My pastors won't listen when we say the music is too loud!

Jessica - posted on 01/18/2012 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My church has been through a few worship pastors in the past few years, and one thing I've noticed about the music is that it keeps getting louder. Keep in mind, I'm 23 and a musician, so I'm comfortable around loud music.



However, the sanctuary's not that big, and the speakers are set up on tall stands at the front. The music and the bass is so powerful that it shakes the windows,and it's so strong in my chest that sometimes I feel a little breathless! The church keeps a basket of earplugs outside in the foyer! My heart aches when I see parents bringing their babies (yes newborn babies!) into the sanctuary for worship, I know it must be affecting their poor little baby ears.



I find it almost impossible to worship God with music that loud. I know for a fact that several people have said to the worship pastor AND the head pastor that the music is too loud, and they refuse to do anything about it. I really don't think that's right. I personally feel like it's more of a concert than worship. Don't get me wrong, I love the new rock worship music, but how can I get my pastor or worship pastor to listen to any of us?



Should i just shut up and deal with it, or do something about it?

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Cassie - posted on 10/09/2012

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The main problem is that too many contemporary music leaders have failed to be trained in how to lead congregational worship. They are fine musicians and can pull off a rockin concert, but effectively leading congregational singing is totally different. The goal of congregational worship is participation of the members in the various movements of the service, or liturgy. When participation is hindered then members become spectators and worship breaks down. One of the main factors that hinders participation in singing is music that is so loud that it drowns the congregation. Fine for a concert, but very undesirable for a worship gathering. Our music, in both style and volume, should support and encourage congregational participation not eclipse it. We need a major reawakening in this area of church ministry.

Andrea - posted on 01/19/2012

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As a pastors wife I know the ministers are very busy during service times and other scheduled events. Any complaints they get will likely go in one ear and out the other and only register as someone else not being happy with what they are doing. If your church is anything like the ones we've been in they are getting lots of complaints about many different things.

If you want to address the issue take it up with the worship pastor first - going to the head pastor will seem like you are "going over his head." Set up a meeting with him and go in to talk to him. He should have office hours in which he can meet with people. Start the conversation with something he is doing well, just as you would like someone who had issue with your work . Tell him you like the style of music, you love the song choices, pick a few of your favorites maybe something he has introduced that you especially enjoy, whatever you like about what is going on with the worship service - let him know. Then go on with your concern. Speak only for yourself and not for others. Tell him how the music affects you physically, your concern with the infants and how it disrupts your ability to worship. You can even add that you are glad they offer the earplugs but that they have not helped you (I assume you've tried them since you mentioned them. I know they wouldn't help me - I am very sensitive to bass and cannot be in the room with any bass beat) Try not to accuse him of "doing it wrong." Come in with an idea for solutions and be willing to work with him and possibly be a part of the solution. If he is unwilling to speak with you or work with you, you can then go to the head pastor with your concerns. If neither of them is willing to at least give you a reasonable answer as to why it must be this loud you can go to the elders with your concern.

If at any time someone else approaches you about the topic simply say you are going to or have talked to the pastor and encourage them to do the same. Try to avoid complaining with others as this will lead to gossip and dissension.

Ultimately if they do not want to do anything about the problem then you will have to decide if you want to stay or find another church in which you can worship. I hope it doesn't come to that but if in the event you do decide you need to find another church body this is the time to write a letter addressed to the pastor and the elders telling them your reasons for leaving - still be pleasant simply let them know why you can not stay.

Dawn - posted on 01/20/2012

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Jessica,



I've seen this issue first-hand in the past year at my church. There was a shift in the focus of the music ministry. Two of the four services are now concerts each week. The volume levels have sent people out of the sanctuary in tears of pain. This issue was brought before the senior pastor (who brought this change on in the first place, mind you). According to OSSHA (maybe I've got the acronym wrong, but it's close), sound levels are not to exceed 85 decibels unless you are indeed at a rock concert. These two services were exceeding 110-115 decibels. When confronted with this, the worship leader in those services were forced to lower levels. They are still louder than we run them in the two services I lead, but aren't sending people out in tears anymore. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or android device, you can download a sound meter app for free. I'd check the level and then use that during a conversation with the worship pastor as well as the senior pastor.

