's fine. They have a life and family and whatever else so don't get burned out.

And I stick to this. If we're in a jam and we have no other option i'll advise our leadership that we need to hire someone for a night. I don't want to risk burn-out with our guys 'cause that's the biggest problem.


Andrew
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Dan Timon

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2005, 07:10:46 pm »

Looking at this from another angle: I get paid, and I consider it my ministry. Whether or not I get paid makes no difference to me in whether I consider it a ministry, but getting paid does makes up ( a little) to my wife and son who do not see me for the 20+ hours every week that I am away from them, and they have to try to be a family without me.

But from a management point of view, if the church is having difficulty retaining qualified sound technicians, and decides it is priority, it has to pay technicians to get the quality it needs. Because of the equipment we have to work with, we have far more volunteers than are needed to be lead techs, and far too few that have the chops to be lead techs. Because there is a high demand for excellence, and no tolerance for feedback, missed cues, imbalanced mixes, or slow sound checks, even seasoned volunteers would need the paycheck to remind them that it is ok, when the pressure is on. When a church wants its technical ministry to be professional quality, it needs to pay them a professional wage.

Regards,

Dan Timon  




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av8nsound

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2005, 12:46:47 pm »

Hello All,

First time here, and let me say this firstly....I love the concept the new magazine ChurchSoundmagazine.

Secondly, I agree, this is a ministry. I personally run the sound every week (have one backup guy that is there if I can not make it on Sunday). I also develop the video for each Sunday (sometimes done in the middle of my vacation - like at Disney World Smile ). The way I look at it, this is the one area that I feel the Lord has blessed me, I love doing it, and because I have been blessed, it is a tiny repayment for what the Lord has done for me.

Yeah, do I get tired every now and then? Would I rather be doing something else like flying? Sometimes, sure. But, if anyone ever took my job at the church from me, I would not know what to do. People give me criticism every now and then, I take it with a grain of salt and analyze what they are saying. Quite often when that does happen (which is not often in the first place), I simply look at the situation and it turns out "yea it was a little too loud, or maybe that was too much echo".

That is my take. I love my job and probably would have a hard time living if someone took it away from me.

Jim Warwick
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drumguy

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2005, 11:58:55 pm »

I have just graduated from college and while I was in college, i did sound for two different churches. One sunday morning and night, and another college ministry on Wed. night. I would say that my experience and how well I can actually mix is that in a high medium range.

Saying that, I did get paid for both churches. $40 for the wed night and 80 for the sunday. It definitely did not hurt the two churches - both average about 1000 per week. And it did help me out tremendously. Yes it is a ministry, but also the pastoral and worship leader positions are ministry. They would not even think of doing it without getting paid. My thing is that I volunteered my time and knowledge to the ministry of the church which was about 6-8 hours on sunday and then 4-5 on wed and that they could pay me if they wanted to. They asked how much would be good to pay me, I said 40 a service because each service had a different band and I had to get there 1 1/2 hours before hand. 30 min to get ready for the band, then 1 hour for soundcheck and practice. Yes it was me giving back to the church, but you also have to see that the church is a business as well. In my opinion, charge what will help you out and not make a dent in the church budget.
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Matt

Dave Nicholas

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2005, 11:07:07 am »

I believe people should be paid for their skills and talents. The Lord has given us all talents and He expects us to use them and expand on them. Now this is where I differ from some of the paid sound guys. I believe that ministry time should not be paid(that would be the usual Sunday services) but you change these services and add one time special occasions to them or events that require that extra time and responsibility then yes pay the technical people. Not anyone can do sound or technical things and you can't train someone to do sound. You can train them to press buttons and turn knobs, but have you heard the mix from those types of sound guys.......ouch. Either the Lord has blessed you with an ear for music and mixing it or He hasn't. There are other things that these people can do. I know some people on my team that don't have what it takes, but it is not my call(it used to be mine but there is now some bad blood)
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Jwilliams

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2005, 09:33:30 am »

I was in a situation that is almost exactly the same as yours.  The church I worked for almost entirely operates on volunteers. It has about 2,000 per weekend with three separate services on the weekend. I spent time with my assistants and got them comfortable and familiar with all of our equipment to take some pressure off of me.  It finally got to the point where I would only work every other weekend.  I had someone else to do Wednesdays and another person to do the other weekends.  Your assistants may not be ready, but you can certainly make them ready.
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Jay Ballard

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2005, 10:47:27 am »

I, too, believe that this is one of my ministries to the church congregation.  I do get paid, but I subscribe to the theory that so does the pastor.  I didn't ask to be paid, but was offered the salary by the church.  I had been volunteering for the same duties for about 13 years before I ever received a check.  

