Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: November 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

Input Sheet Template

The other day I tweeted a reference to my new semi-automated input sheet. There was a loud enough cry that others may be interested, so I thought I’d write it up here. It started off life as an Excel spreadsheet that a predecessor of mine came up with. While I may have done the basic format a little differently, this one works perfectly fine (and it’s a lot of work to create from scratch). I prefer Numbers to Excel, so I opened it there and went to work. What I set out to do is eliminate as much double-entry as possible. I learned this back in my database development days; enter the data once, let the software do the rest. Here are a few highlights.

The first thing I did was standardize our board layout. This was already pretty much in place, but I made some tweaks to it so that the inputs page properly on both the M7 and monitors and the PM5D at FOH. In the past, we’ve had stereo inputs spread across multiple fader banks, and that didn’t make sense to me. I also set it up so that stereo inputs pair odd to even on our $65K FOH board (it’s a sad testament to Yamaha that the $20K M7 can pair either way; but I digress…). Once the standard input list was built, it was a matter of pre-populating values in drop-downs.

We have basically 4 drummers, for example. Rather than type their name in, I simply made a drop down for ch. 1. Then, I made ch. 2-10 equal the value of the cell above. Change the value once, software changes it the other 9 times. Sweet!

Ch. 2=Ch. 1, Ch. 3=Ch. 4, etc.

Ch. 2=Ch. 1, Ch. 3=Ch. 4, etc.Next up, we typically have a percussion or woodwinds player. Percussion takes 3 channels, woodwinds takes 2. To make sure things pair properly, I chose the middle channel of the three for my drop-down.

What it looks like in Woodwinds mode.

What it looks like in Woodwinds mode.Select Percussion from the drop-down…

One click away...

One click away…And presto 11 other cells change instantly.

What it looks like in Percussion mode.

What it looks like in Percussion mode.I accomplished this little feat with a series of IF,THEN statements. Here’s an example:

Similar formulae populate all these cyan cells.

Similar formulae populate all these cyan cells.

Basically, the Mic Type field of Ch. 22 is looking at the Instrument field. If it sees “Percussion,” it enters “e904.” If it doesn’t, it enters a dash. I have these all over the spreadsheet.

The other thing I did was to auto-enter as many recurring names as possible. For example, in our monitor mix section, I’m trying more and more to use the same mixes for the same things. Once we get there, it’s a simple matter to make the musician field look back to a previous field and enter the name, like so:

Mix 9 Name looks back to who's playing drums. And so on...

Mix 9 Name looks back to who’s playing drums. And so on…

It’s not too hard to do any of this; the hardest part is figuring out the standard layout, then determining what you can automate. Once you get started, it’s easy to automate a ton of it. Even making a few tweaks to the template this week, it only took me about 5 minutes to build the entire input list. And who can’t use more time in their day?

Here are links to the two files:

Numbers Version (requires iWork ’09)

Excel Version (requires Office 1998 or higher)

In a cruel twist of fate, it appears that Excel doesn’t support drop-down menus. It does, however, appear to be really easy to insert a clip-art photo of a duck. Just one more reason to like iWork…

Update June 29, 2013: 

I’ve added to and revised our input sheet pretty significantly in the past few years. I wrote another series of posts, and did a video showing how we use the new versions. You can find them here: 

Input Sheets Pt. 1

Input Sheets Pt. 2

 

  

A Little Perspective

Last Sunday, Pastor Ken taught from Luke 12, the Parable of the Rich Fool. It was a message that came at a good time for me. I had just spent the entire previous week (working through both my days off and a holiday) getting new system processing in. I thought it sounded a ton better; however, by Saturday night, I had heard various criticisms of the new sound. Some thought it was too middy, others thought it was too muddy. Still others noticed that you could really hear the reflections off the back wall now.

By the end of the night, I was pretty discouraged. But as I thought more about the message, my discouragement has been displaced by gratitude. Ken shared some things that I already knew, but was glad to be reminded. For example, if you make more than $50,000 per year, you are wealthier than 98% of the rest of the world. That’s pretty staggering. As I thought about that, I realized that as a church with a PA that even has system processing, we are probably in the top 5% of churches worldwide. The fact that we have musicians and sound engineers who know enough to have an educated opinion about the sound bumps us up even higher. So while it may not be everything we’d ever want, it’s a whole lot better than what most are dealing with.

And that’s the rub.

