Posted by Tim Cole on 10 June 2014

One of the most common complaints worship leaders receive is that the volume is just too loud. So how do you respond to this kind of statement? Well, it all depends on a couple of things:

1. Are you being told this by a large majority of the congregation? If pretty much everyone is telling you that you’re a making too much nose, then the reality is that you probably are. And while you certainly need to do something about it, remember that it might not just be the volume that is really the issue - it could be the EQ. If it's actually the mix that is causing the problem, you may find that even though your sound engineer turns the volume down the complaints keep on coming. Make sure that you have a good look at the EQ settings, particularly the higher frequencies.

2. Is it just one or two people who seem to have a problem with the volume? Do these people consistently complain about other things too? If this is the case then you might want to (politely) tell the person that you're sorry they have a problem but that everyone else seems to be OK with the volume. Try suggesting that they sit somewhere else as the acoustic properties of buildings can mean that sound is louder in one area than another. This is not always as simple as sitting further away from the speakers, as sometimes angled speakers that are flown from the ceiling may produce louder volume if you stand further back. You may actually find that it's better to sit near the stage if this is in front of the main speaker array. Every building and every PA setup is different. It's worth explaining this to people. Remember, even if this person has a habit of complaining, it's still your role as the worship leader to serve. So try and be helpful and find a solution, but also keep in mind that some people just like to complain :-)

Whether it’s complaints about volume or any other aspect of the music/worship, I always ask people in the congregation to come to me as the worship leader rather than speak to musicians or sound engineers directly. There are several reasons for this:

1. Because it is distracting for a sound engineer if people are coming to them whilst a service is going on and telling them to turn things down.

2. I want to protect my teams and I don't want them discouraged by what may be unjustified and unkind criticism.

3. I want to be aware of all complaints so I can see whether they are isolated or if there are a lot which point to a larger issue which I may need to deal with.

If people want to say something positive and encouraging then I will suggest they say it directly to the person involved, at an appropriate moment of course!

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