My church looks at it from multiple angles.  First, if I were to be strictly volunteering, they would have no way to require me to be at a function.  As audio is a necessity (our sanctuary seats 1600), someone has to be there for any event.  Secondly, a volunteer does not have the same level of, for lack of a better word, responsibility to the church. If something breaks or doesn't go just right, a volunteer may not feel it necessary to follow through to completion whatever repairs/remedies may be needed.  This would fall on one of the ministers, who has better things to do (serving the congregation).  Thirdly, my church looks at it as a way to say "Thank You" for providing a consistent level of service to the church.  The salary is no where close to market value, but it is a small token.  When the salary started, the Personnel committee looked at the difference between what I do and what a Sunday School teacher does.  A Sunday School teacher can prepare for a lesson anywhere and does not necessarily have to be away from their family.  My duties require me to be at the church.

I also am a deacon at my church and serve as the chairman of our Properties Team.  In addition, I help maintain the telephone and data systems of the church.  I look at these as also giving back to the church.

The church does not balk at paying for other professional services, why should they not pay for yours?
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andrew gissing

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2005, 06:15:02 pm »

>The church does not balk at paying for other professional services, why should they not pay for yours?

I think the heart of the question is that for a sunday service with a live band on stage, usually none of the band are paid.

Sound guys normally like to associate themselves with the band, and therefore you've got a situation where one of the crew is paid and the rest is not.

Also a lot of the paid positions in church are for things other than sundays - admin, comp network, maintenance or - the very act of running things like mission when it's too large (or important) a task to be done in someones part time.

I mean, look whose at the church on a sunday and being paid to be there compared to how many people are there doing jobs and not paid - ushers, sunday school teachers, canteen people. I'm guessing that in most cases, even for large churches, the ratio of paid to unpaid is very low.

I guess another way to look at this if you've got a large auditorium that is used during the week is that it could be your job during the week to maintain/train etc and sunday's are your giving ?

Then again, paid roles are usually below market value so then maybe a tradeoff is that sunday is paid allowing a mid-week day to act as your weekend ?

As I said before - I think it comes down to the circumstances of the church, the person and how they are journeying with God. And that's going to be different in every case.

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Dan Timon

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2005, 08:44:23 pm »

Quote:

Then again, paid roles are usually below market value so then maybe a tradeoff is that sunday is paid allowing a mid-week day to act as your weekend ?

As I said before - I think it comes down to the circumstances of the church, the person and how they are journeying with God. And that's going to be different in every case.


Like you say, it comes down to the circumstances of the church.

Our church insists on excellence everywhere, and do not tolerate people who fail to show up for their ministry, leave when they feel like it, do a poor job cleaning bathrooms and carpets, or make a poor cup of coffee.

At our church, almost everybody on the tech crew, in the band and the singers, the janitors,the bookstore, the Starbucks, the cafeteria are getting paid. Exceptions: teachers who only work 2 hours once a month, junior techs in smaller rooms and parking lot/assistant ushers. The biggest reason they might not be paid are they are in training, do not want to be paid, or do not work enough hours to justify pay. Why do they get paid? Because the church believes it would be a disservice to our Lord to not have the highest skilled people serve Him. To get them the church knows it has to take them out of the marketplace.

If the carpet is dirty, the singers are off-key, the bass is muddy, the coffee is lousy, the sermon is crummy, projectors are too dim, the church looks bad and God looks bad. We are in the business of glorifying the Lord, not making Him look like He runs a second-rate operation.

Regards,

Dan Timon
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JeffW

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Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2005, 10:16:27 pm »

Perhaps if it's getting to be too much of a burden on you then it's not time to ask for pay but time to recruit other help so you can divide up the tasks... or time to consider taking a break from it for a while.  

Doing sound (or anything) for too long without a break can lead to real burnout, and sometimes a break for 6 months can brings us back refreshed and renewed... or lead us to move on to something else)

Give it some thought... don't grow bitter.  God doesn't lock us into these roles, we do it to ourselves more often than not.

(I don't know what is appropriate to your situation and I'm not saying you shouldn't be paid, but IMO what you write sounds a lot like exhaustion and discouragement to me, that might be better cured with a break or help)
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jeff wilkinson
sound team coordinator
Central Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Md
http://www.centralpc.org/

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: "sound as a ministry/not a paid gig"
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2005, 10:16:27 pm »


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