Archive - Life RSS Feed

Inspirational Voices in the Church Tech World

As a technical director who is was relatively new to the world of church tech and also to ministry, one of the things I struggled with was learning more about what I was doing before I crashed into a barrier of not having enough knowledge or experience to make good decisions.  Sometimes, it was that I simply didn’t know enough about a certain area of technology to get the job done and I was at a loss. Other times, my leadership was poor simply because I didn’t have the experience or maturity to weigh all of the aspects of the challenge and make a good decision.

Each time that I’ve come across problems such as this, the Lord has always provided someone to help me, challenge me or guide me.  It doesn’t mean I’ve averted failure; nor does it mean that I made good decisions every time.  But , it does mean I’ve learned and changed how I do things because of people who the Lord has placed in my path.  It comes from people who are older then me and sometimes from people who are younger then me.

In the next month, I want to highlight a few people who I have had the pleasure to get to know over the past few years and some I have had the privilege to do ministry along side of them.

Two of these guys are church technical ministry gurus.  Bill Swaringim and Kevin Poole have been huge influences in my life over the past two years for church tech but also for leadership in technical ministry.  Their voices carry experience and wisdom.  Bill is the leader of CTL (Church Technical Leaders) which has networked church technical directors across the nation.  His website and faithfulness was one of the reasons I figured out that being a church tech director was something I could actually do and pursue as a career and had a life-altering effect on my life.  Kevin is the tech director of Mobbery Baptist Church in Longview, TX but has been a TD at First Baptist Church of Dallas as well as the audio director for Liberty University.  He’s attention to detail, intricate planning and technical orchestration is amazing and there is much to be learned in the church world today from his insight.

The other two guys are up and coming leaders who I meet while I was on tour as an audio engineer with Valley Forge Christian College in Chosen and Pneuma.  David Brock was a youth leader who that I connected with and wound up touring with a year later and is now a Children’s Pastor integrating tech into other areas of ministry.  Pete Wituszynski was a camper in my cabin as a youth leader who is now on his way to becoming an electrical engineer and has become a solid production tech.  He’s an ultra-nerd when it comes to gear functionality and workflow and is doing an in-depth product comparison on two new consoles that are rocking the market right now.

I’ve done alot of writing…and you all have done alot of reading!  I just wanted to take some time to kind of sit back and stop talking and allow some of these stellar tech guys to talk for me.  They’ll be posted on Mondays this month and potentially next month depending on the response so make sure you’ve subscribed to the blog and you’re getting updates.  I’m also asking people to tweet these articles if you enjoy them or if you’ve learned something from it.  I want to amplify the voices of these guys because of their knowledge and faithfulness.

Thanks for your support!

Defining Leadership Goals

We were pushing through a set up for a show that was pretty complex; but, since I knew the gear and console workflow well, I was moving extremely quickly.  Input names were in place, groups and DCA’s were routed and mics and instruments were patched correctly and methodically because my approach and technique was that of someone who was fairly seasoned and experienced.

On Sunday, one of our volunteers was struggling to figure out why the console wasn’t passing audio to the mains.  The channel was registering that signal was passing through the channel, but he was perplexed as to why he couldn’t hear it.  Many of you, are thinking, “well, was it routed correctly?”  It wasn’t routed correctly and it was easy for me to see because I knew the process well.  It was a good moment for teaching troubleshooting and procedure in a real world situation where results were immediately apparent once I explained it.

It’s easy for experienced technical directors and production techs to glaze over the small steps or get frustrated when less experienced people don’t do exactly what we want.  But, if we haven’t clearly defined what we want, we are doing them a disservice and we’ve failed as a leader in what we’re doing.  Sure, there’s a certain level of experience that we need for specific events and that’s fine.  But, we also need to make sure that we’re training new people from whatever level they are on, even if that means from the ground up, and raising up new people to fill the roles of a growing ministry.

Here’s my plan of attack moving forward:

 

1. Define The Goal

When new people want to get involved, we need to have defined goals and steps laid out.  I need to verbalize and set the standards for what is important and what we want the end product to look like.  This should be applied to shows, services, presentations and organization.

 

2. Define the Steps, Technique and Jargon

As I mentioned earlier, not everyone understands how to get to the goal I shooting for.  Some may understand the process and technique but might not understand how to communicate it and some may be able to communicate well and show an understanding but get terrible results.  The key is to make sure that I know how approach people from both angles.  Personally, I can get the necessary results, but struggle more with explaining to others how to get there.  I need to learn to unlearn some of the advanced techniques and terminology and get back to the very definitions of what I’m doing and the steps of the processes I’m employing.  That doesn’t mean I’m supposed to overwhelm someone and deluge them with everything I know and expect them to run a large format show right away simply because I explained everything, but it does mean that everything can be broken down into smaller, easier and more palatable words, phrases and definitions so that people can grasp what I’m talking about and thereby learn and grow.

