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Production Empathy

Production Empathy

Editorial Team

Things are different than they used to be for worship leaders. Where I lead there is a good deal of production. We have video rolls, cues, loops, lighting, kabuki drops and flags falling. And as if that wasn’t enough to cramp my Midwest easygoing-girl headspace, we have pyro too.

One glitch in my communication and someone might fall through the worship-leader-eating hole that opens up on the platform to bring up the podium during the last song of our worship set. Better than that, if I stand in the wrong place, everyone gets to watch Jacque the human torch.Your church may not have as much production as this, but most likely you have more technology to deal with than you did five years ago. This is just one more reason to communicate clearly and plan persistently, and to develop what I call, “production empathy.”

The most basic form of communicating with your team is a well-thought -out and detailed set list that includes openings with video or musical segues, lighting cues, who is doing what and when and for how long. Key changes, lead vocalist, special instrumentation and any other instructions are critical for the entire production team to create the atmosphere and stay synched.

No matter what size team you are dealing with, rehearsals are not optional but mandatory. This is not just a run- through but also a time where you can “think out loud” with everyone involved to resolve potential conflicts and avoid possible train wrecks.

Hand signals will guide your team and allow for flexibility within a song

should you decide to repeat a chorus, skip an instrumental section, move to the next song, or hang on—a selah moment. Your default should be strong arrangements. Forethought and collaboration are keys to the fluidity of a service.

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