Computer: Neil Foster

1. If at all possible, aim to get the EasyWorship schedule set up well before the service.

For AM I try to do it the evening before. This means that you have a better chance to plug any gaps in good time (if someone forgot to send the sermon slides, or the song choices, or if the muso’s want a new song that isn’t on the database, or if the video you’re meant to be using doesn’t quite work…. Etc!) Plus if you can do it somewhere where there is a wireless internet connection, that saves having to log on to the email and download stuff through a hot spot or other dodgy mechanism.

2. Go through the songs word for word with the song leader.

There are probably different way of doing this, but for AM I like to get the song leader to sit down and literally read out the words they are going to sing so I can check that the slides coincide, no later than 10 minutes prior. Make it clear to the song leader that it is not really good enough that they have a quick glance and think the “vibe” is OK! It is very distracting for congregation members when the words being sung don’t coincide with the slides, and we are there to serve the congregation and help them sing, not to have them marvel at how creative we are in coming up with new arrangements on the spot!

3. My habit is to take the preacher’s script and go through it with a yellow highlighter to mark the slide transitions.

(It is also handy to double check that the number of slide transitions marked on the script coincides with the number of slides you have for the talk! You may discover that it has been edited since the preacher prepared their script and you need to be aware of it.)

4. For songs, a long time ago a wise mentor (Mark Jeffreys!) told me that the computer person should sing along with the songs by watching the slides on the screen the congregation is following.

Sounds obvious but what this does it make you concentrate on what the congregation are seeing, and not get distracted in cuing up the next song, etc. Follow along, and don’t let anyone else start talking to you during a song! Yes, it sounds obvious again, but it is very easy to be distracted and miss the cue. When a song is on you have one job- keep the slides coming at the rate the congregation needs to sing. As a usually reliable guide, where the slide transitions are fast, click onto the next one once the congregation have started singing the last word on the current slide. You singing along again will help that (you can do so quietly not to freak out the sound guys).

5. Pray!

I usually pray when starting to prepare the schedule.

6. A bonus tip! When setting up Scripture verses make sure the Bible version is the NIV!

Easy to forget but also distracting if the reader is using NIV and you’ve put the HSBC up.