For many years, I thought I was just a facilitator of the ministry that was happening from the stage; that my job was simply to help make other people?s ministry happen. In reality, though, the part I play as a technical artist is equally important. Without the team that creates the graphics, mixes audio, or creates set designs, our service wouldn?t happen. We are worship leaders in our own specific way.[quote]We are worship leaders in our own specific way.[/quote]
So if I?m a worship leader and not just a button pusher, what can I do to make our worship experiences better? It?s not about pushing the buttons harder, and it happens well before Planning Center Online says the service starts.
Let?s take a look at 3 things we can do as technical artists to make our worship services better.
Know what the goal is.
I?ve been in plenty of churches where it feels like production is either done for its own sake or is done badly; both ways are distracting from the environment of worship. Without really knowing what the role of production in our services is, how can we add our gifts to the mix? If we don?t know what the environment should feel like, how do we know the role of lighting in our worship services? IMAG can be cool, but also really distracting?if we are doing IMAG, why?
Unless we take the time to really dial in the role of production in our services, we will either come in with too little production or too much. The chances that we would hit the target are almost nil. I had a small group leader in college who used to say, “If you aim at nothing, you hit it every time.? And ?If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.? If we don?t know what we are trying to do, we won?t succeed in making our services any better.
If you spend the time to figure out what it should sound like, or look like, or feel like, you can hold everyone on the team to that standard. With no standard, it?s hard for our production teams to succeed. And if production isn?t succeeding, lots of people in our congregations can tell.[quote]With no standard, it?s hard for our production teams to succeed.[/quote]
Prepare like crazy.
Once you know what the goal of production is in your worship services, it?s time to get to work.
The Boy Scouts had it right when they took ?be prepared? as their motto. From the perspective of production in the local church, we don?t have a chance to make our services good, let alone better, if we aren?t prepared. If we have a plan, we need to spend our week getting ready to execute that plan. If we are waiting for Sunday morning to roll around before we start the process, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Having a plan and then preparing like crazy helps us have a successful worship experience. Making sure everything is ready ? that the plan we talked through is ready to go. From a production standpoint, this means that everything we can check and make sure is working before everyone else arrives is key.[quote]Having a plan and then preparing like crazy helps us have a successful worship experience.[/quote]
Line checking the instruments to make sure?they’re?all plugged in right. Proofreading the lyric slides so they are ready to go. Walking through the lighting cue transitions to make sure nothing is distracting. All of these steps are necessary to ensure that our services happen without distraction. Unfortunately, nothing ever goes like you planned it. That leads to the last thing we can do to make our worship experiences amazing.
Be in the moment.
Once all the plans are in place, it?s time to lay them down and go with the flow. In a perfect world, the team on stage and the team backstage are on the same page. We all are starting from the same point. We?ve all made our plans around the same outcome. We have all prepared for Plan A. However, once things start actually happening, it is time to make the best decisions in the moment.
I love how Dwight Eisenhower put this:
?Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
As someone who loves to come up with a plan and then stick to it, it can be really difficult to pay attention to what is happening in the room during worship. Whether I?ve got my head buried in the mix or the cue sheet or the next camera shot; it is hard to not just be in the details we?ve planned for.
Getting as prepared as you can be and thinking through every possible scenario will give you the opportunity to do what you?re doing without thinking. This gives you space to think about what could happen. Instead of using all your brainpower to just barely hang onto the details, you are able to adjust to what is actually happening in the room.
If you don?t really know what is supposed to happen next, you aren?t ready for it. If you know what is supposed to happen next, you can tell when things aren?t going in that direction and make adjustments for it.[quote]If you know what is supposed to happen next, you can tell when things aren?t going in that direction and make adjustments.[/quote]
If I were honest, having a plan and preparing for the plan are some of the downfalls of production teams at many churches, which leads to not being fully present in each moment of the service. If we want production to support and enhance our worship experiences, we can?t just do what the cue sheet says.
If we hope for production to make our worship services better, we need to have a plan, then we need to prepare for that plan, and then…we need to let it all go and be in the moment that is actually happening in front of us.