Hi. My name is Mike, and I?m a control freak. In unison, ?Hi, Mike??
Come on, admit, it, you?re a bit of a control freak too. It?s okay to like to have a sense of control. That?s why you stand behind the mixer, lighting console, or video switcher. You want to control how it sounds or looks. You have a good idea of what is right and you want to make it thus. In fact, when you go to another church?even your own church?you sit there in the congregation and imagine ways you?d do it?whatever it is?better. Being in control feels good. Being in control feels safe. Being out of control feels scary.
To some extent, that?s why we get paid, if we are paid?to control the technical elements of the service. And if we?re not paid to do it, well, we?re still expected to be in control. In fact, usually the only time anyone notices us is when something uncontrolled happens. Feedback, the wrong slide, a bad video punch, all the audience blinders at 100%. (Okay, that last one may have been intentional. )
And while I believe we should strive to do what we do with excellence and plan for as many contingencies as possible, there are going to be times when things are out of our control. And I would argue?as a compulsive planner?that it?s okay to be out of control sometimes. Here?s why:
It Stretches Our Faith
When we are in control, we depend on ourselves. When we are out of control, we depend on God. At least we should. The Bible tells us that Jesus holds all things together and keeps the stars and planets all spinning in the right place. So it stands to reason that He could also help us manage a small out-of-control tech situation. When we depend on Him, we come to see a bit more clearly that He does in fact hold our lives in His very capable hands. Our stress level goes down, our joy goes up, and somehow, the show goes on.[quote]When we are?out?of control, we depend on God. At least we should.[/quote]
I don?t even know how many impossible technical problems I?ve found myself in over the years. But I can recall very clearly the ones where I gave up control and trusted God to make it good. Shockingly (or perhaps not so), He did make it good. Each time, my faith grew and I found myself more eager and willing to trust Him the next time.
God Can Do Some Very Cool Things
We like to think we?re the reason the congregation had a great worship experience. It was our mix, our lights, our graphics. But have you ever been in a service where it?s all gone horribly wrong technically and the Spirit of God is so present you can almost see it? I know I?ve had weekends where the mix just did not come together. Or I totally botched the lyrics. But then I hear from people how powerful the service was and how much they connected with God.[quote]We like to think we?re the reason the congregation had a great worship experience. But what about when it all goes wrong?[/quote]
Sometimes, we find ourselves in a real pickle and we have no way out. Again, when we trust God to make it good, and He does, He often makes it significantly better than we could have even imagined. We recently bought a house in a new city. We had 5 days to find one, make an offer, and get the deal done before flying back to our old city. We were not in control. But God gave us a house that is better than I could have imagined for significantly less than I planned on paying. There is no way I could have orchestrated that. Because we chose to trust in Him through the process, it was almost completely stress-free (hey, I still like to plan a little?).
We?re Not Really In Control Anyway
Perhaps one of the biggest things I?ve realized in almost 30 years of following Christ is that I?m not in control. Not really, anyway. He may let me think I am from time to time, but in college, I said I?d never move to Cleveland. I ended up living there for 18 years. When I went into full-time ministry, I wanted to go somewhere warm. I ended up in Minneapolis. Which, to be fair, is warm a few months each year. I like to tell people that God let us choose to move to Nashville, but then I add, ?Well, He let us think we got to choose.?
When we?re in the midst of a service, God can move and do whatever He wants. He doesn?t always, but He can. The knowledge of that can and should be incredibly freeing. We might be in the middle of the biggest technical screw-up of our career, and He can take it and make it magical.
A friend was recently let go from a position at a church he held for a long time. That was no surprise to God. In fact, I believe it was God?s way of moving my friend to a new opportunity. He had somewhat maxed out there and needed a new challenge. But we don?t like to step out on our own, so God pushed him out the door. It may look different from a human perspective, but I firmly believe God was behind it.[quote]I know God is capable of fixing, course correcting, or redeeming any situation.[/quote]
Again, this is freeing. We don?t have to be stressed about getting it all right. If I?ve learned nothing else, I know God is capable of fixing, course correcting, or redeeming any situation. And when we give up control, we are free to experience His goodness.