With the advent and popularity of in-ear monitoring systems that the performer can mix themselves, this type of article may seem too outdated, but it truly has a lot of great nuggets hidden within its content - especially regarding stage plots, monitoring system placement, mic placement, engineer - performer dynamics, etc. Also, many larger facilities with higher budgets (and almost every big touring act) still use monitoring engineers even for in-ears. Please take the time to read this article as you will find it is packed with great information:
The following is written by someone that has had allot of personal experience in the subject (i.e. - i haven't rested from ministry in the last several years) - but now I am.
Hey Bro, It's All On You -
Are you burned out? Tired of being tired? The Sabbath (day of rest) was made for people, and not the other way around. Over and over in scripture, we see that the writers of the gospels take the time to make note that Jesus rested throughout His ministry. He would serve, disciple, heal, teach, feed, etc - and then He would go away and rest. So what about you?
"Dude, shut up - there's no way I can rest right now and I'm so worn out."
Allow me tell you how to get out of that cycle. Stick with me even if some of this doesn't apply to you:
Mentor & Train - Do you have some annoying person who always hangs around the FOH area? Time to start training them! You should always be willing to train people in what you do. Don't be so territorial. That teenager that asks a million questions and gets on your nerves, may just be your pathway to resting in the future. If you find someone that you can tell is going to eventually be better than you at engineering, pour everything you know into them! Encourage them to study and work hard to be the best engineer they can be.
Get On An Alternating Schedule - If you know of another qualified person that runs sound, but they are just chilling in the congregation - why don't you see if they'll alternate weeks with you?
Does Someone In The Youth Department (besides you) Run Sound? - See if they'll alternate with you. If they don't have the skills to take over the main service, reread the first item on this list.
Set Up An Exit Date - If you volunteer as the soundman / soundwoman at your church, make sure you make it clear that in so and so time, you will be stepping down for a rest. This could be 3 months, 6 months, a year, 2 years, 3 years, etc. - but have an exit date. If the leadership of your congregation doesn't know that you are getting worn out, they can't be blamed for magically reading your mind if you don't tell them. Granted the church is not a "non-prophet" organization, but the responsibility is on your shoulders to schedule your time of rest. They aren't gonna know unless you tell them.
When You Enter Into That Season of Rest - Really rest. Just show up to church with your family and don't do anything else. Saying No is hard, and allot of times the leadership of a church will ask you to volunteer to do something else because they have seen your past faithfulness - they know they can trust you to get things done...but resist the urge to want to help when you are in your season of rest.
"NO" is one of the most powerful words in our culture. You have to learn how to use it.
One of the Biggest Tools the Enemy Uses is the Fear of Man. The bible calls it a snare. Fear of man can come in so many forms, and the biggest form I have seen, is the inability for people to say no.
If you are totally burned and worn out, here are some things you can do in the mean time until you can take the steps in the previous list:
1. Prioritize - You have to keep things in the right order. Here they are:
If you are running sound for 3 different organizations, in a bible study, and in two other ministries - it's time to cut some things loose. If you barely see your family because you are so busy with church activities, your life is out of order. If you are married, your marriage is your FIRST ministry. The SECOND is your children (if this pertains to you). Granted there are times when you have to take a brief time to do ministry away from your family, but this should be the exception and not the rule! And there shouldn't be a ton of exceptions throughout the year either! Ha!
When is the last time you went to church with your family and sat together with your spouse throughout the whole service?
2. Sleep - Get yourself on a good sleep schedule. I know you love catching all those A-Team re-runs on netflix until 1:00 am, but dude, get yourself on a sleep schedule.
3. On the Sabbath, don't do anything else. Go out with your family, and then have a weekly set nap on Sunday. No mowing your grass. No catching up on chores. Really rest. Sitting still can be really hard for some of us, but it's critical.
4. Take your spouse out on regular dates (if applicable). This is super important. It's not that your spouse would ask you to quit (although they might have already), it's that they want to know that you would if they asked you. Again, your wife (or husband) is your first ministry.
5. Make time for your kids (if you have children). Those kids aren't gonna remember that great mix you had running 3 years ago on the second Sunday in July, but they'll remember you always made time for them. Remember - your kids are your second ministry.
6. Have an exit strategy. Read the first list. That is your exit strategy.
You can't give out something you don't have. If you can't rest now, plan for your rest now.
We've been providing installation, consultation, mixing, and mastering services for 25 years. We have taught numerous conferences and workshops regarding live sound and recording.
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