I’ve been running ProPresenter for the better part of the last 7-8 months at Revolution. I figured I’d take a little time to share some thoughts on running it. I believe the grand total of my readers that run ProPresenter – or something similar – total to exactly “0″, so this post should help precisely nobody. Here we go!
* Realize what you do is important. I believe the single most important thing one can do when running ProPresenter (or something similar) is to realize the significance of what you do. It’s easy to think that what you do is insignificant, but the simple fact of the matter is that what you do enhances the worship experience of everyone in attendance. Most people don’t remember the lyrics to songs, so without you, most people wouldn’t be able to sing along. And with regard to the message, show me one study that doesn’t show that people retain more when both reading verses on the screen and hearing the pastor read them.
* Learn the songs. I don’t just mean “be familiar with the songs” or “have heard the songs at least once,” I mean “know the songs.” The better you know the songs being sung, the more effectively you can keep up with the songs. Also, you’ll have a better idea of when to display the next line – especially after solos and breaks. Nothing is more embarrassing than firing off the next line, just to realize there’s actually another four measures before the line actually begins. Oops.
* Check your grammar/spelling. This seems like a no-brainer, but I have to admit it’s something that we’ve had issues with before. In fact, I caught a grammar mistake this week for a song we’ve been using for months. I have the benefit (sometimes an annoying benefit) of having several grammar freaks at the church who are happy to point out any grammar or spelling mistakes I may have made. 99% of the mistakes made get caught and corrected before the first service begins.
* Get your timing right. This is probably the single biggest issue I had. I took pride in the fact that I could fire off the next line at exactly the right moment. It took several people pounding into my head over and over again that I was doing it wrong before I finally started doing it right. Basically, people need to see the next line before it’s actually sung. I didn’t get that. Depending on the speed of the song, I try and fire off the next line between half a second and a second before the line is sung. Ish. It actually clicked for me when I went to the Unleash conference and Newspring Church this past March. I saw how their guys were doing it, and determined that they were doing it right. It also helped when our pastor, Gary, came over and said, “See that? That’s how I want you to do it.”
* Be open to suggestions/being told what to do. This was another big one for me. I’m the expert on everything I do (and several things I don’t do), so I just knew I was doing things right. I’ve had to learn that I don’t know everything, and it’s not about me. Now, whenever Gary or Adam (our Creative Pastor) tell me to do something different, I act without question, whether I agree or not. I may raise a question or concern, but I know they have the final say.
* Do your part with excellence. It may be tempting to believe that your part isn’t important. That’s a dangerous thought to have, because the less important you think what you do is, the less likely you are to do your best. You may not be the Pastor, you may not be the worship leader, people may never know who you are, but that makes no difference. The simple fact is that every little part of what goes on in a service is important. Every little thing contributes to the impression that people have of Christians – and ulitmately – Christ. I can honestly say that I’ve visited churches where their screens were run poorly, and it gave me a bad impression of the place. There are honest mistakes that are unavoidable, but there is no excuse for poor performance as a result of apathy.
* Be creative in ways to improve yourself. Not much to say here but to give an example. Revolution has a mid-week band practice, and I’ve been going the past couple months. This allows me to make sure the lyrics are right in ProPresenter, and allows me to be more familiar with the arrangements they use that week. This is one less thing I have to do Sunday morning, so I can focus on other things. Also, I moved from sitting down to standing up while running ProPresenter. This has two advantages: It’s easier for me to get into the music and the worship experience, and it’s easier to see the stage for visual cues (i.e., the worship leader moving back to the mic to sing). These may not help you or be practical for you, but the point is to always be looking for ways to improve.
That’s about all I have. I hope that all none of you found this helpful! =)