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When is Church Too Loud?

Excellence in the Arts, Media - by - February 5, 2009 - 18:34 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

There is a chasm forming between “old timers” and the young folk in this Christianity business, and it happens – of all places- during worship. It’s not just generational lines, musical preference lines, or denominational lines.

Recently written in:
We have decided we need to attend church closer to home, instead of driving 45 minutes each way. Today, we go to a nearby one that seems very nice, is multi-ethnic, and is 3 minutes away from home. Perfect. Everything was fine before these two ladies got up to sing. Oh MY….the sound level was up SO HIGH that it nearly blew us out of the building. WHY do they do this? Of course the sound guy is like, 20. I’d like to have some hearing left in my old age, and for my children to still be able to hear when they grow up. I carry earplugs because of my last church in which they thought it was necessary to shake the walls or we weren’t “having church”. Thank God. I sure used them today.
To make it all the more frustrating, the Pastor was GREAT! Wonderful, dead-on, preaching/teaching that really encouraged focusing on the Lord and not ourselves.

Bob Kauflin at Worship Matters has a recent post on the subject: How Loud the Worship Team where he outlines 5 great points:
1. Cranking up the volume is just a cheap trick to add energy to a room.
2. When your intonation is not very good, turning it up only makes it hurt worse.
3. The speakers in most church PA systems cannot take that much energy.
4. Consider that you might be marginalizing older people.
5. Musicians—every one of them, including the singers—are accompanists to the congregation’s praise.

So what should a worshiper do when he or she believes that the sound is in fact too loud at a church? Feel free to talk to the Sound Guy or the Worship Leader. Most of them appreciate feedback- be sure to tell them when something sounds nice, too. Ask if he has a Sound Level Meter. This little black piece of equipment should be sitting on the sound board, pointing at the stage area. Ask him if you can help him collect data at different points in the room, to see if there really is in fact an actual physical sound problem. After you collect this data, if the sound levels are above 90-95dB (‘C’ weighted, slow response), then share these articles with the Worship Leader and Sound Guy (remember, the Sound Guy tends to be under the Worship Leader who has true control over how loud is the sound).

How Loud is Your Church?
Loud Church Music- A Medical Comment
Hearing is Priceless

Keep in mind that sometimes the sound level is not the problem, but it could be a musical problem (see #2 above) or a style issue (some styles of music just sound louder than others). The Sound Guy can’t control if a musician is going to squawk, so please accept those kinds of gaffes for what they are. Forgive and forget. Realize that chances are, the Sound Guy was not anticipating something hurting your ears, his ears hurt too, and he’s probably back there scrambling to fix what he can.

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