One of the hardest things for a TD to do, aside from trying to figure out how to please everyone when it comes to the volume of the worship set, is keep an eye on the big picture. Let's face it, we TDs tend to zoom in to small details pretty quickly. If we or someone on our team misses a cue, we will hold on to that and lose sight of what a great service it was overall. Or if there is a component in our system, any system, that we know is not up to snuff, we'll fixate on it until we can get it replaced.
It's important to take a step (or three!) back from the equipment once in a while though, and see what's really going on. This principle has many applications. When we remember to think in terms of the big picture, we keep our sanity and ultimately do a better job. Here are a few areas where it pays to see the forest, not just the trees.
The People Picture
The tech team is just that, a team. What we do in the technical arts needs to be about people first and technology second. We need to constantly encourage, build up, train, encourage, teach, encourage, mentor and encourage our team. This can be hard to do when it's five minutes to service time and the lighting console lost communication with some of the lights; I get that. But even in that moment, how we respond to the people and situation will either build up or tear down our team. Make sure it's the former.
Case in point: On the weekend of our Christmas production, my lighting guy came up to me and asked, "Mike, is there any reason why I wouldn't have control over any of the lights?" This was Sunday morning at 8:10. Service started at 9. We sat down in front of the console and began to troubleshoot. Honestly, I couldn't figure out the problem. So I said to him, "Well, let's write a few basic scenes to the Paradigm and we'll run service from that today." We did, and it was fine.
Now I could have thrown a fit, freaked out, panicked or asked him what he did to break the console. Thankfully, God gave me the presence of mind and grace to respond well. Were the lights everything we'd ever hoped for that service? No. But people could see and they still worshiped God. No worries.
The Technology Picture
Now that we live in the information age, it's really easy to get gear envy. It's also really easy to focus on one specific area to the exclusion of the others. I'm at heart an audio guy; I just love audio. I wish I could spend all my time tweaking my audio system, trying out new plugins and techniques, and demo'ing new mics. However, I also have to maintain lighting, projection, video and two other venues in the building. So I have to spread myself out.
I've learned my goal is not to have the "best" A/V/L systems in the country (whatever that means), but to faithfully support the mission of my church to the best of my ability using the resources given to me. Do I wish I could add another mic to the B3 and get it in an iso room? Yeah! But I have a few other things to do first. We'll get there, but it takes a while.
I've learned to view my job kind of like a layer cake. The first layer is getting things that are currently broken fixed. The next layer is starting some training. Then we begin improving some things, followed by more training and more improving. We keep moving back and forth across all the disciplines until we get it all dialed in (right, like that's going to happen!). And I'm learning not to let someone else from outside our church set the agenda. Just because some of my friends are installing new speaker systems doesn't mean that's the next thing we need to be working on.
This week, take a step back from your daily activities and take a long look at the forest. It's probably in much better shape than you thought it was. Enjoy that view for a little, then get back to work. Enjoy...