The List Will Never Be Done

Photo courtesy of Michael Mandiberg

Photo courtesy of Michael Mandiberg

Get a group of TD’s together and it won’t take long for the discussion to shift to how busy we all are. We all have a seemingly endless list of projects and tasks that we need to work on, and the pressure we feel (either from internal or external sources) to get them done—preferably right now. I too was one of those TDs. Years ago, I walked into a building that needed every single system updated, upgraded or replaced. In every room in the building. It was a long list. I know many of you are in similar situations. I started thinking that if I worked really hard just for the first few months, I could get it all done. But I came to realize that’s simply not possible.

The truth is, the list will never be complete. 

That realization can either be frustrating or liberating, depending on how you choose to deal with it.

I decided to go with liberating. Here’s what I mean. Once I accepted the fact that the list will never be done, much of the pressure to get it all done right now is removed. I learned to be content knowing there will always be an endless list of tasks to accomplish, and getting them done will be a matter of prioritizing time and allocating budget. It really is that simple.

When someone told me something needs to be done, I either responded with, “It’s on the list,” or “I’ll add it to the list.” Depending on who made the suggestion, it may get put near the top or near the bottom. 

I used to feel like I needed to be some kind of super-TD—you know, one of the guys who have all their systems completely dialed in, nothing on the repair bench, all processes totally sorted out. These guys spend all their time working with volunteers and perfecting their mixes with virtual soundcheck. What I learned is that those guys don’t really exist; at least I’ve never met any. And I know a lot of TDs.

I know TD’s of big churches who have tech arts staffs bigger than my church staff, and I know TD’s of small churches who are also the IT/Communications/Office Manager. They all face the same issues. When I visit them at their churches, they all say, “Yeah, we’ve got to work on this or that...” 

Some time ago, I spent half a day with a great TD who moved into a brand new building recently. As we walked the facility, I learned his list of things to be done is longer than mine. And that’s in a brand new building! Even there, things didn’t go quite as planned, they ran short of time and had to jury-rig a few things just to get it working for opening weekend. And now they have a list; just like the rest of us.

The thing that God taught me in all this is that my worth and significance as a person is not dependent on how successful I am at clearing my to-do list. God doesn’t think less of me because I still haven't gotten around to cleaning up that tangle of wires behind the audio rack. Or sorted out that issue with the Receptor. Or figured out the IEM interference issues. God is calling me to rest and rejoice in my appointed tasks; tasks I’ll get done eventually.

So if you’ve been feeling inadequate because your to-do list is seemingly endless, relax. You are part of a large group of TDs who also have a long list of projects to work on. Chances are, regardless of how hard you work at it, that list will still be there. Do your best, then go home at night knowing you’ve still got something to work on tomorrow. And the next day. Consider it job security.

Roland