See, we always tend to compare ourselves with the wrong end of the spectrum. We’re not happy with something in our church, and we’re quick to point out another one that has more or better. Take our PA. We have the wrong desks feeding the wrong speakers that are hung improperly, in a room that lacks any type of decent acoustic treatment. It’s easy to say, “Man, if only we had the same room that XYZ church has,” and totally forget that most of the churches in driving distance of ours would be amazed at our system. When I think about that, I can scale that illustration to every single church I’ve ever been a part of.

Back in the late ’80s, I was part of a small church plant. After several years of using the 70 volt ceiling speakers of the middle school cafeteria we were meeting in, we finally saved up $2,000 to buy a powered mixer and some speakers on sticks. It was a vast upgrade. I’ve been thinking about that this past week, having just spent nearly three times that amount on new processors to improve a system that I’m not happy with. I mean, really…

So while it’s easy to compare our situation to someone else or some other church that has more, perhaps we should look the other way. Consider the others who have less (and there are far more of them, no matter how big or small your current church or income is). Suddenly, it’s a lot easier to be thankful.

And an amazing thing happens when we replace envy and an ungrateful spirit with one of gratefulness and gratitude; suddenly, the stuff we have doesn’t look so bad.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t always be looking to improve when we can. However, it’s important to keep the proper perspective. When we’re thankful and grateful for what we have, we can continue to tweak and get better without feeling like we’re not measuring up. Expand this thinking out to musicians and volunteers and you can see where we end up: Thankful–for whatever we have.

So that’s my thought process this Thanksgiving. I’m trying to re-train my brain to not compare myself with the 2% of the world that has more than me, but with the 98% that has less.

In closing, I’d like to say that in addition to being thankful for my family, my church and of course, my Savior; I’m also thankful for you, kind reader. Your comments and e-mails are so encouraging and I have truly enjoyed getting to know some of you over the last two and a half years.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Heil Drum Mic Kit Pt. 2

The other day, I led off with the kick mic (PR-48) and the snare and hat mics (PR-22). Today, we’ll tackle the rest of the kit, starting with the toms.

Heil PR-28 Heil PR-28PR-28 Tom Mic

As mentioned previously, the PR-28 shares the same capsule design with the PR-20 and PR-22. The mic body, however, is completely unique. The 28 uses a dual suspension subsystem to keep the capsule isolated from the mic body. When positioning the mic, it can be a little disconcerting when you grab the head because it moves around in the body a bit. At first you think it’s broken, but then realize it’s simply shock-mounted. It’s a great concept, one that I think leads to the incredibly tight sound they produce.

Like the rest of the Heil mics, the toms just sound like toms. There is enough crack on the attack to place in the mix, with plenty of body to finish out the sound. They don’t over-resonate or sound boomy, either. As a cardioid mic, they reject 35 dB at the rear so you don’t get a ton of cymbals in your tom channels.

These mics are very small and compact, and when paired with the HH1 mount, can easily be kept out of harm’s way while still being positioned for optimal sound.

The HH1 is a very flexible and useful tom mic mount. The HH1 is a very flexible and useful tom mic mount.As much as I like the PR-28, the HH1 is a real star. It’s much easier to use and adjust than most clip-on mic mounts. It’s continuously adjustable with in it’s range of movement, so you don’t have to try to balance out various swivel angles to get the mic where you want it.

The HH1 can mount to a drum edge or a mounting ring. The HH1 can mount to a drum edge or a mounting ring.It doesn’t seem like they would be secure; however, we’ve not had one move. I will be making up some custom cables with right-angle XLRs to keep the profile down. That should make a pretty sweet package.

The PR-30B looks very stealthy as an overhead mic. The PR-30B looks very stealthy as an overhead mic.PR-30 on Overheads

Like the high-hat, I’ve always used condenser mics on overheads. For some reason, I always believed they were the only way to get nice, crisp cymbal sounds. And while I’ve often gotten overheads to sound good, I’m pretty much blown away by the PR-30. Even two weeks ago, before I replaced the processors and re-eq’d the room, these mics stood out as winners. The clean, clear sound they captured made several of us look at each other and say, “What the…those mics are amazing!” Now, with a well tuned PA, I’m still impressed.

We have some really good drummers at Coast. This past weekend our drummer was doing a lot of creative work on the cymbals. Hitting them in different spots, tapping the edges with the sticks, hitting them with his hands…all of it came through perfectly clear. I think that’s the best word to sum these mics up–clear. The cymbals sound like (and I’m saying this a lot in this review, I know) cymbals. If you walk up on stage and listen, then go out in the house and listen, they sound the same–with no EQ on the board (save some high pass to keep the toms toned down).