I agree that there is no need for the volume to be that high during worship. And I also believe that there is no place for performance in worship. We are there to lead the congregation in the worship of God and not of ourselves!

Good luck!



Dawn

Nelly - posted on 01/20/2012

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I don't think you should shut up. If the pastor is not listening to you, maybe you can get a few moms and sit down with him. It is unacceptable that the church has to have ear plugs. It is not a rock concert.



Good luck.

[deleted account]

First of all, a letter is good, but a very serious issue can arise by sharing that you have spoken to others about the music sound level. It could be construed as contention, someone making waves that lead to a body of unsettled members. It could be constrewed as slander. Been there, done that... If you are a pastoral led church versus a congregational led church, there can be times of "dictatorship" for a lack of a better word. If it is a presbytery or convention led than more accountability is there. Without accountability the leader can decide who, what, when, where, and why. If the letter does not go over well, a petition to lower the volume may, but once again may lead to hurt feelings and a request for you to leave the church. Above all prayer, good old fashion prayer moves mountains. If you and 7 other families write their names on the letter, it may go over better or as I mention backfire. If these backfire, I suggest you pray about finding another church where the Lord leads you. A person not validating an issue that affects a body of believers has an issue that needs to be dealt with by the congregation. Do you have congregational meetings? Session meetings for Elders and Deacons? We all must search our heart in prayer when we deal with conflict with others. ♥

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User - posted on 11/10/2012

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be thankful 2 god ur in a church thats alive others may here the sound and be draw inx

Victoria - posted on 10/12/2012

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Talk with the worship leader & Senior Pastor.

Measuring the decibels is certainly a good idea, you then have something to show them as proof.



It's certainly hard to with sound systems especially in small areas. We just got a new sound board in our sanctuary & in order to work it at its best, they work on it when the sanctuary is full, because this affects the sound.



Its true what Amanda said, there are always a list of complaints & its always hard to please everyone, but generally when you sit down, maybe a couple of Congregational members & let the leadership know that this is a problem they are usually quite reasonable.



Our church members know that we have a board & they can come to anyone one of the board members or any of us pastors & we will bring these issues up at the 1/4ly board meetings. Although most often everyone is completely comfortable to speak with the Sr Pastor or any of the leadership.



Always pray before you go to them, don't be confrontational, but go in love & with respect.



Praying for you,

Pastor Victoria MacPherson.

Angela - posted on 09/05/2012

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Please, please measure the decibels as suggested by Dawn, but also carefully prepare what you will say when you approach them. If there are legal requirements for noise levels then get leaflets from the official bodies who set these statutes so you have immediate evidence to back up what you say!



Please update us on how you got on!

Carla - posted on 09/05/2012

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@Amanda Lowas--my hat is off to both you and your husband. Being a pastor/pastor's wife is a particularly thankless job.



My hopes are that Jessica's pastor and worship leader have the wisdom to listen, if, as you say, she goes to them in love and has measured the decibels. When I can feel the music in my chest vibrating, I don't like it, either. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the rock Christian music! Everything in moderation ;)



God bless, all

Amanda - posted on 09/05/2012

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I too am a pastors wife, and this is what I know... everyone has personal preferences and an opinion. You can't make everyone happy. You would be shocked at how many and what people complain about - the pews are too hard, the music too loud, I don't like it when we do the service in this order, who has been mowing the lawn it doesn't look right, .... it goes on and on. Any changes are met with 50 different opinions about the change - so it is not likely that either of the pastors are disregarding your complaint, it is just likely that your complaint is one on a list. I like the suggestion of the person that suggested that you measure the sound decibels. Being a Pastor is a very difficult thing - generally 1/2 the church treats you with respect, love and care and the other 1/2 treat you like you work for them not God.



Is this your only complaint? People who complain all the time don't usually get heard. Why bother trying to make them happy, they are going to complain about it anyway? I am not implying anything (honestly), or invalidate your concern, just trying to give a reason as to why you might not be getting heard. Also, when you complained, was it right after a service (in passing) or did you schedule a one on one meeting where you could explain your problem with it? My husband is told/asked 900 different things right after church - it is not a good time to take a serious concern to him.



