Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

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?

18 Comments

  1. jblasongame@gmail.com

    I have the same difficulty in just sitting in service during worship. My mind keeps going back to sound-guy mode. Rather than worshipping I find I dissect other peoples mix so that I know how to compliment them on their good work. Taking a week off, that’s not the hard part. Mentally letting go for a week completely? That’s tough.

  2. jblasongame@gmail.com

    I have the same difficulty in just sitting in service during worship. My mind keeps going back to sound-guy mode. Rather than worshipping I find I dissect other peoples mix so that I know how to compliment them on their good work. Taking a week off, that’s not the hard part. Mentally letting go for a week completely? That’s tough.

  3. blubolt@gmail.com

    We have done that a few times this year (even though it leaves the team without a rhythm section – small church problem) but my marriage and my family would suffer far worse than the body ever did if I don’t take that time off. I have a Priority List that I follow:

    God

    Family

    Work

    Church

    I know that all of those are intertwined in one way or another and at times they shift position in how they affect the others, but those Top 4 really help me decide how to order my life and honor The Father.

  4. blubolt@gmail.com

    We have done that a few times this year (even though it leaves the team without a rhythm section – small church problem) but my marriage and my family would suffer far worse than the body ever did if I don’t take that time off. I have a Priority List that I follow:

    God

    Family

    Work

    Church

    I know that all of those are intertwined in one way or another and at times they shift position in how they affect the others, but those Top 4 really help me decide how to order my life and honor The Father.

  5. kdunlop@gmail.com

    I’m at a church of about 2,000. We started this year with each of the 3 creative arts staff taking 1 weekend off a month. There are some months it might not happen, but this has been the biggest blessing of my ministry experience. I try for some to be with family and others to use for traveling to a different church to experience their services.

    It’s great to know I’m not needed. We have been encouraged to be volunteer run, so now I just fill-in for missing positions on the weekend. God is doing great things and I have such a wonderful staff of volunteers each weekend!

  6. kdunlop@gmail.com

    I’m at a church of about 2,000. We started this year with each of the 3 creative arts staff taking 1 weekend off a month. There are some months it might not happen, but this has been the biggest blessing of my ministry experience. I try for some to be with family and others to use for traveling to a different church to experience their services.

    It’s great to know I’m not needed. We have been encouraged to be volunteer run, so now I just fill-in for missing positions on the weekend. God is doing great things and I have such a wonderful staff of volunteers each weekend!

  7. phil@philrowley.net

    I do, too tend to critique the mix. My wife and I often exchange glances when a cue is missed or the like. As a volunteer, I really aim to be on only once per month. That gives us the other three weeks to worship at different services, attend classes at church, etc.

  8. phil@philrowley.net

    I do, too tend to critique the mix. My wife and I often exchange glances when a cue is missed or the like. As a volunteer, I really aim to be on only once per month. That gives us the other three weeks to worship at different services, attend classes at church, etc.

  9. dwilcox@covlife.org

    Mike,

    This is so great to hear! Thanks for taking the step of faith necessary to go to church with your family. I know it requires trust in God to let all the details be handled by others!

    About two years ago, we started trying to get me off one Sunday a month. It took a year to accomplish, and vacations and church-related travel take up some of those, but now I get to attend church with my family about 6 times a year. It’s been a huge blessing to my wife and kids, and it’s refreshing for me. Don’t give up!

    dave

  10. dwilcox@covlife.org

    Mike,

    This is so great to hear! Thanks for taking the step of faith necessary to go to church with your family. I know it requires trust in God to let all the details be handled by others!

    About two years ago, we started trying to get me off one Sunday a month. It took a year to accomplish, and vacations and church-related travel take up some of those, but now I get to attend church with my family about 6 times a year. It’s been a huge blessing to my wife and kids, and it’s refreshing for me. Don’t give up!

    dave

  11. harry@soulinprocess.com

    I try to take a couple of weeks off per month. We have two services, and I’ll go help in the one-year-old class my wife works in during the first service, and sit with her and some friends during the service. I have found that I have to be pretty intentional about where I sit, so I can just be “part of the congregation”. I do take a few notes about the mix during the first song, to get it out of my head, then jump in. It’s an issue of discipline, like not answering the home phone during dinner. πŸ™‚ I’ve had to work hard to get to this place, but it’s so much more freeing. Getting to worship without the distractions of upcoming cues, riding faders, and anticipating feedback causes is needed for our souls.