And that’s really the story. Reading back over this and the last post, it sounds a bit like a manufacturer’s write up. But honestly, I’m really impressed (and I bought the mics with our own money, by the way). I never would have believed dynamic mics could sound so good on cymbals, which probably speaks to my own ignorance and “upbringing” than anything else. However, on almost every concert video I watch, I see condenser mics as overheads, so I guess I’m not alone. And I’m not saying those can’t sound good. On the other hand, I’m so happy with the PR-30 and 22, I don’t know that I’ll go back.

My goal in live sound is to faithfully reproduce the sounds coming off the stage. I feel Heil has given me some great tools to do that. The fact that I am using almost no EQ on the mics at all says a lot (especially when you look at the previous mic’s EQ curves). They just work, and they’re priced reasonably. Check them out at Heil Sound.

Heil Drum Mic Kit Pt. 1

The complete kit. Even comes with a very James Bond-like case. The complete kit. Even comes with a very James Bond-like case.Two weekends ago, I picked up some new mics for our drum kit. We had been experimenting with some demos over the last few months, and I was convinced enough to place an order with my dealer. When I went to pick them up, he gave me the HDK-8 which I initially thought to be more than I needed/wanted. The HDK-8 contains the PR-48 Kick mic, two PR-22 mics for snare and hat, three PR-28 mics for toms and two PR-30s for overheads. They also throw in three of the very unique HR-1 mounts for the tom mics.  I actually just wanted a PR-48, a PR-20 and three PR-28s. I have always used condenser mics for overheads and hat and figured I would continue to do so. My dealer convinced me to try these. I’m glad I did. For this part of the review, I’ll focus on the kick, snare and hat. Later, we’ll deal with the toms and overheads.

Heil PR-48 Kick Drum mic. Heil PR-48 Kick Drum mic.PR-48

I’ve used a PR-40 in the past for a kick mic and was suitably impressed. The 48 builds on that and is actually a better kick mic in many ways. First, the housing is designed to fit inside a kick. The XLR jack is angled for easy connection. The mic is very compact and fits in a drum well. Finally, it’s shock mounted so it’s very quiet. The frequency response is well tailored to a kick drum and as a result, the EQ on the desk was nearly flat.

We had been using a combo of a Shure Beta 52 and Beta 91 previously. I have found with the PR-48 we get the best attributes of both those mics in a single channel without the negative characteristics of the Shure mics and without the phase issues that you get from multiple mics in a kick.

The PR-48 gives a very meaty thump sound with just enough beater “click” to help it stay put in the mix. I also find we get a lot less snare drum bleed than we used to. Personally, I really like the way it sounds. In our PA, it sounds like a kick drum. Which is pretty much what I want.

PR-22 on Snarepr22

I had planned on using a PR-20 on the snare before I got these two in the kit. The 20 and 22 share the same capsule (along with the 28 for that matter). However, the 22 includes an internal Sorbothane shock mount system to reduce handling noise. This is more important when used as a vocal mic; however, when you clip a mic to a snare drum, you’re going to get some vibrations traveling up the  mount into the mic. We demo’d the 20 on a snare and it sounded very good. I think the 22 sounds great.

Again, it sounds like a snare. There’s a good balance of body and attack to the sound, with just enough crack to help it stand out. It’s not at all bright or brash, however. The mic will handle 148 dB SPL of sound, so it’s unlikely to overload on even the loudest hits. As a cardioid mic, it has 40 dB of rear rejection. This means you get a lot less hat and cymbal bleed in your snare track. I’ve normally gated my snares pretty tightly, but didn’t feel the need as much with this one.

Our only complaint so far is that the clip it came with seems more suited for use on a vocal mic than a snare mount. It tends to slide down out of the clip toward the snare unless we tape it in place. Otherwise, it’s a winner.

PR-22 on Hat

This is where I feel like I’m breaking new ground. I’ve always used condenser mics on the brass. Though now that I think about it; I’ve not often been that happy with the sound. We previously used a AT Pro37R (and I’ve used Rode NT-5s, SM-81s and a bunch of other pencil-type condensers) and it always sounded thin, buzzy and brassy to me. The 22 on hat was a revelation. The high hat finally sounds like a high hat in the PA. Gone is that annoying ssst-ssst sound we used to get. It’s now replaced with a full, rich sounding set of cymbals.

