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Letter to the Pastor


One of your main responsibilities is to teach your congregation. You do this through many methods, the primary one being your weekly message or sermon. Each week you spend a good amount of time deciding what to speak on, how to present it, and what the most important points are that the congregation needs to hear. Preparing for even a short 30-minute talk involves an investment in both time and energy. The more complex the topic, or the more difficult it is to teach, the more time you spend.

One of the commands in the Bible is that we go and preach the gospel to everyone (Mark 16:15). This doesn’t just apply to missionary work; it applies to teaching the local people as well. A typical church is composed of members who are always there every week, normal church-goers who attend almost every week, people who attend only for special events or holidays (Easter, Christmas), and visitors (whether they’re new to the area, looking for a new church home, or people who are curious and want to learn more before they commit to anything. Whether your church is a traditional one where most of the congregation are members or if you’re a seeker-sensitive church where the bulk of the people are curious people and visitors, the need is still the same. All of these groups need to hear the gospel.

What happens if we don’t hear the gospel; what happens if we don’t learn? If we don’t learn, we don’t grow; and if we don’t grow, we eventually die.

Two-thousand years ago there were no super-highways; there were no cars, trucks, planes or trains. The only noise would have come from the market place or a group of farm animals. The world was quiet, and people met outside in large groups or inside in small intimate groups. Today, we still meet as small groups in homes, but the church is primarily meeting in large buildings to shelter us from the weather and keep outside noise out so we can all focus better on what’s being taught. The problem is, most churches have been designed with plenty of attention to how the space looks and feels, but not how it sounds. Everyone likes being in a place that looks nice, but if you’re going to a building to HEAR, who cares what it looks like; it had better sound great! Unfortunately, the opposite is truer today; because it doesn’t sound good, it had better look GREAT!

While a sound reinforcement system can help many people hear the voice of one person, it can’t make a bad room sound good. A sound system is like a mirror; it reflects an image only as good as the room allows. If the room has been designed poorly, the sound system will function poorly, no matter how much money you put into it. If a room is designed well, any well-designed and operated sound system will perform well.

The acoustics of a church sanctuary directly affects the congregation in what they hear, how they sing and how they respond. It also affects the choir, the organist, the pianist, the musicians, special speakers, and yes, even you, Pastor. Imagine if your congregation only understood 4 out of every 5 words you spoke. That’s only 80 out of 100 words or 80%. How important is your message? Is it so important that they need to hear every word? I hope so! The problem is, many churches have acoustics that are so bad that you can only understand 80% of what’s been said.

Having proper acoustics means the room performs well and now it’s worthwhile to invest in a sound reinforcement system to help project your voice so all can hear. Now when you ask for additional giving to fund a project, people will hear and respond. Now when Mrs. Smith is offering a prayer request by standing 5 feet behind the pulpit mic and almost whispering, the congregation will still be able to hear what she has to say.

The church exists to teach and reach people; the people must be able to hear and understand what’s being taught for them to grow. We are to proclaim the truth boldly so that all might hear and come to Christ. If you agree with these statements and feel strongly that people should hear every word God gives you to tell them each week, you need to ensure your meeting place – your sanctuary – is conducive to spreading the word clearly.

Jesus spoke to thousands of people at a time as is recorded in the New Testament; He had no electronic support, just the knowledge of His Father’s laws of physics. Today we have all sorts of electronics, but still need to abide by the laws of physics if we expect them to be of any help. Today we have churches that seat from 100 to over 5,000 people at a time, yet the acoustics are so bad that the message is lost.

Having good acoustics in a church isn’t a luxury item, it’s a necessity. Demand that your church sanctuary have acoustics that allow everyone to hear and understand every word spoken or sung in it. How can you feel you’re doing your job to the fullest extent if people can’t hear or understand 20% of what you’re saying?


A concerned Christian and church audio/acoustics professional

-Blake Engel,
All Church Sound