Nowadays some churches are spending a lot of money on media equipment for the tech team. Thankfully it tends to be well locked down at Bethany Church or it would become a serious security matter!

Long gone are the days when the preacher picked a spot with amazing acoustics in the open air and thousands would hear every word. Seeing might be a different matter, maybe it was like the cheap seats at the Palace theatre in Manchester.

A fully manned technology desk at Bethany Church should include at least one of… lighting, sound, projection and streaming. I’ve no doubt there are other roles, but we stick with the basics at Bethany Church. Our Bethany Church lighting system makes do with minimal supervision. The lighting effects don’t look like a BBC ‘Strictly’ production so we make do with sets of front lights, back lights and a few machine head lights… (the ones that wave around) but we aren’t trying to emulate a night club disco and so more sedate lighting effects will do.

I think the most important job is the mixer desk. It’s a truism that we accept issues with light but sound problems throw everything into disarray. Usually, the biggest challenge is when the worship group expands to three vocalists, bass guitar, drummer, keyboard, harmonica and acoustic guitar. We have to balance everything together, so the lead singer gets priority, that instruments don’t drown things out. Thankfully our last tech person specified quality microphones that are less prone to issues such as feedback (wailing noises). If you have seen a mixer/sound desk they look really complicated and they are. The latest desks are so called digital; Bethany churches is an analogue desk but still requires the skills of an astronaut to use effectively.

At our Bethany Church rehearsal there is often a lot of hilarity as we mess things up but, it turns a difficult job into a time of encouragement and church volunteers often enjoy the teamwork, the reward of learning new skills, worshiping God with these amazing modern songs we use week by week.

The next most technical role at churches such as Bethany Church is probably the streaming. Thankfully we have some super competent youngsters who can manage the uncertainties, technicalities and media skills required. Just as Zoom arrived at the best possible time for churches so Blackmagic design, an Australian company, ‘accidently’ worked to see the churches good news of Jesus get out into the world. How was that possible? They started selling a black box that made the streaming of church services economical and relatively simple. I wouldn’t say it has been plain sailing, struggling with audio levels, pages of settings and YouTube interfaces forward, but with help, we are getting there (I think!?).

Finally, around 9pm, the rehearsal finishes, and we are ready for our next Sunday service. The service will see its own set of challenges but hey, Ho! We love it really.