Bob Heil is a strong proponent of dynamic mics, believing they can be made to sound just as good, if not better, than expensive condenser varieties. On this point, I have to agree. The 22 on hat sounds fantastic. Better, in fact, than anything I’ve ever used. Keep in mind my experience is not exhaustive, but I have used a few. This one beats them all.

So that’s the first half of the kit. Next up, we’ll tackle the toms and overheads. That’s where the fun really begins!

Wireless Mic/RF Webinar Coming This Thursday

It’s that time again, Dave, Jason & I will be hosting another TokBox webinar this Thursday night, 10 PM EST, 7 PM PST. We will be talking through such topics as the 700 MHz spectrum, frequency coordination, dealing with wireless mics and IEMs, and anything else we (or you) can think of.

Follow us on Twitter or check back here at the blog for a TokBox link a few minutes before we start. We’ve been looking for alternatives to TokBox since we know many have had problems getting in as it fills up. So far, we have not found a good solution. Rest assured, we’re working on it, and will record the session so you can listen later.

If you have a question you’d like us to address, please leave it here in the comments section and we’ll make sure to tackle it. Or if you want to provide some sponsorship funding so we can broadcast these with a more robust platform, let me know. Always happy to to talk about that! mike [at] churchtecharts [dot] org.

#InstallationFail

Today, we’re starting a new series: #InstallationFail. It’s been inspired by the many, many instances of bad installation practices I’ve seen throughout the years. I’ve been taking pictures and cataloging these for quite some time, and I figured it’s time to share them with the world.

Now, I should point out I’m not publishing these to make anyone feel bad. Though some of you should feel bad for some of these installations. But that’s not the point. The point of this series is to show you how not to do things. My thinking is that many bad installation practices are repeated because someone saw it done that way before and no one told said person it was wrong. Surely, if you knew it was wrong, you wouldn’t do it this way… right?

In that spirit, here we go. Our fist installment is a run of Cat-5 cable. The cable comes up from a lower floor into a pull box; and it comes up in a conduit. That’s where things get weird. I’m not sure if they found pulling the cable through the conduit just too dang much work or what, but instead of continuing on out through the conduit at the top of the box, they punched through the side of the box and tie-wrapped to the conduit. I’m not kidding.

Easier than running through the conduit? Perhaps. Correct? Uh, no. Easier than running through the conduit? Perhaps. Correct? Uh, no.Now, there is a proper way to bring cable in and out of a box without using conduit. Cable clamps and bushings are two such options. Apparently, neither were handy when this cable run was done. And in case you’re wondering what might be wrong with pushing cable through a box in this manner, take a closer look from inside the box.

See those nicks in the insulation? They'll get worse with time as the building vibrates. See those nicks in the insulation? They’ll get worse with time as the building vibrates.Those sharp edges on the box will gradually cut through the cable as the building vibrates. It may take a while, but the wire will eventually be compromised. They also pulled rather tight, which puts pressure on the cable, another no-no.

Finally, after continuing up the outside of the conduit, the wire goes through a fire-rated wall; a big no-no. This is the kind of stuff that will get you shut down if you have a fire inspector with a limited sense of humor.

There are proper ways to go through a fire-rated wall. This is not one of them. There are proper ways to go through a fire-rated wall. This is not one of them.This Installation Fail has a lot going for it (perhaps more correctly, not going for it). The sad thing is that it was installed by a company that does cable installation. Meaning, this was not the work of some well-meaning but uninformed volunteers. Nope, this was a “professional” job. And frankly, that irritates me.

If you have some great pictures of #InstallationFail, please send them along. I will not name names or reveal where they came from. This is a safe place. However, if you recognize your work here, perhaps it’s time for a skills upgrade…

Why I Use Rechargeable Batteries

There was significant discussion on the CTDRT e-mail list the other day about the use of batteries for wireless mics. Many people suggested different places to get great deals and which ones they use. I suggested using rechargeables instead. That met with some resistance, much of it centered around a bad experience.

I’ll say a the outset, I completely respect that view (and moreover, have a tremendous amount of respect for the people who hold those views). With that said, and at the risk of sounding argumentative (and I’m not really trying to be), here is why I use rechargeable batteries. It’s really a philosophical decision I made a long time ago, and only refined it since.

We’ve All Been Burned

I think it’s fair to say we’ve all been burned by rechargeable batteries. I would dare say I have more experience using them than most (consistent use for the last 4 years), and yes, I’ve had them go out on me. However, I’ve also had alkalines die. For that matter, I’ve had wireless mics act up. I had a $600 DPA headset mic crap out during a sermon. Heck, I’ve had wired mics fail (after someone rolled a piano over the cord). Does that mean I no longer use any of those devices? No. I’ve learned what caused the failure, and found ways not to repeat it.

