Last time, I told you we would be bringing in some new contributors to CTA. Today, we welcome a good friend and a former ATD of mine, Isaiah Franco. Isaiah worked for me when I was at Coast Hills and we had a ton of fun together. Isaiah is super-smart and a really big geek. He’s already written a really cool article about automating his tech booth with XKeys and MIDI. Watch out for that one! But more than a geek, Isaiah has a big heart to serve the church. I was going to write an article introducing him, but then he sent me this letter he wrote to his team. Isaiah is the Production Director at Sandals Church in SoCal. I think this will do a better job giving you some insight into the guy behind the geek than I ever could. Join with me in welcoming Isaiah to our writing team!
Do you know why we do what we do? Why we put in all the hours for rehearsals and making sure that all of our ducks are in their figurative rows? Why we double-check to make sure all of our microphones are battery'd and powered up? Why each of our audio and video recordings have triple redundancy? Why we meticulously pour over every single detail of our services?
It's because the weekend is the thing.
Without the weekend, Sandals Church ceases to exist. Sure, we've got great ministries for people to be a part of like Cultivate, The Advance and Community Groups. But without the weekend happening every seven days, people don't get the opportunity to join our other ministries.
And do you know why the weekends are important? It's because we have people coming through our doors who are done. Done with life. Done with people. Done with everything. They've turned to drugs, to alcohol, to porn, to relationships and couldn't find what they needed so they figure they'll give God a shot. People come to this place because they have nowhere else to go and it's our burden and responsibility to make sure they get a chance to hear the Gospel. It's our duty to make sure that our services are distraction-free and set up in a way that all of our guests feel welcomed.
We should not be the reason people don't want to come to Sandals!
Let that sink in. Are we the reason people don't want to come to Sandals Church? If we are, that should haunt us. We shouldn't be able to sleep at night thinking that someone didn't hear the Gospel because of us.
Now let me go back and qualify that statement: If we've done our homework and our due-diligence, and we've taken into account all of the variables that affect our service and have addressed the volume of the mix and the level of the house lights and the temperature of the room and are intentional in creating an environment that people feel welcomed in and they still don't want to be here, that's on them. But, if someone doesn't come back because we haven't done all these things, that's on us.
Are you intentional about your audio mix? Are the lyrics shown on screen with enough time for people to follow (notice I said, follow? You should be leading the congregation!). Do the lighting effects support the music or do they steal the focus? Are camera shots in focus and framed properly? Does the video tell a cohesive story? These are all things that can make or break someone's experience here at Sandals.
What I'm asking all of our teams to do is to look at our service through the eyes of a first-time guest. Put yourself in their shoes with all of their burdens and garbage they're carrying in with them. Filter your experience by how they would experience our service. Do we do all we can to serve them? Can we do better?
My reset button has been pressed. I've refocused onto what's important. No more phoning it in. The weekend is the thing.