It’s the day after Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a tech guy was stirring,
They all collapsed on the couch.
You did it. You made it through Christmas. If you are a tech person, volunteer or staff, full-time or part, director or technician, chances are, you worked really hard over the last few weeks. The hours were long, the work was grueling and the demands high. Hopefully, the rewards were high as well. More people flock to church during Christmas and Easter than any other time of the year. That means you got to be part of sharing the Gospel with many, many people this season. Thank you for that! Often, you don’t get thanked for the role you play, and I want to take a minute to really say thank you. What you do matters to God and to His Kingdom. Thank you.
I keenly remember the post-Christmas stupor I often found myself in. A few years ago, we had a really intense December, and in the week following, I barely got off the couch. I think it was about 3 days later that I even got out of my PJs or left the house. This is the first year in 10 that I’ve not felt that way, but that’s only because I took the year off and didn’t participate in any Christmas productions. But here’s some advice I can share with the memories of the previous 10 years still very vivid.
Give Yourself Permission To Take Time Off
That sounds odd; give yourself permission to take time off. But I know how you are. Even though you are tired, spent and exhausted, you know there is still work to be done. The stage needs to be cleaned, equipment put away, and next weekend is only a few days away. Here’s a secret; all that stuff will still be there in a week. It took me quite a few years to be OK with leaving everything up for a week after Christmas. But you know what? No one else really cares. And you need a break.
So my advice to you is, work as little as possible for the next week or so. If you can avoid going in, do so. Stay home. Sit on the couch and watch movies. Play with your kids. Talk to your wife. Sleep. Go out to dinner. Just relax. Do anything but work. Put your auto responder on, and let people know you’ll get back to them in a week. Believe me, the world will go on without you.
Also, don’t turn in a vacation time slip for this time. Just take it off. You earned it. And if your boss gives you a hard time, send them this article.
Pastors, Give Your Tech Team a Week Off
This part goes out to the pastors, executive pastors or whoever is in charge here. I can promise you your tech staff worked longer and harder over the last month than anyone else on staff, including you. This is not “woe is us,” it’s just a fact. We work hard because we love what we do and want to do the best job we can. We work hard because sometimes the demands set by those above us are too high. We work hard because we are perfectionists who won’t stop until we’ve done all we can to make Christmas great.
Now it’s time for you to return the favor. Give them a week off. You see, it’s not just the long hours that make December exhausting, it’s the weight of the work. It’s often very physical; we’ll be on our feet for 10, 12, 14 or more hours a day; for days and weeks on end. Then there is the adrenaline rush that comes from live production. It’s thrilling, but when it’s over, the rush ends and we tend to crash hard. I know from experience we can go from incredibly keyed up, energized and excited to falling asleep in a few minutes following the end of the last service. It’s amazing how fast the energy drains from you.
The week after Christmas—or Easter for that matter—we need time to recover. Our bodies need rest. Our minds need to unwind. Our spirits need to be renewed. This rest time is essential for our survival.
This Really Is Important
One of the reason I have been able to do this for so long is that each of the churches I worked for let me unwind for a week following a big event. I always told my team to stay home the week after Christmas. We left the stage set pretty much the same so all we had to do was subtract unneeded gear. We intentionally didn’t go into the office; everything can wait a week. I usually didn’t even check my email.
So to my fellow technical artists, I say this: Take the week off. Refresh. Recharge. Renew. You need this time. Give yourself permission to do that.
To pastors and church leaders: Give them the time. Unless you enjoy the process of hiring a new TD every year or two, give your team time to rest. Trust me, they have earned it.