We all use rechargeable batteries every day. Cell phones, car batteries, cordless phones, the list goes on. We all know we can’t leave the car lights on for 16 hours and expect the car to start. So we don’t. The same holds true with rechargeable batteries in wireless mics. If we don’t ask them to do things they can’t they won’t disappoint us.

They Do Save Money

Rechargeable batteries are going to save you money. How much depends on how you use them. I’ve been at churches that spend an incredible sum of money each year on disposable batteries, often in the thousands of dollars. Switching to rechargeable cells costs a few hundred at most, and you’re pretty much done for a few years. I’ve found I buy batteries to replace the ones that walk away or are accidentally thrown out. Once I’ve made the investment in chargers, my ongoing costs are well under $100/yr.

However, that’s not why I use them.

It’s About Stewardship

Though I don’t mean stewardship of dollars. God’s not broke. Spending or saving $500, 1,000 or even 3,000 on batteries a year isn’t going to make or break the Kingdom. However, consider how much waste we generate with disposable batteries. I’m sure we all have a bucket or box in our equipment room that is overflowing with used batteries. By itself, it doesn’t seem like much. But combine that with 100, 500, 1,000 or 2,000 other churches, and pretty soon, you have a mountain of trash. And it’s not good trash. Add to that the energy consumed in mining the minerals, transportation, manufacture, packaging, transportation again, disposal and you have a pretty large (and dirty) carbon footprint.

Now again, you can make the case that in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small drop in a very large bucket. And perhaps that’s true. But is that a good reason to not change our behavior? I can’t fix the problems with our planet’s environment on my own. However, I can make a simple change that will help a little bit. If everyone did that, a little bit turns into a lot. Then we start looking for other ways to save (eg. my crusade for fluorescent and LED lights).

Whether or not you consider making the switch is entirely up to you. I just know that for me, personally, I am willing to make some adjustments to my production process to make a difference, however small.

If all that doesn’t sway you, consider this: Cirque du Soleil has been using rechargeable batteries in their wireless mics for several years now. For whatever that’s worth.

When Things Go Horribly Wrong

Anyone that follows me on Twitter probably knows we had some drama on Sunday. In case you missed it, here’s the skinny. Everything was fine on Saturday. In fact, we put up some new drum mics and kept commenting on how great they sounded. Sunday morning, I came in, flipped on the system and started tweaking various effect settings while the band rehearsed. I though they sounded a bit quiet, but at first chalked it up to vocal conservation. But then I started pushing the system, and it didn’t get much louder.

I grabbed my laptop and headed for the floor. Sure enough, no amount of push on the DCAs would get the level up. Finally we unplugged the front fills and discovered our main boxes were not running at all. This was about 15 minutes before doors. I started checking the patches, mutes, DCAs and everything else I could think of. My associate TD ran back to the amp room and saw no signal hitting the Soundwebs. We had signal on everything else the mixer should be sending out the stereo bus, so I asked him to re-boot them. We then got signal in, but no signal out. At about 8:50, I ran down to meet with my boss and the Sr. Pastor. I filled them in on what was happening, and we came up with a plan. Our Pastor did a quick announcement at the front of the service letting people know we were having problems and to enjoy worship anyway. The band then started the service.

For the first song set, Gary (my Assoc.) and I poured through the system looking for something simple to fix. I was twittering, texting and calling people who are more familiar with the PM-5D than I am. We didn’t hit on anything. When Pastor got up to preach, I went back to the amp room and looked around some more. I ended up hooking a powered speaker up to the input of the Soundweb to verify signal. Sure enough, we were getting signal in, just not out. The Soundweb had finally died.

Between the 9 and 11, we set up some JBL Eons in the corners of the room and ran worship that way. The fact that it didn’t sound too bad (aside from being horribly directional) may hinder our efforts to acquire a new PA. However, we made it through. So that’s what happened. What did we learn?

It Pays To Stay Calm.

Even though the pressure was on, everyone stayed calm. No one started shouting, no one go overly stressed; everyone just went to work solving the problem. And that was huge–especially to our Sr. Pastor. I really believe that because the tech team was calm he was able to stay calm.

