Okay...so maybe it's a revived zombie thread, but I think it's worthy of new life since there appear to be quite a few of us using PODs in worship environments. And sharing our approaches can probably help others in new ways to use this great technology.
This isn't something I'm new to. I became a member of The Posse Band, which is the band associated with a biker church known as the Salvation Saloon located in the Tampa Bay Florida area about 5 years ago. We're a bit different than many worship groups in that we are a band. We're the church band and perform every Sunday but we also play a number of outside events and concerts in the area and have a pretty broad following throughout the area.
Our musical selection consists of a very wide range of material from some of the contempory christian songs, to older christian rock/blues out of the 70's and 80's like Darryl Mansfield and such, and a number of even older songs from people like Elvis, Blind Boys of Alabama, and some re-arranged older black gospel tunes dating back into the 20's, as well as some originals which tend to have a classic rock feel to them ala Doobie Bros., Rolling Stones, Who, Steely Dan, or Aerosmith.
Because of the range of material modeling is a significant part of what we do. Not only in terms of guitar, but also in our drums using various styles of electronic kits and samples that match the feel necessary for each song. I've been using modeling for quite a long time in the studio and brought that concept with me into the live environment when I joined the band. Recently I've been noticing the trend of other guitarists using pedal based modeling going direct into the PA with an FRFR monitor on stage in place of a traditional amp. I began experimenting with the POD HD ProX in the studio and found I could get a much more clear and articulated modeling similar to that in the studio using that type of setup and recently made the leap to that type of setup a couple of months ago.
The first challenge was to have a home practice environment that mimics the stage environment so I can develop my patches with some degree of confidence in how they will sound live. Many have already noted the challenges in this setup due to the wide and flat frequency response you get going direct into a PA, which is VERY different than the sound that comes out of a traditional amp and cabinet. So I've had to work my way through cutting out unnatural guitar frequencies that people aren't used to hearing on electric guitar. Using the global EQ on the system setup I've placed my Low Cut at 80Hz and my High Cut at 8.0 Khz. That pretty much leaves me inside the normal range of guitar amps and cabinets and allows me to use the EQ in each patch in a more natural way. I still may have to further limit some highs and lows on certain patches either due to the guitar I'm using or to keep out the rumbling or brashness, but generally this leaves me with a very clear and articulated range that readily accepts distortion or other effects.
In our style of music I don't tend to have to go overboard with effects, just mostly the basics: drive, distortion, compression, phaser or chorus, reverb, and delay in whatever measure they're required or not required for any particular song. I do employ a range of amps and cabinets and mics to get the right basic sound then add in effects as necessary. In most cases this will be similar to what was typically used by artists that specialized in that style. For example BB King style blues would use a Roland amp, early british rock like the Who will use a Vox, and harder 70's rock similar to Aerosmith will use a Marshall JCM...and so forth.
In my case, because of the range of styles, I create individual patches for each song and store them all in the User 3 library or backed up onto the PC. That way I can retrieve whatever songs are needed for each performance and place them in the User 2 library and then just cycle through them throughout the performance. Each patch is named the name of the song it's for, so this gives me the added benefit of having my set list displayed on my POD. The other advantage is each of these patches is pre-gain staged so all the volumes match and I never have to worry about one patch being louder than another, I only have to worry about my master volume, which keeps my band mates happy. Another distinct advantage to this approach is I don't typically need to have a lot of footswitches setup for each patch. Generally a given effect such as reverb, delay, chorus, compressor, or drive will be on the whole time I use the patch and I only need to assign a footswitch to things like a screamer for a lead or possibly a harmony for a dual lead which leaves my feet free most of the time.
Admittedly I'm still learning the nuances of how to use this system effectively, but so far it's been a great success. Due to the clarity and articulation of the patches and the FRFR speakers and monitors, I don't get lost in the mix of other instruments even if my volume is lower. Also, because of more precise control over the EQ of my guitar, it's left more space for other intruments in the band to be heard more clearly, so the overall mix has improved considerably and is much closer to a polished studio sound than a traditional live sound, which is one of the goals for our band.