When you get a new volunteer on the church sound team, it’s quite exciting! And then before we know it, they aren’t showing up any more because they don’t think they can do it.

Turns out, overwhelming new team members is the number one way to run them off.

Those of us who have been running sound for a while tend to move too quickly when training new volunteers. So let me share some tips to help you pace things out.

Instead of scheduling lengthy training sessions, I recommend training for 15 minutes before rehearsal and then using rehearsal to give them hands on experience.

The 5/5/5 Training Method

You’ll want to break this 15 minutes up into three 5-minute segments:

✅ 5 Minutes to Build Relationship

Use the first 5 minutes to build a relationship with your new volunteer. They need to know that you care about them, not just what they can do.

So be intentional about asking questions about them that do not relate to church sound.

Most people want to skip this part because they are in such a hurry. But all it takes is 5 minutes to let them know you care more about them than what they can do.

✅ 5 Minutes of Focused Training

Then spend the next 5 minutes training them on a specific concept. You can show them a video, or teach them yourself, or whatever you find best. But just stick to one thing per week.

Don’t try to teach them compression and EQ all in the same week. Keep it focused. One thing at a time. Remember, we are pacing things out so they don’t get overwhelmed.

✅ 5 Minutes Completing the Mixing Cheat Sheet

Finally, spend the last 5 minutes completing the Mixing Cheat Sheet with them.

This is a document that I’ve put together to help new volunteers get familiar with their surroundings.

Download Mixing Cheat Sheet (click here)

The cheat sheet has the new volunteer list out all the vocals and instruments they will be mixing. Then, they will note the lead vocal and lead instrument for each song that week.

This may seem redundant, but it is key to helping a new sound volunteer get familiar with all the different vocals and instruments and how the mix changes from song-to-song.

What do I teach each week?

You might be wondering what concepts to teach each week. Let me show you how I break it down into seven simple concepts. At one per week, you can have a new sound volunteer up and running in just seven weeks.

  • Week 1 – Focus on the faders and creating a great mix using the mixing cheat sheet
  • Week 2 – Gain
  • Week 3 – Low Cut Filter
  • Week 4 – Mixing Monitors with Bus Mixes
  • Week 5 – Simple EQ Using Frequency Sweeping
  • Week 6 – Vocal Compression
  • Week 7 – Reverb

I’ve put together an online training system that contains a simple and short training video for each of these as well as a bunch of cheat sheets to help new volunteers apply what they learn.

It’s called Church Sound Made Simple and you can get access for you and your team today by visiting churchsoundmadesimple.com.

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About the Author

Kade Young

Kade Young brought Collaborate Worship into existence with a dream of helping worship leaders around the world fulfill their calling with excellence. He has been leading worship since 2005, is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training College, and currently the worship leader at NoLimits Church in Owasso, Oklahoma.