Check 1, 2…Is This Thing On?

June 1, 2022

Soundcheck is a familiar time for most of us. A room that was once eerily quiet has now been filled with the sounds of people chatting and gear being set-up, instrument tuning and off-line rehearsing. Now, it’s finally time to “make noise.”

Isn’t it amazing what happens once the mics are turned on? Sound fills the room. It comes from people who are making little-to-no effort compared to what they were doing before, and yet their sounds fill the room. The microphone simply amplifies what’s already there; it helps it reach wider and farther than it once did. There’s nothing necessarily heroic about the person behind the microphone, but he or she is in a position to have what they’re doing amplified for a wide range of listeners.

In a production context, we certainly want to amplify good content, whether that be from an audio, video or lighting perspective. But we don’t want to fall into the habit of believing that the only content worth amplifying is coming from the platform.

Andy Stanley once said:

Don’t confuse giftedness with holiness. The person with the microphone isn’t always the holiest one in the room.

I think we’d all agree that we’ve been in some situations where that was most certainly the case. But, even in the situations where the person with the microphone is communicating amazing truth, it’s still worth noting that for some people in the room, it will be their interactions with people like you and me that make the biggest impact.

It’s quite possible that as far as God is concerned, one of us might be the holiest in the room on any given week. As we already know from I Samuel 16:7, God is not looking at our outward productions because He doesn’t see as man sees. Instead, He’s looking at our hearts and lives. And if that’s true, I think it begs the question: What is being amplified by my life?

Are people more convinced of the goodness of God after they’ve been with me? Do my responses to stress and production glitches magnify what’s coming off the platform or detract from it? Are people encouraged or discouraged after they’ve been part of a team I’m leading? Do I prioritize the task or the person? Is the content I’m communicating worth amplifying? Would I want a mic to be on me?

Each of us, no matter our role, is being used by God to tell of Him. Because most of us are in a production context in Christian environments or churches, people can rightly assume what we believe about God based on their interactions with us. In the same way, many of us have certainly been in some scenarios where we’ve experienced the very stark contrast between what someone portrayed on the platform and what we experienced of them off the platform. We know what we think about those people; we think that their behavior off the platform makes what they say on the platform suspect and inauthentic. We feel we know what they’re really like now.

Have you noticed that every time someone picks up a microphone for a sound check, they say the same thing practically the same thing? It’s strangely universal.

Check. Check. Check 1, 2, 3…Check.

Well, no matter how overused that might be, I think this is a great time for a mic check of our own—the mic check of our lives. Let’s think about what’s being amplified to the people around us. After all, what’s being amplified is what was already there.

Think About It…

  1. What is being amplified by your life?
  2. Have you experienced the on-stage vs. off-stage dichotomy with someone?
  3. Are people encouraged or discouraged after they’ve been with you/led by you?
  4. Has it ever occurred to you that someone’s interaction with you could be more impactful than any content they hear from a platform?
  5. Would you want a live microphone on you at all times in your production role? Why or why not?

About the Author:

Jeff Sandstrom has been an independent music producer and engineer for over 20 years. He was honored to produce the Dove Award-winning series “Shout Praises Kids” for Integrity Music, and continues to produce, arrange and record worship music projects in the studio.

From 2007-2016, he was the Front of House audio engineer for Chris Tomlin, and has circled the globe several times, leading the production of the live concert sound for Chris and for Passion Conferences. Jeff has been a member of North Point Community Church, pastored by Andy Stanley, since its beginning. He continues to partner with North Point Ministries as well as other churches over the years, helping them understand the importance of the production experience and helping train excellence and engagement both on the platform and off.

Jeff is also part of the MxU live team. You can learn more about MxU here

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