Church Audio Techs
Learn to Run Sound as Ministry

By Gary McLain

Charles, from the Beaverton Adventist Church, called me one day and said “Gary, I have to tell you about Guitarfish’s School of Sound. Rick and I just finished the 100-level class. We have 20 and 25 years of doing church audio, but we thought we’d take the class to see if we could glean a bit from it. It was great! Within a few weeks after taking the class people at church started commenting on how well the audio was sounding! Even the pastor. We were so excited we took the 200-level class as well. Then we got Guitarfish Worship School of Sound to come to the Beaverton Church one Sunday and David Carver did a training for 5 more of our audio team members.” This conversation got me to thinking, “Do our church audio techs need some continuing education?”

After a few months of work the Oregon Conference helped sponsor an incredible opportunity for church audio techs throughout the Conference. Four trainings were held around the Conference over a number of weeks. Each one-day training consisted of 4 two-hour sessions. Every session included a “lab” for students to practice newfound knowledge and skills on provided audio mixing equipment. The class instructor would push out 16 audio tracks from his computer to the small mixers in front of the students and they would work to manipulate each track until they got the mix they liked. Then they would be played back in class and you could hear what your fellow students had done with critique from the instructor.

David, the instructor, has a passion for the audio ministry of churches. He says “if the audience doesn’t know you are there then you are doing your job. You know how distracting it is when there are audio issues. Especially if it happens regularly or throughout an event. We want God to be heard, not the issues with the sound system.” David has 47 years of live church audio experience and a wealth of knowledge as a sound engineer. He has been the Chief Sound Engineer at New Hope Community Church in Clackamas for over 10 years. He has mixed several of the live performances that Adventist Health brings in for their Celebration of Thanksgiving and has toured and worked with many top Christian recording artists. David doesn’t just bring equipment for each student to do their own mixing, teach the technical jargon, and theory, but he also brings the deep spiritual aspect to light throughout each training. Why do you do this ministry? “We are audio disciples. God has called us to use our talents and do it to the best of our ability.” David also gives advice on how to deal kindly with disgruntled listeners, and how to communicate and work as a team with the worship leaders and the pastor.

The trainings came with instruction, materials, certificate, equipment to use to practice mixing in class, even lunch and supper! At 10 hours, you might say “Wow, that is a long day!” But there wasn’t a dead moment, and the attendees were truly captivated by what David had to share. Even better, once you’ve taken the class you can come back at any time for free to brush up.

The Guitarfish trainings took place in Vancouver, Gladstone, Medford, and Eugene with a total of over 60 people trained.

One participant commented: “David brings the heart of worship into audio mixing. An audio tech is responsible for the atmosphere in the room. You are there to enhance the experience and bring everyone closer to God.”

If you would be interested in attending an upcoming training visit http://bit.ly/2pibh05 to let us know. If you would like Guitarfish’s help or input on evaluating your church’s sound system you can contact David at dcarver@guitarfishmusic.com.

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