 

3. Define Commitment

This should be a given and I believe it will develop from getting the other two right.  If I organize my goals and explain why those goals are important and how important the volunteers who take those conceptual goals and make them a reality, it will help develop a deeper commitment and “buy-in” into what we’re doing in our specific area of ministry.

 

This is definitely a discussion-based article that I’m looking for feedback (ha…audio guy joke) on.  Comments are certainly welcomed here.  Let’s here thoughts and critiques…I’m learning along with the rest of you and I’m all ears!

Google Fiber, the Multisite Church, and the Lens of Eternity

I’m a techie and nerd through and through.  It’s like a disease that I’ll never ber cured of.  But, that’s okay honestly.  Many people even make fun of me because most of the stuff that comes out of my mouth is tech oriented.

I see everything through the lens of a tech guy.  But, I also see everything through the lens of church, ministry, and communicating the love of Christ through whatever medium or means possible.

The announcement of Google Fiber recently really hit me in just that way. Continue Reading…

Passion vs. Leadership – WAVE Blog

One of the huge perks of what I do at National Community Church is that I get to meet alot of great people who inspire me and push me towards greater things for the Kingdom of God.  WAVE Group is a full service AVL company that works with churches across the United States and has been involved in the Miracle Theater project that NCC is working on launching by providing excellent design services and will also be working on the installation.  I’ve appreciated getting to know the guys in the company over the past year and have grown from knowing them.

I’ve been convicted over the past year, that in order to grow, I must find new ways to pour out myself in order for God to fill me with something fresh and new.  That’s a very spiritual principle that I believe is also practical as well.  I can’t grow unless I not only strive for excellence in what I do, but I must also teach what I’ve learned so that others can sharpen their skills.

Continue Reading…

Your Talent is More Valuable than You Realize

Most people have heard the news weeks ago that Facebook purchased Instagram for a cool $1 billion.  I honestly think that none of us have any concept of just how much money that is.  It’s insane how much money that is!

Obviously, the CEO and the co-founder are going to make out with a ton of money because it was their idea.  The employees are set to get a decent amount of money because they were seriously in the right place at the right time.  But how did they get there?  They had to have some type of outstanding talent and some solid networking to be a part of Instagram in the first place.

Instagram had only 13 employees including the CEO and co-founder.  They must have been selective with who they brought on board and when they were brought on board.

But, it all started with a basic idea which was revealed to the public in October 2010.  It wasn’t worth much then but as it became more and more popular, they founders continued to develop and improve their idea.  I’m sure in the beginning they had no idea that the company would sell for $1 Billion dollars less then two years after it went public.

It’s the same thing with YOU.

Continue Reading…

“I’m Praying For You”

All of us have struggles and questions in life.  Confusion and questions can torment our thoughts and heart regardless of how well we’re doing or even how good things can be.

Typically, in our American culture, we grab coffee while we hang out and talk.  It’s common for most of us.  I did just that with a friend last week while he explained in great detail what was going on in his life and a struggle he was dealing with.  Sometimes, things are just out of our control which is difficult because we don’t like to feel so unsure of what is going to happen next.  We hate not being positive whether we are going to get what we need or not. Continue Reading…

Creative Burnout and Significance in the Journey

We do what we do because we love it.  If you work in a creative field and don’t love it, you simply cannot excel at it because of how much heart is behind what you do.  But, even those who are passionate about what they do might be almost too passionate and wind up burning themselves out.

In a field like technical ministries, design, or something along those lines, we tend to view what we do in a very project driven mind set.  I know that’s true of me.  I feel like I accomplished something when I can stand back and see a fully-functional, complete and whole project finished.

We become possessive of what we do and what we’ve made instead of giving that project back to God as an offering of worship.  Then, when someone else critiques or criticizes (constructively or not), we become defensive and argue why we we think our methods and our ideas are best.  While that may be true, we need to remember that we function within a body of leaders who are all working towards the same goal. Continue Reading…

Are you excited about what you’re doing?

I had someone pay me a complement recently that kind of blew my mind.  A leader mentioned to me that my opinion and ideas meant more because of how enthusiastic and excited I was about what I do.  Anyone who knows me, knows just how much I love church production.  My passion permeates who I am and how I serve.  It’s my calling, my element and my gift of worship given back to God for the furtherance of His Kingdom here on earth as well as in heaven.

How cool is that?  We get to influence people simply by living out what we’re passionate about and giving our all in the service of our Lord!

