Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: July 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

God’s Timing and a Green Leather Couch


Normally this is a church tech blog. But as most of you know, I’ve been in transition professionally lately. The last few weeks have not been spent doing my normal tech thing. Instead, I’ve been interviewing, looking for new housing, packing and getting my family ready for a cross-country move. These activities, combined with the fact that I’m not producing services at the moment have given me pause to consider how God is at work in my life.

I’ve come to believe we need these times of transition; if for no other reason than to actually have some time to consider God. What I have seen over the last few weeks has been an incredible display of God’s love and care for me and my family–often in ways so subtle that I would have normally overlooked them because of my regular fast-paced life.

The story of my green leather couch perfectly illustrates the point. Two weeks ago, when I returned home–successful–from my SoCal housing hunt, it became clear to my wife and I that our big green couch and love seat set would not fit in the new house. This is the same set that we tried unsuccessfully to sell when we came to Minnesota. And actually, it’s worked out perfectly have them in our current house. But in the new place, they just won’t fit.

So on July 17, I listed them on Craig’s list. My mom was coming a few days later for a visit, and we actually considered where we would sit should the couches sell. “We’ll figure it out,” I said. A few days went by, and nothing. I re-listed them. Got a few e-mails, mostly scammers, but nothing solid. Once my mom was in town, and we had our garage sale, a few more people came to look, but no sale.

Every morning for the entire week my mom was here, I would come out into the living room to find her sitting on the couch drinking a cup of coffee, enjoying the view out the window. I was glad we still had them, but was getting a little nervous about how we would be rid of them.

Someone told us about an organization that collects furniture and household goods for distribution to families in crisis. At first we thought they would come pick the couch up for free; then I learned they charge for it. I was fine with giving it away, but paying for it to go away? I decided to try Craig’s list one more time.

The morning my mom was getting ready to leave, I posted again. A few hours later, I received an e-mail from an interested party. I called. They wanted to come see it that night. Perfect! We had dinner but I didn’t hear from them. It got later and still nothing. Finally, at 8:30, they called and said they were almost to our house. I knew when they walked through the door, the set was sold. Sure enough, they want them both, but have to wait until Thursday or Friday to pick them up. We load the truck on Saturday.

Some might say this is a coincidence. I say it was God. He held that buyer off until the last minute so we’d have a place to sit amongst our many boxes. Other stuff on Craig’s list sold in hours. The couch took 2 weeks–which is exactly how long we needed it. Even as I write this, I’m sitting on our now sold couch.

Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love said that stress and anxiety reek of arrogance. Who are we to think we are that in such control of our lives that we need to stress about things. If God cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, how much more does He care for us? And if He cares for us (and He does), why would we think He can’t take care of all those little details that we get all stressed out about; like selling a green leather couch.

Ooyala–A Better Way to Stream Video?


Last week I was invited to view a demo of a very cool web-based video delivery system. It’s called Backlot and it’s from a company called Ooyala. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t feel bad; neither had I. It was started by 3 former Google employees (you’ve perhaps heard of Google?) as a project to monetize search and content delivery. While they were working on that, they built a video portal that turned out to be a great product.

Since I’m getting rather busy with job and life transitions, I haven’t had a lot of time to play with the product yet. That will come later this summer, so look for a more detailed write up then. In the meantime, I’ll share a few things that caught my eye.

First of all, the interface is simple and intuitive. If you can build a playlist in iTunes, you can upload and organize video files in Backlot. They have built a bunch of batch processing features into the interface, so you can upload a whole library of content then tag, organize, set up channels, groups and all sorts of other things with a few clicks. It’s very quick and easy; in fact I noted during the demo that it could easily be done by a volunteer without a ton of training time.

Second, the video encoding is done intelligently. When you upload a video, the system breaks it up into short chunks and processes them in parallel. That’s cool, but what is really great from a content provider standpoint is that the video is delivered in small chunks. This means two things; first you only pay for the segments viewed (or more correctly, the bandwidth those segments use). Second, because you can set videos to be encoded at multiple quality levels, the system can parcel out delivery at the highest quality the users bandwidth can handle–and switch dynamically on the fly if the bandwidth changes. There is little buffering, and users won’t end up with stalled content while the buffer reloads.

The system also has a tremendous metrics module so you can see quickly how many people are viewing how many videos. Again, this is a huge asset for a church because if you’re spending money putting content online, you had better know how effective it is. There is also very granular control over what Ooyala calls Syndication; essentially that lets you control where and when a video is available. Again, highly useful if you’re dealing with performance licensing issues.

While it’s easy to embed the player (and it’s a pretty darn customizable player at that) into your website, you can also syndicate straight to YouTube as well

There is a lot more the system can do, and I’m really looking forward to playing with it some more once I get settled into my new position. Putting the services on the web is something that’s already being discussed at Coast Hills, so my introduction to Ooyala comes at a good time. If you can’t wait for me to review it further, check them out yourself.

Quicker h.264 Rendering

I’ve said it before; when it comes to rendering, there’s no substitute for horsepower. Typically that means upgrading to a bigger computer with more processor cores running at a higher speed (and more RAM–you can never have too much RAM). The downside of that approach is that it gets expensive really fast. For example, the new MacPro 8-core computers are blindingly fast, but they’ll set you back $6,000 in the fastest configuration. And unfortunately, they performance increase doesn’t equal the price penalty, especially when it comes to rendering.