Finally, I like the suggestion to measure the actual sound. If it in fact is too loud (as measured) maybe you could go with a specific suggestion - "I measured it at 110 could we agree to keep it under 90?" show him the ap that measures it - and suggest he test it before services to make sure it is not at ear-piercing levels. And, as in all things do it in love. They are merely trying to do what God has called them to do - if you make this complaint and they concede - make sure you show them appreciation and thank them for thier service. It's when the complaints out weigh the kudos that you get ministers who are burnt out, and depleted. It's a congregations responsibility to take care of the needs of thier ministers, so that they can then take care of everyone elses needs.

Parley - posted on 09/04/2012

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The music volumn is the new Jesus. If you have a marital problem out comes the counselors, a Bible doubt and out comes the theologians. A loud complaint and you are out!

[deleted account]

Prayfor help in this area. You need to do what is best for your family. Remember the heirarchy of faith: God, family , church...... If after you pray and it is still not working for your family... Move on, nothing personal but your faith and walk is above the church. Find somewhere that feeds you spiritually and works with your family. Cheers and best to you.

Jennie - posted on 01/20/2012

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THat is ridiculous! I have never even heard this before. And the fact that the pastor is not doing anything about it, after more than a few people have said something is wrong. SPEAK UP! Eventually when the whole church leaves, maybe he will change.

Angela - posted on 01/19/2012

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I'm sorry but I don't think Jessica needs to avoid getting support from other Church members on this issue. If there are parents of small babies they can't be content with the noise level.



In a democracy people have the right to join together and speak out about whatever's bothering them. This isn't a kids' school, nor is it the Army. Church is a freewill thing - not a dictatorial set-up. There will probably be many others who feel the same way but are too timid to speak up. They're happier when there's the "safety in numbers".



If there is any possibility of being singled out as a "ringleader" if there are accusations of group dissent - there's an easy way to get round this. If you present your request as a petition DON'T have a list of names. The first person on the list may get made an example of.



Ever heard of a "round robin"? This is a petition where all the names go round in a circle. One person can't be singled out.



Worth thinking about.

Linda - posted on 01/19/2012

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I think writing a letter is a good idea---but I would skip the talking to other people about it. In my opinion, this could be spreading dissension. Keep this between you, the pastor, and the elders. If they refuse to change and you cannot truly worship God in that environment, then I would pray about changing churches.

Carla - posted on 01/19/2012

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Sounds good, Angela. I, too, love the rock worship music, but God wants to hear the singing too, not just the music ;) ANY pastor who does not at least take into consideration the concerns his flock has is not being a wise and diligent shepherd. I pray he wakes up and listens.



God bless, hon

Angela - posted on 01/18/2012

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Ask around discreetly and find out how other members of the congregation feel.



If there are a few of you feel this way (and from the way you describe it, I'm sure there must be), try writing your pastors a letter. Yes, a LETTER!! Not a face-to-face confrontation, not a phone call and definitely not an e-mail. A letter that they can read at their leisure and ponder over. Speaking to him in person or on the phone when he's facing the time constraints of the other busy parts of his ministry isn't the way - hand him a letter that he'll take notice of and can re-read. And e-mails are too easy to delete/ignore/forget about.



Courtesy demands that he responds to your letter either in writing, or by speaking to you. You could send something like this:





"Dear Pastor X,



We spoke the other day about my concerns regarding the volume of the music in Church. These concerns continue and I’ve spoken to seven other members of this congregation who are equally worried – I’m sure there are many more as well. There are people with young babies who attend this Church and it can’t be good for the delicate hearing of these infants when the volume & vibrations are beyond the comfort levels of most adults. Personally speaking, I’m a musician and as such I’m used to fairly loud music but it’s too loud for me even!



I’ve noticed the windows rattling somewhat when the music is being played and the vibrations even affect my chest and breathing.



Is there anything can be done to make the musical side of worship pleasanter for those who come to our Church?



With my prayers & best wishes,



JESSICA QUAKA"



This would probably be better handwritten, by the way. Anyway, hope this helps!!

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