You know the feeling. It’s that odd, timeless moment when the tension mounts, the sweat pores open, the hushed snickers fade, and the audience is left wondering…waiting…is the missionary’s DVD presentation going to play? Or it’s the church video loop with that egregious spelling error: “Nusey Workers Meeting.” Nusey?! How did that one slip in? Or it could be the worship leader as he opens in prayer…his microphone totally silent. Whatever kind of media fumble you’ve experienced, you know the feeling. And it’s really awkward. Even if you use Sharefaith’s media, some awkwardness may occur. To all the churches across the world that experience awkward moments in church media, here are 10 ways to avoid those painful events.

  1. Proofread Everything. Again. Misspellings are among the most common church media awkwardnesses. They are, of course, avoidable. Tripping on a mic cord is one thing, but leaving a misspelling in a PowerPoint slide is another. Thankfully, this church media awkward moment can be overcome simply by proofreading again, and again, and again. And then, have someone else proofread it. All of Sharefaith’s media is error-free, so you can display them with confidence, but be sure to proofread any of your customized worship slides, PowerPoint sermons, or announcement slides.
  2. Rehearse the whole event live. Your church event may not be complex, but it is still important to rehearse everything that is going to happen, even if you feel confident about it. Although there is a place for “quick run-throughs” or “dry runs,” it is still important to test everything live, that is with the mics on, with the PowerPoint cued up, and with everything going as it will during the actual event. Here is where you will notice the missing slide in the PowerPoint, the squeaky mic stand, the broken prong on the A/V jack, and any variety of potential awkward moment-causers. No matter how mundane or repetitious the event may be, practice, practice, practice to avoid the awkward moment.
  3. Check all microphones. Microphones, although an commonplace feature of modern church services, are still prone to all kinds of errors, fumbles, and malfunctions. Cords get tangled. Wireless devices have low batteries. Feedback happens. There’s a simple way to avoid most mic problems: check all the microphones. Will you be switching between several mics? Check every single one. Will you be moving mics on the platform? Move them and check again. Does the pastor know to turn his mic on or off at a certain time? Check it.
  4. Create a printed schedule with description, names, mics, and timing cues. It may seem like much ado about nothing, especially for the church whose service is simple and casual and whose media is fairly straightforward. Create a printed schedule? Why bother? Well, this is a simple way to avoid this scenario: “Oh, whose turn is it? You mean I’m up now? Oh wait, where’s my mic? Is my accompanist ready?” Without a printed schedule, it’s easy to forget who’s up when, and where who is at what time, and why who has who is what he has where. Yeah. Just type out a simple schedule that includes the description of the event (e.g., Congregational Song: “Before the Throne, stanzas 1 and 2”), name (Jack, worship leader), microphone identification (Red Microphone, #2), and timing cue (10:52am). A schedule like that will eliminate confusion and awkward moments. If everyone on the team has a copy of the schedule, you’ll avoid some real problems.
  5. Arrive early. At a recent event, I showed up to a church for the first time. I was supposed to speak, and it was five minutes until the service’s starting time. I had a huge Keynote presentation on my MacBook, and was supposed to speak to show it. This spelled disaster. Thankfully, due to the amazing tech skills of an assistant pastor who performed near-miracles with the media, the day was saved. But my mistake was a surefire awkward moment-causer: the late arrival. Late arrivals can cause awkward moments like crazy.
  6. Ask the questions before, not after. Before the event, make sure you ask any question that will clear up any potential confusion or awkwardness. For example, maybe you’re running the soundboard, but you aren’t sure if Jack, the worship leader, is going to be singing two stanzas or three stanzas of “Before the Throne.” Ask. Don’t assume. You’d rather ask all the questions beforehand, rather than after. Asking “Will you be opening in prayer?” before the service is a whole lot better than “WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!” after it’s all over.
  7. Have an Emergency Plan. Despite all your careful planning, checking, and rehearsing, it’s possible that something bad will happen. In case it does, have an emergency plan. In other words, make sure that everyone involved knows what to do or not to do in case everything comes crashing down. An emergency plan may be as simple as, “If the sound system blows up, Pastor Smith will take over, regardless of where we are in the service.” Make it simple, but make it definite. Confusion that persists in the midst of an awkward situation is a very unpleasant thing.
  8. Make sure you have a pro on hand. Running the sound booth is a tough job. What can make it even tougher? Putting a newbie there who’s going to go ballistic at the first sound of feedback. Let’s face it, every sound booth engineer is going to face some tense moments. And when the church sound system explodes in a cacophony of feedback, the inexperienced volunteer may not know what to do. That’s when it pays to have a pro on hand. Someone who is experienced with church media should always be within arms-reach to respond to crises awkward moments. His or her experience will make the awkward moment a whole lot less awkward, and a lot less long.
  9. Communicate constantly. This tip is a simple one: just stay in touch. Constantly communicate with one another. Everyone should have everyone else’s cell phone numbers for late-arrival risks. Whispered conversations or opening your eyes during a prayer are okay. The more in touch everyone is with one another, the less likely is an awkward moment.
  10. Relax. One more way to create awkward moments is to be really tense. Tension is awkwardness. Simply relax, worship freely, and enjoy the time. Even if something ‘bad’ does happen, it’s not the end of the world. The point of worship is not to impress people, but to give God honor and express His worthiness. God isn’t measuring our performance to make sure we don’t have a misspelling in our PowerPoint, or to make sure that the musician doesn’t knock over his music stand. Sure, we should strive for excellence, but don’t get trapped in a performance mentality. Some fiascos are simply unavoidable. We can do everything perfectly, but still those random events will throw a wrench into our event. Accept it, and move on. Do your best, worship the Lord with integrity, and if an awkward moment comes…well, it will pass soon enough.

For fewer awkward moments, use Sharefaith’s simple worship solutions! Powerful, professional, media at an insanely low cost!

About The Author

Daniel Threlfall has been writing church ministry articles for more than 10 years. With his background and training (M.A., M.Div.), Daniel is passionate about inspiring pastors and volunteers in their service to the King. Daniel is devoted to his family, nerdy about SEO, and drinks coffee with no cream or sugar. Learn more about Daniel at his blog and twitter.

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