Volume in worship is an ongoing issue of discussion and sometimes even contention, in many churches. Tastes, opinions and preferences are as plentiful as "food on a stick" at the Iowa State Fair!
If the volume is too low, people feel conspicuous in worship and tend to not participate. If it is too loud, people are frustrated and don't participate. Since participatory worship is the goal, we cannot afford to ignore the volume issue. So, how loud is too loud?
Personal preferences are hard to quantify. Every person in the room has 2 receivers, called ears, that no one but the owner has control over. Put 2 people in a car with the stereo on and wait a little while and there is likely to be a difference of opinion, especially if they are married to each other! :-) Trying to satisfy everyone in any worship service is virtually impossible. There are some things, however, that can help balance the issue: decibel level, frequency sensitivity and duration.
What are safe decibel levels? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has compiled a list of the decibel measurements (dBA) for common noises you might be exposed to each day at home, work or during recreational activities. A decibel is a unit that expresses intensity or power. Here are some examples of decibel levels:
75-85 dBA: Flushed toilet
110 dBA: Crying baby
130 dBA: Noisy squeeze toy
65-95 dBA: Power lawn mower
90 - 115 dBA: Subway
140 dBA: Airplane take-off
180 dBA: Rocket launch
70 dBA: Freeway traffic
110 dBA: Car horn
117 dBA: Football game (stadium)
157 dBA: Balloon pop
Rich Muchow (Saddleback music pastor) teaches that a worship service should be under 96. We work hard to keep our dBA under 95. While we cannot set the decibel levels at everyone's preferences, we can keep them within an appropriate range.
Work with us ... we're doing our best to do our best! :-)