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When it comes to the world of audio, video, and lighting, it seems like everyone is an expert. Especially in the church world, it seems like most people want to ?help? you do your craft better. It?s usually pretty easy to spot the folks who really don?t know their stuff, and it?s even easier to discount what they have to say. But when it comes to people who know something, who have experience in audio, video, or lighting, there are experts who can really help you improve your craft and there are experts who can derail you. Here?s five signs that the expert you?re talking to will help you and your ministry get better:

They know it?s about the mission, not the gear.

We?ve all gotten into those conversations with people who look down on what we?re doing because we don?t have the right mixer, camera, or latest fixtures. You may get a veiled compliment about how decent your art was despite your ?less than? equipment, but at the end of the day it becomes about what gear you need to ?do it right?.

A true expert doesn?t need the latest and greatest gear to make great art. Sure, it can help make it better and it certainly helps make it easier, but it?s more about the heart and talent behind the tools than the tools themselves. They focus on where you?re trying to get, and how you can do it with any tool available. A true expert, one who can invest in you and help you get better, won?t focus on making your tools better but in making you better.[quote]A true expert doesn?t need the latest and greatest gear to make great art.[/quote]

They?re more interested in learning than being right.

Spend time talking with 10 experienced audio engineers and you?re likely to get 11 different opinions on how they prefer to accomplish any given task. But some experts aren?t content to let other people have their ways of doing things; they fight to convince others their way is the one right way. The true experts aren?t the ones that dig in when they hear different opinions. They?re the ones who listen to how others approach their craft and see if there are nuggets to learn.

Being right never creates the best art. Being right can do good work for sure, but in order to be great, a true expert knows they have to continually learn and grow what they know in order to keep producing even better work.[quote]Being right never creates the best art.[/quote]

They know there?s more than one right way to get it done.

Similar to unhelpful experts who insist on being right are those who insist there is only one way to accomplish something. Art is subjective, and how successful art is depends on the satisfaction of the artist with their work and the ability of the art to resonate with an audience. There are no absolutes in either one, and great art can engage an audience in many different forms. Why do you think we have so many remix tracks of popular songs? Often a different approach can make your art even better, at least for some audience members. But a true expert knows there are lots of ways to approach what you want to do, and while they may have their favorites, they won?t push you into one ?right? way.

They don?t have to tell you how good they are.

Ever spend time with an expert who talks endlessly about how good they are or how bad other artists are? I am ridiculously blessed to have met and spent time with some top audio and lighting engineers, some of whom work for Grammy award winning artists. You know what nearly all of them have in common? They?re humble, willing to share what they?ve learned over the years, and rarely talk about themselves. But when they step behind a console, there?s no mistaking the talent and experience they have.

They know it?s all about people.

I once heard the audio engineer for a well-known band (in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) talking to a class. He realized years ago that there were plenty of people who could mix better than he could. But no one was going to take better care of the band than he would, so he?s managed to stay employed by them for decades. The lesson here is simple: Relationship trumps talent any and every day. The old saying is it?s not about what you know, but who you know. And it?s absolutely true. A true expert, someone you want to listen to and learn from, will live that out in their life and it will be obvious that they value the people they work with above everything else.[quote]Relationship trumps talent any and every day.[/quote]

So whether you?re looking for that expert consultant to serve your church on your next audio, video, or lighting project, or you?re a new worship pastor trying to decipher the true expert level of your new lead volunteer, these keys will help you distinguish between a true expert and one who just seems that way.

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One reply on “Is that ?Expert” in Your Church Actually an Expert?”

This is great, Duke. A good steward is humble, patient, and passionate about the higher purpose – not his/her ego. It’s a wonderful reminder that we are to be known by our fruits!

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