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The Worship Leader, Sound Tech, and Media Tech are three vitally important roles for a worship service to run smoothly. But who makes the final call when a decision needs to be made?

The Worship Leader, Sound Tech, and Media Tech are three vitally important roles for a worship service to run smoothly and they all contribute something unique. But at the end of the day, who makes the final call when a decision needs to be made? While each church leadership structure is different, here are a few things that we have found work in many churches, and it all comes through the lens of how each leadership role can serve the others.

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Identify A Leader Who Oversees Worship, Sound, and Media

Look for people within your congregation who are good leaders, godly, and hopefully familiar with worship music, sound, media. We’ll call this the “Weekend Service Leader.” At the end of the day, having a good relationship with God (being godly) and being a good leader are the most important qualities in this person. The goal here is to provide oversight and cast vision for the worship, sound, and media teams and help mediate potential conflict that may arise. They always point these teams back to the vision of the church and why they do what they do the way they do it. Developing good relationships here is key and will help build relational equity among their team members. The Weekend Service Leader works in submission to and in conjunction with the Lead Pastor at the church or that specific campus of the larger church body to outwork the vision of the weekend service.

The Worship Leader Role

The Worship Leader carries a lot of weight for a worship service but still need to be aware of and considerate of their leadership counterparts, the Sound Tech and Media Tech. The Worship Leader will have ideas of how they want to outwork the worship set in the service but it should always align with the vision for the weekend service as cast by the Lead Pastor and Weekend Service Leader. The Worship Leader might have ideas about creating an extra media song slide to repeat a chorus or Bridge or that a slide background is hard for them to see the lyrics through on their display monitor. They might want to suggest a change in the sound of their EQ because their voice doesn’t sound quite right or that they need more reverb in the monitors. Whatever the case, this is where the Sound Tech and Media Tech can serve the vision of the worship leader to make the worship set great. If things that are bugging the Worship Leader (within reason) aren’t dealt with, the worship team could feel unsettled and unsupported by the Sound and Media teams and might not be able to lead worship as effectively as possible. With the Sound Tech and Media Tech stepping in to make the necessary changes to help the worship team, they set them up for the highest level of success possible.

The Sound Tech Role

The Sound Tech is responsible for making sure that the audio quality of the services is excellent. In order to do that, they should serve the worship team and media team as well as possible so the best sound is available to make a great mix with. If the worship team is feeling unsupported with some adjustments that the Sound Tech can make for them in their monitors, with EQ’s or levels, etc., they will probably not deliver the best sound because they are not perceiving the sound correctly themselves. The Sound Tech is responsible of the technical aspects of the sound as well as driving the sound check in the early part of rehearsal.

The Worship Leader is welcome to respectfully make recommendations or suggestions if they have knowledge of how the sound system works, but they should always respect the experience and leadership of the Sound Tech and defer to them with technical issues and let them run the sound check the way they see will work the best for rehearsal. This always takes mutual trust and respect. The Sound Tech can hear things in ways the band cannot and usually has the best position in the room to hear the mix and what needs adjustment. On the other hand, the band can hear things that the Sound Tech probably isn’t aware of, like in the monitor mixes and can make good recommendations on adjustments needed. At the end of the day, the Worship Leader can make suggestions for what will help the service run more smoothly but needs to recognize that the technical aspects need to be left to the Sound Tech to deal with. In this way, the Worship Leader and Sound Tech respect and serve each other.

The Media Tech Role

The Media Tech has the privilege of leading worship visually from the projection screen. Without the lyrics, it would be very difficult for the congregation to know what to sing or when to sing it. The Media Tech cues the media elements (and sometimes even how it is artistically displayed upon the screen) based on instruction from the Worship Leader and the Worship Leader supports the vision of the Lead Pastor and Weekend Service Leader and submits to them. There might be nuances within the media projection program, however, where certain requests of the Worship Leader cannot be met. The Media Tech is responsible to communicate what is possible and what is not possible to the Worship Leader and also make sure that the song lyrics are able to be seen well with the chosen background.

It can be helpful for your church to have an agreed-upon pool of slide backgrounds so it doesn’t become a power struggle between the Worship Leader, Media Tech, and Weekend Service Leader or other leaders. There is certainly an artistic approach to running media but it is often helpful for the media team to have a pool of slides to choose from to stay on track with the vision of the church. In large churches with many locations, oftentimes it can be most helpful to pre-select the slide backgrounds for each song to be used for uniformity and consistent levels of excellence.

One final way the Media Tech can serve the worship team is by their timing of changing slides and familiarity with the song arrangements. As soon as the last word is sung on a slide, the media tech should cue the next slide, being aware of any lag time within the program or to the display screen. This helps the worship leader know what is coming next and sing with confidence and will build trust in the Media Tech. The better the Media Tech knows the songs, the more efficiently they can build the slides for those components of the songs (including blank slides, scriptures, and other elements for instrumentals, etc.) and operate the movement of the slides with confidence during the service.

So Who Makes The Call?

This is the question you’ve probably asking yourself all through this article and would like answered! Well, the short answer is that essentially everyone does as they mutually respect and serve each other with the larger win of the church in mind. The more detailed answer is that The Worship Leader is the leader of the worship experience for the service as they defer to the Lead Pastor and the Weekend Service Leader and help chart the course for the service. Along with this influence, however, comes the responsibility to serve the Sound Tech and Media Tech to make their jobs easier and the service an overall win. The trust and respect that is earned in these relationships are invaluable. When the team is healthy relationally, it will spill over into the health of the worship services that can be tangibly felt beyond the surface level awareness of a polished worship service. If there is a decision that can’t be agreed upon by the Worship Leader, Sound Tech, and Media Tech at the end of the day, the Weekend Service Leader or Lead Pastor will be able to help finalize the decision, pointing back to the overall win of the service and church.

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Key Points:

  • Identify a relationally and emotionally healthy leader who can help the Lead Pastor oversee the worship, sound, and media teams.
  • The Worship Leader has a great amount of responsibility in the service. They need to use this influence to take every opportunity to see how they can better serve the Sound and Media team, their Weekend Service Leader, and ultimately their Lead Pastor.
  • The Sound Tech is responsible for all things audio technology but should be open to the feedback of the worship team leader and serve the worship and media teams as well as their Weekend Service Leader and Lead Pastor however possible.
  • The Media Tech is the visual worship leader and has a lot of responsibility to ensure that what they are displaying on the projection screens is adding to and not taking away from the ability of the worship team to lead or the congregations ability to worship.
  • The Worship Leader carries great responsibility in making the worship service run smoothly and therefore is expected to go the extra mile in serving his fellow team leaders in the sound and media department as well as the higher levels of leadership in the Weekend Service Leader and Lead Pastor roles.

Quote This:

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. What do you agree with or disagree with in this article? Why?
  3. What is your church’s current structure like within your worship and production department? 
  4. How might your church’s worship and production department get healthier leadership and relationship with each other in the various leadership roles?
  5. Why is mutual trust and respect so important to build relationally within these positions?
  6. What would you say is the Worship Leader’s main job?
  7. What would you say is the Sound Tech’s main job?
  8. What would you say is the Media Team leader’s main job?
  9. Who do you think should make the final call at the end of the day between the positions of Lead Pastor, Weekend Service Leader, Worship Leader, Sound Tech, and Media Tech?
  10. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.