Monday, August 5, 2013

MCing at Church - some advice

Mike Jolly's ever-popular post on MCing a church meeting is well worth a read (as is the comment thread there, actually). And I think he's about to post on the topic again, so stay tuned!

Anyhow, prompted by a conversation with Mike, I'd like to share with you some things I've been thinking about (and working on) in my MCing recently. This isn't a 'balanced' list, in any sense; it hardly mentions biblical input, for example. Hope it helps :)

  • Start Strong - the first 30 seconds either sets up everyone else to be heard, or makes their job harder.
  • Sustained Eye Contact - make it, and hold it... then move on. Don't flit, flit, flit. Make eye contact with an individual, hold it for several seconds. Move to another. Repeat. That kinda eye contact takes confidence, but it establishes a very 'direct' connection with your listeners.
  • Your Own Prayer - without meaning to sound all-pious, make sure you actually pray ahead of the meeting, on your own. And also pray with other key players in the meeting: preacher, band leader, Bible reader, etc.
  • Give Feedback - be the guy who courteously but diligently strives for improvement with specific, timely, personal feedback.
  • Relationships - the feedback thing reminds me: don't make 'giving feedback' the only time you talk to him/her. People are more important than the 'quality' of their contribution to your church meeting, so reflect that by building relationships that are more substantial than mere feedback-loops.
  • Actually say, "Thanks" - I think it's nice to explicitly thank the bible readers, prayers, band leaders, musos, etc. Not necessarily from the stage (depending on the tone of the meeting), but certainly personally. Not every single week, necessarily. And try to make it specific, too, incorporating a touch of positive feedback. "Thanks for leading the band this week. I thought the arrangements in that second song really helped the chorus shine--brilliant!" That kinda thing.
  • Deviate - Deviate from your 'habitual tone', sometimes. If you're the 'serious guy', then occasionally do a *really* up-beat angle. If you're the bubbly MC, then occasionally do a reflective, deep, thoughtful, serious kinda angle.
  • Thick Skin - Some people will love your MCing, some will prefer the other guy--some might even think you stink at MCing. Be ok with that. It's the same for preachers, singers, musos, every public figure has to deal with it.
  • Stockpile your Notes as a Resource - get organised and keep your MC scripts/notes, including prayers, etc. It's fine to reuse them sometimes.
  • Prayers should be Excellent - Invest time and creativity into your prayers. They don't have to be long. But they should never be boring, or sound insincere. If you only barely believe what you're praying, then you can be sure that those trying to pray along with you are feeling the strain. "Dear God, thanks so much for your word": Perhaps you could think on it, and find ways to say it that are fresh to your ears, at least.
  • Direction and Purpose - know where the meeting is going and take it there with a sense of direction and purpose. Do you *really* need to say all that stuff? Waffle should have been edited out well before you take the stage.

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