#pastorfails: Worship Technology

January 3, 2017 | | Worship | Worship, Technology

We had two weeks to completely renovate the sanctuary. Our goal was a completely flexible worship space to accommodate traditional, blended and contemporary services to the new “worship center.” We were overhauling all our sound equipment, installing new lighting and making some visual upgrades. Did I mention that we only had two weeks?
We were moving a large, successful service to a new space and we needed the first week to be perfect.
All was on target. The platform was finished. Lighting was on schedule. It was around noon with one or two days left to go. The new sound system looked as if it would be done for the first and only contemporary band rehearsal in the new space. I was the most nervous about this step: we needed to have everything ready so that the band would be prepared.
So I was eating lunch and watching the two guys finish connecting all the cables and I had a terrible realization. We had not planned to install a monitor system.
The monitor system is how the band is able to hear one another. We had a big rock/pop band that needed a fairly sophisticated system to be able to hear everything we needed. The monitor system had completely fallen through the cracks. We had no plan. No budget. And the band was arriving in 6 hours.
We survived. I had several friends do me really big favors to get the basic monitors installed. The rehearsal that night was rough. Sunday morning was not our best. But the church didn’t close and the world continued to spin.
There are multiple systems or steps I could have taken to put us in a better place; but as I break into a nervous sweat even thinking back to that terrible afternoon, I try to glean several truths:

  1. We all mess up. We get it wrong. Welcome to serving in ministry, and congratulations for being able to be real and honest. From here, we can learn and get better.
  2. We all need help. I was the new guy and I was supposed to be the expert. But we could all use a little more feedback, or another voice of wisdom, or just a partner for the journey. Particularly as we incorporate more technology into worship, we could all use the voice of an expert or a second opinion.
  3. We don’t know everything. Technology is moving faster than we are. That’s scary for many of us who serve in the church. In worship and multimedia, pastors and leaders in our congregations don’t always know everything they need. I’ve done many systems updates, overhauls, new installations, renovations; and I still have a hard time keeping up with recent technology and capability in worship media.

We must always keep our eyes and ears open for best practices and the best ways to be bringing our experiences of worship to life: both for our regular attenders and for our visitors. Preparing for worship, through music, media, the arts or preaching is always better when we allow others to help.
As the Director of Worship for GNJ, now it’s my job to partner with churches doing this kind of work. If you’re thinking about multimedia upgrades, I would love to connect with you to ensure you get the right monitors (and everything else). Email me and let me know how I can help.  
Let me give you a word of encouragement as we begin the new year. Set big goals. Expect God to show up and move mountains. And as we do that, let’s also invite people along the journey with us. Let’s ask for help. Let’s be well-prepared. What huge goals do you have for this year that won’t be possible without someone else’s help?

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