Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Lessons Learned From a 12-Year Old

Today was a proud moment for me. My youngest daughter turned 12, which is a pretty humbling thing in itself. More than that, though, she also ran ProPresenter for “big church” for the first time today. And she did it like a seasoned veteran. As I watched her fire off cue after cue with Olympic sharpshooter accuracy, I started thinking what we could learn her. So here are a few things that Robyn can teach us.

Know the Music

Robyn is already an accomplished musician, and she really knows music. Because she often listens to praise and worship music, she was already very familiar with the songs we sung today. That gives her a real leg up when running ProPresenter (and Media Shout before that–that’s right, she’s 12 and she’s dual platform!). Because she knows the music, she can tell when the worship leader is circling back around to a chorus, or transitioning to the bridge. I watched her quickly navigate to the right slide so fast no one would have ever guessed it was a different order–all because she heard the 2 measure change and went to the right place. 

Think Ahead

I also watched her continually scan the presentation to see where the song was going. Even on the first run through, she was paying attention to what was coming up, and if the played order was different from the given order, she caught the change and fixed it before anyone had a chance to say anything.

Cover Your Bases

There were a few sections of two songs that the worship leader sang differently each time through. Without any prompting, I watched as Robyn had one hand on the space bar and another on the mouse. Depending on how the song actually went she would hit space and go to the chorus repeat, or click and drop right into the bridge. Because she had two options, she got the right slide on the screen every time.

Pay Attention

This is an area that she just excels at. She was on top of the songs, and managed to follow the speaker who came in with a “manuscript” that was often more of an outline. She didn’t wander off mentally as a lot of us are prone to do. I didn’t have to remind her to hit any cues, even ones that weren’t purely scripted. She paid attention to what was happening in the room, and got the right slide on the screen at the right time.

Know Your Computer

One reason she is so good at ProPresenter is that she’s been using computers since she was 2. She’s taught herself Photoshop. She’s figured out how to set up websites on her own. She has been building PowerPoint presentations for 5 years. For fun. Because she’s so familiar with how computer programs work, she made the switch from Media Shout to ProPresenter in 30 minutes. Actually, it was less than that. I gave her a 20 minute tour, she played with it for a bit and pronounced, “It’s a lot like Media Shout, only more spread out.”


Part of the reason she did a great job tonight is because she really wanted to. Now that might seem obvious, but how often do we approach our work as just something else we need to get done. In contrast, she really wanted to do a great job. Even though she nailed it during rehearsal, as we walked back in to the sanctuary after taking communion, she said, “OK, I’m starting to freak out now…” She had a good, healthy level of anxiety and wanted to get it right. Too often we lose that.

Now, I’d like to take credit for all of this great training and instinct. But the truth is, she’s just really good at it. And before I even had a chance to train her, somebody else (the volunteer in charge of tech for the kids ministries at Crosswinds–great job Kyle!) had shown her the ropes and taught her good technique.

I think there were some that were nervous about having a 12-year old running ProPresenter tonight. Our guest speaker’s assistant hovered in the booth for the first service (and only the first service, he didn’t have to give any direction at all!). I’m pretty sure my boss was skeptical, but by the end of the first worship set, he jumped on the com and said, “Maybe we should have middle schoolers run ProPresenter every weekend!” In fact, I am writing this as she’s cuing the second worship set for the 7 PM service. I don’t have to think about it!

At the end of the day, any potential critics were silenced. The good news is that anyone can learn from her and improve their game. Whether you’re 12 or 72 (you know, there’s just no way to gracefully illiterate 12…) you can give your best in service to our Lord. Just follow these simple instructions. “And the children shall lead them…”


  1. awhitespace@gmail.com

    Great post! Your daughter sounds very sharp and has the ability to focus. My kids are younger, but it makes me think about their development. Video games are probably great training for this kind of work.

  2. awhitespace@gmail.com

    Great post! Your daughter sounds very sharp and has the ability to focus. My kids are younger, but it makes me think about their development. Video games are probably great training for this kind of work.

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