A week from today is Christmas. For the average church tech—volunteer or paid—that means a lot of long days ahead—and probably quite a few in the books already. Whether you’re doing a major production or a lot of services, there is no shortage of work to do.
I did church Christmas services for over 20 years, and to be honest, I like I was just getting the hang of it by the last one I did two years ago.
For most of those years, I worked way too hard and way too long. I didn’t take the time to actually enjoy the season, or spend enough time with my family and friends.
A few years ago, I decided I was going to change that. Sure there was still a lot of work to do; but I’m learning that God is far more concerned about the condition of my heart on Christmas Eve than He is about how much I accomplished.
I wrote an email to myself in 2011 after the Christmas season using FutureMe.org. I scheduled it to be delivered the day after Thanksgiving 2012, and it was a good reminder of why I was not going to kill myself that year. In 2011, I was exhausted and spent the first four days after Christmas on the couch. I was also pretty close to being ready to quit apparently (according to the email…); and I never wanted to feel that way again.
From then on, I started on Christmas production a lot earlier than usual. By late November, I had my show file done for the audio console. And by the first week in December, I had ProPresenter basically done.
My hope was that by spreading the work out a little more, I would be able to work a little less and enjoy the season a little more. It worked! I actually had fun that year, and after following that pattern the next few years, enjoyed another few Christmases before taking a break.
My advice to you is to slow down, enjoy the season and let a few things go undone. The reality is that you and I obsess over details that almost no one notices, and leaving them alone won’t impact the service noticeably. If we want to be doing this for the long term, we have to pace ourselves. This is difficult for us hard-working technical types, but we have to try.
Simplify what you can, pre-build as much as possible and maybe even say, “No” once or twice. Don’t allow business to obscure the significance of the Son of God coming to earth. Join me in enjoying Christmas this year.