Monday, April 25, 2011

Sometimes, you just gotta go with it...

Wow, what a great Easter Sunday!  The sun came up, I was breathing, my kids behaved well...oh, but this is my Tech Blog.  Sorry, that was one of those rambling thoughts...

Well, MOST things went well in the Tech Spectrum at church yesterday.  A few things glitched, but overall, I have to say it was the most RELAXED I have been about an Easter Sunday in years.

This is not a place I have come to overnight.  This is DEFINITELY NOT a relaxation that comes from weeks of planning, either.  This is a place that took years to get to.  The right people in the right place, and more of them than you need. THAT is how I got here.

As I said in my comments about this blog, one of the elements I'll talk (write) about here is Team-Building.  The reason I was able to relax and 'just go with it', even when tech stuff didn't work was my team.  My wonderful, fabulous, Technical Arts Team.  They are not always confident in themselves; sometimes they make mistakes; sometimes their equipment fails and makes them look bad.  They very rarely get praise when stuff works right, they always get dirty looks when things go wrong.  But they keep on coming back, and working hard to make our worship services great from the first announcement slide to the last 'Amen'

Let me tell you a little about how I got to this place:  Once upon a time, I thought it was best to have someone who knew as little about the system as possible.  "Just get someone who has little interest, and doesn't want to twist knobs" was my way of thinking.  Then, I had a gentleman volunteer who really took a keen interest in the sound.  He was already an electronics guy - a Ham Radio operator, of all things, too.  He took enough of an interest in the operation to read the manuals!  And what he did was not just run the sound system, he took a burden off of my shoulders.

BTW, for those waiting for my typical bit of useless trivial information: it is not a 'sound system'.  It is a "Sound Reinforcement System".
>SNIP< (And back to my rambling)

This was not without (virtual) kicking and screaming on my part.  I am, if nothing else, a control freak.  I like things done my way, and it's that or the highway, if you know what I mean.  But occasionally, I am...dare I say it...wr-wr-wrong!  This is something a musician should learn early.  If you do a recording, and you play all the instruments and you sing all the vocals, the whole thing sounds like you.  It's kind-of like water soup.  It may be good for a moment, but then you wonder where the flavor is.  What I learned here is that sometimes, it's good to let go, and let someone else add their 'flavor' to the mix (see that pun?!?)

Alright, enough rambling...get to the point!

So, what I am trying to say, dear reader, is that a Worship Leader cannot play an instrument AND sing AND run the projector AND mix the sound AND AND AND... it takes a team of people who are committed not only to the post they are in, but to the overall goal of drawing people's attention to Jesus.  AND, they at least like the Worship Leader.

It is technologically possible to do all of those things, especially today.  With the right software-hardware combination, one guy (or girl) can lead, sing backup vocals, play every instrument, fire-off the lyrics on a projector, and change the lighting.  It will be technically precise, everything work, and you can do it all from an iPad.  But no-one else gets involved in ministry.  Even Michael W. Smith, who has been writing music as long as many young worship leaders today have been alive, and is quite capable of pulling off a solo concert has a STAGE FULL of people with him.  Why?  Well, I don't really know why he does it, but I do it this way because the Holy Spirit, flowing through me, comes through in a different flavor that He does flowing through you.  And when those flavors are blended with several more, we find a great savory worship experience that we can enjoy, and (hopefully) blesses the LORD.

Oh, did I mention that you have to let someone else be in charge? At least in the Tech Team.  I have a Tech Director who's primary goal is to make sure everyone has what they need to do their job. Especially me, the worship leader.  Without this person, I can't relax and lead worship.  Without this director, I still have to be concerned about the tech of a worship service.  Now, being the control freak that I am, I am still concerned with Tech, but I don't have to be distracted by Tech.  And, the fact that we have just enough volunteers for a little redundancy helps too.

NOTE: If you go to River of Life and are reading this, and you aren't involved with another ministry - you should talk to me about joining the Technical Arts Team!

My advice, dear reader, is that if you have  a young worship leader that you are close to, have them read this, and posts to follow about team-building.  There are few joys greater than to be relaxed on the biggest Sunday of the year, see people saved and baptized, the largest crowd our church has seen, and to know that even if something doesn't go as planned, you can just go with it, and know that GOD is in control.

See you next time...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's this all about?

Yeah - what is this all about?  Well, you see, as a singer and musician (and yes, I do use those terms loosely), I find that I am afflicted with brain-mouth disease.  No, it's not the same one my daughter has where she says what she thinks; it's the one where I get home and say, "oh, yeah - I should have said it that way!" or "Man, I wish I hadn't said that!"

Some of us are simply better writers than speakers.  I am a classic example of this.  So, a blog is a way for me to put down all the thoughts I have concerning the topics I know best: Worship and Technology.  Of course, as the father of 11 kids, sometimes it will be about that, too.  And all of it will be tempered through the looking-glass of more than 25 years of experience in leading church music of all different varieties.  Oh, and 12 of those years have been spent at the same church.

Why now?  Well, I've been thinking about this for a couple of years, but just keep putting it off.  Then, I was on FaceBook yesterday, and my friend Karolyn had written her first blog about adoption (a subject she knows well, too).  BTW, you should check out her blog -

So, who knows what will be on these pages?  Only God, at this point. 

Stay tuned, boys and girls.  It's gonna be fun!