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When Production Becomes a Circus

When Production Becomes a Circus

What do you do when the production becomes a circus? You find yourself juggling ten different things, putting out fires, and fixing technical issues… only to have everyone questioning your decisions and “making sure you know” what’s going on. It’s easy for your patience to wear thin.

Let me paint a picture… It’s Sunday morning, service starts in ten minutes, and suddenly you’ve lost power to one of your projectors. You franticly go into troubleshooting mode—check the light indicators on the projector, power it off and on, and check the output of your computer and switcher. Since you run the computer to two screens and the other one is working properly, you quickly determine it must be the projector, cables, or distribution amp output.

Just then, the associate pastor walks in the booth and says, “Hey, do you know that the projector isn’t working? Have you tried restarting it? Has it done this before?” and continues to ask you several questions as you troubleshoot the issues. There are several responses you would like to give, but you realize you could be fired for any single one of them. So instead, you give him the death stare and keep working. Finally, you realize the VGA cable to the DA came loose and you plug it back in. Problem solved.

But, another problem has now come up. The associate pastor was quite offended because, as he was trying to help, you blew him off and ignored his questions as you were running around checking things. Has this every happened to you? I’m willing to bet it has. And maybe you’ve been oblivious to it. When the production devolves into a circus, it’s easy to go into survival mode and shrug everyone off. It’s happened to me numerous times. I wasn’t trying to be mean. But I definitely lacked patience in the emergency, and that’s what came out.

When the production devolves into a circus, it’s easy to go into survival mode and shrug everyone off.

I’ve found over and over again that people are just trying to help. They simply don’t understand what we do or how we do it. What’s even worse is if the person has some tech savvy in them, and they ask more detailed questions while you’re trying to troubleshoot. But feelings are real. And we can hurt them when we respond in a snappy way or by ignoring people.

We work with people who don’t understand our roles and are really just trying to help out. What I’ve learned is that people want to know that you’re “working on the problem” or “will give you an update as soon as possible”, and that the best way for them to help is to let attendees know “we are aware and will let you know soon”.

Because of my lack of patience, I so want to say a snappy remark like, “Umm, really? I didn’t know it had a power button,” or “You think you could do my job better?” Sometimes our mind works so fast that it drains us to have to slow down for the person who is simply trying to help.

We can’t afford to snap at people.

But we can’t afford to snap at people. If the church production turns into a circus, we can’t turn into the wild lions and tigers other people have to tame. We shouldn’t maul the people who are trying to help. We ask for grace and patience from others. Let’s give it to them in return. The production may have turned into a circus, but that doesn’t mean we need to act like clowns.

About The Author

Dennis Choy

Dennis has been with North Coast Church in Vista, California since 1995—currently overseeing the Communications, Graphics, Web, IT, Creative Video and Weekend Production Teams. He loves to share with and train other churches in hopes they don't make the same mistakes he did.

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