Minimizing Tech Distractions
Living in our world means being torn in different directions – whether by people, technology, work, or issues from the past week. Being part of Sunday morning is no different. It can be full of distractions. Church can be a place where refocusing perspective and change takes place, but it doesn’t happen without the prompting of the Holy Spirit and solid leadership in ministry. What are some of the issues we may come up against on Sunday mornings and how can we deal with them?
God bless you if you are a morning person, but I’m not. Tiredness makes it hard for anyone to focus on giving his or her best. As a leader, you must find a way to push past that tiredness. If you drag in the door half asleep on Sunday morning, don’t expect your volunteer team to make up for your lack of enthusiasm. Be proactive in greeting your production and worship team members – serving with you this weekend. You will see a significant difference in the overall performance and countenance of your team if you do.
Of course, being cheerful isn’t going to work for everyone all the time. Bad attitudes happen. And one bad attitude spoils the whole bunch. There isn’t one way to deal with bad attitudes. But they must be dealt with.
Ministry is about people. It’s the heart of what we do. Bad attitudes have no place in ministry.
As leaders we need to make ourselves available to our teams and support them. I can’t even begin to think about whether my mixing console is routed properly, lights are programmed well, or whether or not my gear will power on if I don’t first care about serving others and their needs.
(Usually, people will come around with gentleness, kind words, and affirmation.)
Even when we do our best to work through issues, sometimes problems escalate into an argument between volunteers or workers. Most volunteers have good intentions and mean well, but toes get stepped on, things don’t happen as planned, and the coffee doesn’t kick in fast enough. Walls go up and people get defensive.
Our ministry is one of building bridges; arguments do just the opposite.
Each situation is different, but encourage the parties involved to settle their dispute and help them find the solution to the problem. Notice, it doesn’t mean telling them what to do or how to do it. Allow them to take ownership of their ministry by helping them to reach the solution themselves. Only direct them and their thought process when necessary.
Issues like these can stack up quickly. If you combine them with sermon elements that may not be planned as well as they should be, tight turn around times, and the stress and pressure of getting things right, it can be a recipe for disaster. Production volunteers need to be focused as much as possible, because they are responsible for how the service is flowing. Distractions can easily result in missed cues, feedback, and incorrect lyrics (just to name a few). What was originally only a distraction for one person is now a distraction for every single person in attendance.
As a tech director, recovery is key. How quickly a volunteer can refocus, determine the issue, and react is important and should speak to how well you’re training and leading your team.
If it was a missed cue, was it simply a lack of attention or was it someone on stage grabbing the wrong mic? If it was an incorrect lyric, was it a misfire in the presentation or was it a worship leader directing his team to the wrong section of the song at the wrong time? Was it an issue that your team caused or a situation someone else created that you had to deal with on the fly? Make sure you assess each mistake and distraction so you can either deal with the issue or find a new way to execute that specific element.
Maybe the distraction isn’t something you have done wrong. How many times have you fronted complaints from church members or other ministry leaders about how you handled something? Some issues stem from personal preferences.
Some people love moving lights, gobo patterns, and haze, while others feel it makes it harder for them to focus on the message of the service. I love to mix pretty heavy-handed on the low-end side of my mix. But, if that doesn’t fit the style of music, the vibe of the worship band, or the atmosphere of worship, it’s wrong and it’s selfish.
When we cater to our own personal preferences rather than enhancing the message, we set ourselves up to worship a god and experience something that we created rather than what He requires. Consider the intentionality of your message and be sure that the creative elements you employ enhance and draw attention to the right aspects rather than take away. This will be different for each church and congregation, but it’s important to understand where you are and where you need to be.
Distraction is typical and common – especially in our culture. We are torn in so many directions – whether by choice or necessity. But we need to maximize the time we are given. It’s a blessing we can never get back. It’s our job as tech directors and leaders to help create that culture of focused service in our ministries. In doing so, it helps us become the conduit through which the message of Christ can flow freely for those willing to listen.