I know I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen a lot. I’ve traveled the globe with world-renowned artists, engineered and produced many successful worship projects, and been privy to more production meetings than I can count, for about as many ministries and churches. That’s a lot of church lingo and cue sheets! After 20 years working in church production, here’s one thing I’ve seen far too often:
Church production teams are some of the most spiritually vulnerable people on campus.
We’re a group of people with our heads down, following that cue sheet, twisting knobs and pushing faders, working to get everything right. In our effort not to miss a cue, we sometimes miss what God has for us. We have seen “the man behind the curtain.” Heck, sometimes we are that man. We know the warts and flaws, and this knowledge can leave us distracted, sarcastic, disillusioned, jaded, or worse.
Sunday is coming. This simple fact means that churches rarely have the time, energy, or resources to provide the tools needed for true discipleship and community within their production staff and teams. Se what can we do?
I’d like to introduce you to Sonnet House.
Sonnet House is a place where production folks come together in community to address the tension of both the technical and the spiritual. We want to give teams the tools they need to be excellent at what they do while helping them grow stronger as disciples of Christ.
Sonnet House wants to reinforce the importance of both sides of the tension. By training production teams on best practices and new pieces of gear, providing interviews with experts, tips and tricks, etc., we will be emphasizing the importance of the technical aspects of the job. But we will also come together— thus the “House”— as a fraternity of people who need each other, fostering spiritual encouragement and deep community with one another.
The name Sonnet House comes from the hymn, Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing. The lyrics in this poem have a back-and-forth quality, a tension between the technical/physical and the artistic/spiritual that mirrors many of the experiences of men and women in production.
“Teach me some melodious sonnet” combines an expertise (teaching) with a creative expression (sonnet).
“Streams of mercy, never ceasing” draw un into God’s grace, and “Call for songs of loudest praise” makes us wanna rock!
"Tune my heart to sing Thy grace” implies an expert quality of singing in tune, but it’s singing from a place of grace.
The tension of distraction is loud & clear in the line, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it,” but is turned around when the writer affirms the spiritual act, “Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it.”
Even the sonnet itself is an exercise in technical and artistic tension, being a poem form with a specific, highly technical structure and rhyme scheme. In fact, the root word for sonnet is the same as for “sound” and “song.”
We provide tools for the hands and the heart, helping teams grow together, technically and spiritually.
I’ve been an independent music producer and engineer for over 20 years. I was honored to produce the Dove Award-winning series “Shout Praises Kids” for Integrity Music, and I continue to produce, arrange and record worship music projects in the studio. Meanwhile, outside the studio…
From 2007-2016, I was the Front of House audio engineer for Chris Tomlin, and have circled the globe several times, leading the production of the live concert sound for Chris and for Passion Conferences. Chris’ heart for leading the Church to worship is unmatched, and getting to tour with him has been a highlight of my career.
For the sake of background, I’ve been a member of North Point Community Church, pastored by Andy Stanley, since its beginning. North Point does everything they set their mind to with excellence and pioneering vision, and their commitment to instill those values in their team continues to inspire me.
I’ve continued to partner with North Point Ministries as well as other churches over the years, helping them understand the importance of the production experience in a service and helping train excellence and engagement both on the platform and off. That’s a really long sentence and a fancy way of saying… Excellence matters. Heart matters. They matter together. In fact, my heart for helping churches excel has led to the development of Sonnet House, a company designed to provide churches with tools to raise the bar for production through technical training, while at the same time giving them tools for discipleship and community for their teams.