Remain Solutions Focused

Earlier in my career, I would have been very frustrated and angry at this event. I would have blamed the equipment, the guy that installed, the weather… However, with time comes (hopefully) maturity. And this time around, I tried hard to focus on this simple thought, “What happened and how do we fix it?” When I told my boss and our pastor that we lost the main speakers, I put it this way, “The mains are out. I don’t yet know why, but we’ll figure it out and do the best we can.”

Once we figured it out, we came up with a temporary solution and then ran 3 scenarios for permanent ones. No excuses, no blaming, just solutions. That goes a long way toward building credibility with leadership.

Teamwork and Crowd-sourcing For the Win

Both my local team and extended network of friends helped solve the problem. When we first suspected an issue with the console, I texted a friend who works a lot more on the 5D than I have (thanks, Daniel!), and called our main FOH engineer. I twittered about it and had a dozen suggestions/responses in about 10 minutes. When we made the diagnosis and were brainstorming temporary solutions, it took 5 of us (me, my boss, my assoc. TD, our monitor engineer and the keys player) to come up with a good way to handle the 11 AM service. Now, any one of us could have come up with that on our own, but the five of us working together did it in about 30 seconds.

Remember too, that sometimes, this stuff just happens. There’s nothing you can do about it. When you have a major equipment failure, don’t blame yourself–come up with a solution. Also, resist the urge to do an, “I told you this would happen,” even if you have, in fact, been telling everyone this would happen. That doesn’t win points. Solutions are what will raise your credibility score, not blame fixing. Consider major failures an opportunity to move your plan forward. And always remain gracious.

Taking a Break

This past weekend, I did something I’ve not done in several years. I took the weekend off and simply went to church with my family. My daughter has been asking if I will ever sit with them in church again, and had just about given up hope. I’ve been afraid to do it, but having successfully pulled it off once, I can tell you it will become a regular occurrence.

Most of the tech guys I know are a lot alike. We’re workaholics (or recovering workaholics), and we feel we need to be there each weekend–even if just for moral support of our team. It’s our job, and we just need to do it. The problem is, when we go months, or years without taking a weekend off and just experiencing church with our families and friends, some bad things happen. Here are a few things I observed by taking a simple, single weekend off.

I Experienced Worship the Way the Congregation Does

This is a big issue. Often times, we techies can get so accustomed to life in the tech booth, we forget what it’s like to be in the congregation. For me, I heard things differently, saw things anew and experienced some things I hadn’t before. Being out “in the pews” changed my perspective and re-ordered some of my priorities.

It was also nice to have some time of actual worship without worrying about the sound, lighting and video cues (OK, I confess, I did spend some time mentally critiquing the mix–I still have a ways to go). I was able to experience the results of my team’s hard work and planning first hand. They did a great job and worship was wonderful. It’s good to be reminded of that once in a while.

I Was Reminded I’m Not That Important

This is something else I need to be reminded about. Again, a lot of tech guys I know (myself included) tend to be martyrs. We go way above and beyond because we think we’re the only ones who can keep the train on the rails. Personally I find it refreshing to be reminded that it’s possible that church can go on without me there. And it can even be great. I only received 1 text and 1 call the entire weekend; both issues were minor.

My team is top-notch and can easily handle the weekends without me. Even if yours isn’t (or you don’t feel like they are), give it a shot. They may surprise you.

My Soul Was Restored

This was the biggest surprise. I completely underestimated how absolutely refreshing it was to be off for a weekend. Since my normal weekend is close to 16 hours (almost 2 full workdays), I actually took 2 days off. The fact that it came on the heels of WFX week (which was rather draining to an introvert), was a both a bonus and genius. Just being off on Saturday was restorative. By Sunday, I was feeling great and was more excited about my life, God’s plan and the future of Coast Hills than I have been since my first few weeks here. And I’ve only been here 3 months. I’m so glad I didn’t wait a year or two like I have in the past.

I think there is something that happens in us when we just keep working every weekend. Slowly, our enthusiasm for our jobs, ministry and church is drained from us. We need to take a weekend off here and there to have that restored. Our tanks need to be refilled. I honestly didn’t think it would be this big a deal, but it was.

In light of that, I am going to make this a quarterly event. I will sit down with my boss this week and figure out which weekends I’m going to take off over the next 12 months. I’ll shoot for weekends after busy seasons, but try very hard to keep the intervals around 3 months. My goal is simple: To be as excited about serving the Body at Coast Hills 5 years from now as I was the day I stared. I truly believe the only way that can happen is if I regularly take weekends off.

What about you? What is your weekend off routine?

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