I just wanted to share that encouragement with everyone else who is in church production.   Continue Reading…

Breathe Out

 

If you’re sitting there reading this post right now, chances are- you’re breathing.  Your heart is beating…  And this post is starting to sound cliché already…but bear with me… :-)

Think about this:  When you breathe, your diaphragm contracts and moves in a downward direction causing your lungs to pull air in.  Once it enters your alveoli, (did you know you had one of those?) the oxygen in the air gets transferred into your blood stream supplying oxygen and blood to your heart before it gets pumped into the rest of your body.

When you breathe out, your diaphragm relaxes and air gets pushed back out carrying carbon dioxide, which is a waste product to your body.

We all know we need to breathe in order to survive.  So what happens when you hold your breath?  You’re holding that waste product in which also doesn’t allow your body to get the oxygen that it needs in order to sustain you.  You start to feel pain right?  And eventually, you are going to pass out.  It would be stupid to hold your breath for a long time.

So why do we do that spiritually?  Let me explain…

I don’t think there is a person out there who doesn’t want to live their life to the fullest.  Spiritually, the Holy Spirit of God is our sustenance.  It’s our spiritual breath of life.  But when we hold it in, it’s harmful.  This life that was gifted to us through God needs to be lived out.  So breathe out.

Another spin on that same thing is that there are blessings that God has given us but there are also things we need to let go of.  God won’t give us any more then we can handle with his strength, but there are some times we try to handle life on our own and there are times where we need to lay something down, let something go, or spiritually breathe out.

Maybe you’re holding onto something that you need to let go of.  Maybe that pain you are feeling or that situation that you’re going through right now is because you’re spiritually holding your breath even though you know you need to exhale in order to survive.

You need to breathe out sooner or later.  Passing out spiritually is a lot worse then passing out physically.

Building bridges and standing strong in church production

 

In Washington DC, we have a few bridges that get you in and out of the western side of the city.  The speed limits are relatively low even though they’re on a highway but people never do the speed limit.  It gets even worse during rush hour when everyone packs on there.  Everyone wants to get to where they are going. Think about the forces exerted on it from gravity, weight and temperature among many other factors.  The average person doesn’t think about the weight, but the architects and maintenance workers sure do!  It’s all held together by forces we cannot see, but ultimately, we feel the effects.

What we do in production is a ministry of building bridges.  We build bridges between our pastors, worship leaders, the worshippers, and ultimately to God.  That’s an incredible responsibility!  When we’re mixing, firing lyrics or lighting cues not only are we worshipping as we serve but the worship of everyone else is depending on us doing our ministry well so that there are no distractions.

The message is flowing through us.  There is so much mystery in just that.  It should convict us about our purity before God and prompt us to take care of thoughts or feelings that may not be honoring to Him.  I hope you understand the gravity of that statement…but I hope you see the great honor that we have in getting promote and communicate the message of Jesus Christ through what we do.  That’s the beauty of the bridges we build.

For anyone who has served or worked in church production, you know the feeling of being pulled a million different ways at the same time.  The worship leader decides to change the order of some songs and add a few slides that weren’t in there before.  He doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal because it’s only a few slides.  The pastor wants to add an extra sermon illustration and swap a video around and maybe add an extra graphic or scripture slide.  He doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal cause it’s only a few things here and there and they have the bulk of the material already…it’s not much to add in right?  Meanwhile, you’re still having a minor issue with an acoustic guitar that is buzzing and he’s getting a little frustrated because you aren’t making it happen quite as quickly as he would like.  After all, it’s just a few cables!  Any of these issues independently are not too big of a deal to fix.  But, all of them happening at the same time will typically stress out most church volunteers or even some staff members for that matter.  I’m all about making it happen and like anyone else who does production they will probably do all they can to make things happen week in a week out.  But when there are issues like this, stress and tensions can run high and people are people and sometimes they just react in ways they shouldn’t.  It doesn’t make it right though.

In my experience, part of being a bridge, involves getting walked on.  Sunday morning can get stressful…tensions can run high and it can get difficult to push forward and carry the weight of what is going on.  Maybe the problem you’re dealing with isn’t your fault or you are simply struggling with the weight you’re carrying.

Maybe Satan has knocked you down earlier in the week and you’re afraid that you aren’t strong enough or good enough to do the work of God.  And actually, that’s true.  You aren’t strong enough or good enough on your own.  That’s why we need Jesus.  We need His power and His strength.  We can’t walk into church ministry without it.  We are carriers of the message of Christ with the Holy Spirit living inside of us.  There’s great power in that.  If we try to depend on anything other then that, we will almost definitely come up short.

We may not see all the forces that hold everything together.  But that bridge certainly feels the pressure.  If it’s built well, it will stand.  If it is maintained well, it will continue to carry the weight.  And you will too week in and week out.  Stand strong.

 

Check out these other blog posts if you liked this one:

Depend on God, Do what you do well

Church Audio Problems

Killing Feedback

Mix with your EARS and not your EYES

 

 

 

Page 1 of 41234»

Switch to our mobile site