Turn the Volume UP!


Have you ever had anyone threaten to leave the church because the volume was too LOW during worship? Believe it or not, I have. It only happened a couple of times and certainly did not compare with how many complained it was too loud. To this day, I can tell you who in our church wishes we would turn the volume up . . . and no, they aren’t deaf!

Last week I wrote the article ‘Turn the Volume DOWN!‘ Today I would like to similarly share some reasons why people may want the volume turned UP in your Sunday services. You might experience slight deja vu.

  • It’s too quiet. (there is no energy in the room)
    Stating the obvious is always a great way to begin. The Master Volume needs to be turned up and the instruments should be remixed to the new level. When worship is too quiet it can make for a boring worship experience. I’ve been to many churches who mix their worship too quiet. I suppose it appeases a few key leaders (or the pastor), but it also puts a major damper on worship – especially for the younger generations.

As a general rule of thumb, if I can hold a conversation with the person next to me during worship without leaning in and raising my voice to be heard, the sound is probably too soft.

  • Bad mix. (low energy in the room or we can’t hear the worship leader)
    Many times the problem isn’t volume. It’s a bad mix. The instruments are too loud and are drowning out the worship leader; or the keyboard and worship leader is mixed well but everything else is just a low hum in the background; or the drums are drowning everything so all people hear is just enough worship leader and primary instrument to be able to sing. Probably most common is when the kick bass (the deep booming sound from the drums) is turned way down. This can really squash energy in the room and may even make the difference between whether or not people ‘clap’ or not during high energy songs.
  • Hearing loss.
    Another reason why people might want the sound turned up is because they are simply half-deaf and don’t know it. I’m not joking. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for people to have hearing impairment AND to not know it. According to these statistics, people with hearing loss wait on the average of 7 years before seeking help. I better go get my ears checked.
  • Differing opinions.
    Read this same paragraph in my post ‘Turn the Volume Down!‘ That about sums it up! Everyone has different opinions on how loud they like to hear music as well as what the overall mix sounds like. The key is to determine who will be the primary driver for volume/mix (that is, who will represent the values/goals of your church best) and let that individual call the shots. Just a side note – assuming you have a passion to reach the younger generations, I recommend you err on the side of a more aggressive/loud mix than not. I’m not suggesting you drive everyone else out – but that you actively seek to find that balance.
  • Bad equipment or acoustics.
    Your equipment, speaker placement and room acoustics will make a big difference. Often, churches struggle with hot and quiet spots in the room. It’ll be loud in one area and too quiet in others. My church has this issue. I’ve used this fact to my advantage by encouraging those who tend to like it louder or quieter to sit in certain areas. It’s one reason why the young people like to sit near the front. They get both the speakers in the room as well as the stage noise coming off of people’s stage monitors. It’s also usually where the sub-woofers (where all the bass and lows come out making your body vibrate) are located.
I will continue this short series of posts about volume in an upcoming article giving some general advice on how your church might better ensure your worship service has the best possible mix/volume to encourage maximum participation from your worshipers. Stay tuned!

photo credit: ckaiserca via photo pin cc

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