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Waking Up to Opportunities

Waking Up to Opportunities

I recently got to spend some quality time with some of my peers. It was a chance to learn from each other, encourage each other, and remind us being a technical director in the local church isn’t just for the insane.

As my peers each shared the amazing things happening at their churches, I became jealous of their situations. They seemed to have more technology resources than me. Their leadership supported them better. Production mattered more at their church than mine.

I understand that the grass isn’t actually greener, but it still got me wishing my situation were different: “Why can’t my worship leader be more like that?” Or, “I wish my pastor valued me that much.” And, “I wish I had volunteers that bought into the vision of production.”

As I descended further into despair, I asked myself: What’s stopping me from having all these things? Why couldn’t my situation be similar, or even better than these?

The answer was just to remind myself of a few things I firmly believe.

Embrace fully, who God made me.

In a room full of fellow TDs, it’s easy to feel appreciated and that what I think matters. In most everyday situations, I am the only one thinking like me, and the gap between how I look at a situation and how those around me approach it are almost at opposite extremes. I am the only person in the room looking at problems from my unique perspective.

I am the only person in the room looking at problems from my unique perspective.

When this is the case, it doesn’t take long to feel like I’m the odd man out or that my opinion doesn’t matter – since I’m the only one feeling it.  This is the wrong way to approach my role.

1 Corinthians 12 explains it this way:

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?

So often, I find myself in these verses. They seem like things I’ve agreed to, without anyone forcing them on me. Reading them, these concepts seem ridiculous. But I know I’ve believed those lies more often than I care to admit.

If I live my life like these are true, no wonder my situation isn’t what I want it to be. If I keep denying my unique role at my church, how can I hope to feel like God is using me?

If I keep denying my unique role at my church, how can I hope to feel like God is using me?

Paul, in 1 Corinthians, takes us past this feeling and closer to the way God designed my role to be:

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

For my situation to be all the God wants, I need to not only believe these verses, but also live them.

If the graphics aren’t on time, I should go after them.

If I want to say something, I should.

If the band isn’t ready for rehearsal, I’ll speak up.

“Stop with the crazy ideas already!”

Years ago, I got frustrated with our creative team because they came up with so many crazy ideas that seemed impossible. I didn’t care that we needed new ideas for our services. They were wearing me out! Didn’t they know I already have a full plate without having to solve their problems too?

But if people function how they were uniquely created to, it wouldn’t make sense for everyone else on the team to function that way also.

If people function how they were uniquely created to, it wouldn’t make sense for everyone else on the team to function that way also.

The non-stop idea generation used to drive me crazy. Can’t we just figure out how to do one thing and call it a day?

But now I realize one of the joys of my job is that we’re doing something new all the time. Without people constantly generating ideas, we will just do the same thing over and over again.  That’s boring.

Without people constantly generating ideas, we will just do the same thing over and over again.

Right now, one of the values of our creative team is to develop new, fresh ways to look at something we’ve all heard many times before. This doesn’t happen without people that God created to, guess what, create; people that can look at a blank page and not despair. This isn’t me, so without other people with this gift in the mix, we would just have great production without anything to support or make better.

Just like I need to embrace the role God created me to play, for the body of Christ to function properly, I need to embrace the reality that the people I work with were created to fill other roles – completely different than mine.

I might never fully understand their role. (Don’t creatives just sit in coffee shops and drink non-fat lattes and “create”?) And the creatives I work with might not understand my role. But our church needs us to fulfill our roles to the utmost.

Unity

For whatever reason, God chose to build His church with flawed people like you and me, and for us to work closely with other flawed people. Not only are we all messed up, but we also tend to come at most situations from completely different perspectives. We couldn’t be more different. Paul had something to say about this too:

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”  But God has put the body together [so] that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

We need to learn to not only work together effectively, but we need to support each other; to encourage each other – to fight for each other.

“And yet I will show you the most excellent way…”

So how do we practically do this – with our different functions and perspectives?

Paul goes on to talk about this in Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

If you asked someone to come up with the characteristics of a technical artist in the local church, they would not come up with these traits. But I’m called to reflect this list. You are called to reflect this list.

What would the relationships look like if you lived these out toward your teammates?  It’s easy to read this list and wish others treated you this way, but what about you? How would your situation look different if you kept no record of wrongs, or were more patient?

It’s so easy to wish our situations were different, or that people were different. But I only have control over my choices. These are my opportunities to wake up to.

About The Author

Todd Elliott

Todd is a writer, speaker and all around great guy in the world of church production. Formerly the Technical Arts Director at Willow Creek Community Church, he now strives to leverage his experience for the benefit of technical artists in the local church through coaching, blogging, and the First In Last Out Conferences, a gathering for technical artists in the local church.

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