  12. harry@soulinprocess.com

    I try to take a couple of weeks off per month. We have two services, and I’ll go help in the one-year-old class my wife works in during the first service, and sit with her and some friends during the service. I have found that I have to be pretty intentional about where I sit, so I can just be “part of the congregation”. I do take a few notes about the mix during the first song, to get it out of my head, then jump in. It’s an issue of discipline, like not answering the home phone during dinner. πŸ™‚ I’ve had to work hard to get to this place, but it’s so much more freeing. Getting to worship without the distractions of upcoming cues, riding faders, and anticipating feedback causes is needed for our souls.

  13. chris@chrisrouse.us

    There is a great church near where I live that has a Saturday night service that is usually a smaller crowd. When I’m working a full Sunday either at my church or mixing at another church in town, I like to go to this other church occasionally. It allows me to be able to completely disconnect from what’s going on at my church as far as tech goes so that I can really focus on worshiping. Luckily, this church has an A+ tech team and their services are flawless on the congregation side of things (not say something isn’t blowing up in the tech booth). Plus it’s sometimes nice to just be another person among the crowd and kind of get some alone time at church. And I can’t go hang out at the tech booth if I feel uncomfortable being at church by myself since I’m just a visitor. It forces me to sit with the rest of the congregation.

  14. chris@chrisrouse.us

    There is a great church near where I live that has a Saturday night service that is usually a smaller crowd. When I’m working a full Sunday either at my church or mixing at another church in town, I like to go to this other church occasionally. It allows me to be able to completely disconnect from what’s going on at my church as far as tech goes so that I can really focus on worshiping. Luckily, this church has an A+ tech team and their services are flawless on the congregation side of things (not say something isn’t blowing up in the tech booth). Plus it’s sometimes nice to just be another person among the crowd and kind of get some alone time at church. And I can’t go hang out at the tech booth if I feel uncomfortable being at church by myself since I’m just a visitor. It forces me to sit with the rest of the congregation.

  15. emyers@colonial.org

    I just started scheduling myself off one weekend every other month for this very reason.

    Here’s another example: My wife is about to have surgery on her jaws (Articular Disc) November 30th. Thats the first night (dress rehearsal) of our big Christmas Production that normally consumes ALL of my time for the 2 weeks before and the week of. My wife was scheduling folks to care for the kids, to sit with her for the two weeks after the surgery, and had called her mom and dad (Pastor of a church!) to come and take her to the surgery.

    When I told her that I had already told my volunteers and the leadership at the church that I was planning to be Mr. Mom for the week of the Christmas Production – she cried! Its the best gift I’ve been able to give my wife in years!!! Just TELLING her that she’s my priority OVER the Christmas Sweet production.

    Eric Myers

  16. emyers@colonial.org

    I just started scheduling myself off one weekend every other month for this very reason.

    Here’s another example: My wife is about to have surgery on her jaws (Articular Disc) November 30th. Thats the first night (dress rehearsal) of our big Christmas Production that normally consumes ALL of my time for the 2 weeks before and the week of. My wife was scheduling folks to care for the kids, to sit with her for the two weeks after the surgery, and had called her mom and dad (Pastor of a church!) to come and take her to the surgery.

    When I told her that I had already told my volunteers and the leadership at the church that I was planning to be Mr. Mom for the week of the Christmas Production – she cried! Its the best gift I’ve been able to give my wife in years!!! Just TELLING her that she’s my priority OVER the Christmas Sweet production.

    Eric Myers

  17. joelcollins@me.com

    Hey Mike, thanks for this post! I read it when you wrote it in Nov. and it was meaningful. I thought about it today and read it again. After a crazy couple of months with Christmas, it was just as meaningful, if not more! From the sound of your recent Christmas production posts, I hope you take a breather too! I hope you don’t mind, but I’m linking to this from my blog to share with my readers.

    God bless!

  18. joelcollins@me.com

    Hey Mike, thanks for this post! I read it when you wrote it in Nov. and it was meaningful. I thought about it today and read it again. After a crazy couple of months with Christmas, it was just as meaningful, if not more! From the sound of your recent Christmas production posts, I hope you take a breather too! I hope you don’t mind, but I’m linking to this from my blog to share with my readers.

    God bless!

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