Matrox CompressHD Matrox CompressHDEnter the Matrox CompressHD. It’s a half-length PCIe x1 card that fits into MacPros, XServes or PCs. It does one thing and it does it well; speed up compression of h.264 files. By offloading the compression process from the host CPU, render times drop to faster than real-time in many cases. Given the number of Twitter posts I’ve seen recently about waiting for progress bars to finish, this could be really useful. Check out these speed improvements (from Matrox’s website).

Seems like it's just a little bit faster... Seems like it’s just a little bit faster…The graph above shows the various times for exporting a 20 minute video. This would be huge if you post your services online (even the preaching part is going to be 30-40 minutes). How nice would it be to have them encoded in 5-7 minutes?

The CompressHD can be accessed right through the QuickTime framework, which means you can still use Compressor, FinalCut Pro or even QuickTime Pro for encoding. It ships with customizable presets to get you going quickly. The encoding station doesn’t even have to have a video card in it, so if you have an old G5 MacPro lying around, it could be repurposed as an encoding station. CompressHD supports Apple’s QMaster for distributed rendering as well.

Best of all is the price. I found it at B&H for $495. At first glance, this might seem pricey for a one trick pony. But given how much encoding we do in the h.264 format, being able to get it done quickly makes it easy to justify.

If you’re in a church where the video never needs to change an hour before the service, this might not be for you. For the rest of us, it could be a life (or at least a service) saver. And if you feel like you’re limping along on an older editing computer and can’t afford to upgrade to a new one, this could extend the useful life another year or two.

With the ever tighter integration between effects and editing applications, we’re quickly reaching the point where we really only need to render once. With a card like this in the computer, that render time just got a whole lot quicker.

EQ Libraries

One of the cool things about digital consoles is that you can save stuff you need to use again. Sometimes, we take this too far, and simply recall last week’s mix and call it good. That’s not really the right way to do things, as so much has changed from last week. Even if the band is the same, a lot of other things have changed, and it’s a good idea to double check everything and continue to mix just like you would if you had to start from scratch each week.

On the other hand, when we break things down into smaller chunks and recall those chunks as needed, the true power of digital consoles comes out. A great example of this is the EQ library.  In our case, we have a few different people who speak regularly with 2 different mics; a DPA 4088 and a Countryman e6. Even with the same speaker, those two mics sound quite a bit different. Add in different voices and it’s pretty clear that we can’t use the same EQ curve for everyone.

That’s when we turn to the library. Over the last few months, we’ve built EQ curves for all our speakers and their mics. We normally start with one that’s close (eg. the same mic) and tweak for their voice. Once we’re happy, we save it–labeling it with their name and the type of mic (eg. Craig e6). What’s brilliant about this is the next time Craig speaks with an e6, we load that EQ curve and we’re 95% there. Because little things like temperature, humidity and how much water the speaker has had to drink affect the sound, we tweak a little bit. But the base curve is really close.

If we find ourselves making larger changes, we may re-save the preset. Sometimes it’s in response to a tweaked room curve. Other times, we just got closer to a really good sound. We’ve been in the habit of saving everyone’s EQ curves, even if we don’t think they’ll be back. The 01V stores 200 EQ curves and it will be a while before we fill them all. And if you’re using Yamaha Studio Manager, you can effectively store an infinite number of settings by changing settings files.

You could also use EQ libraries to store settings for guitars, basses and pretty much anything else you EQ on a regular basis. Just keep in mind that the EQ setting is not a holy grail. You still need to tweak based on current events. However, a good EQ library will help you get more done in less time. It can also really help out a volunteer base. Rather than starting from scratch, a volunteer engineer can recall a curve that worked in the past. And if they start tweaking and get too far off, they can simply re-recall it. It’s what I like to call a win-win-win.

Moving Forward

Given the number and frequency of times I’ve been asked how we’re doing in our process I decided a post was in order. Normally, I try to keep the personal posts to a minimum, but I’m also told it’s important to share one’s life with your readers. Helps build community they say. Whoever “they” are. Anyway, on with the news.

So in case you missed it, my position of the last year and half as Technical Arts Director/IT Director at Upper Room in Minneapolis has been eliminated due to budget cuts. I saw this coming and was prepared for it, and have felt really good about the way UR has handled the transition. We didn’t plan on leaving the church so soon, but it’s been a good leaving–at least from our standpoint.

A few weeks ago, I blogged and Twittered about that with the secret hope that one or two people might contact me with a possible contact of someone who might know of a position. Maybe. In fact, I was not prepared for the response. Suffice it to say it was a bit overwhelming and I spent way more time on the phone interviewing than I ever thought I would. We ended up with a lot of options, and prayed continually that God would make His way clear.

That last part was important because I tend to get excited when I talk to any church about their technical arts needs and I am ready to jump in and get started–wherever it is! Thankfully God answered our prayers and made the path very clear. From the first contact, through an on-site visit to follow up phone calls and working out details the entire process felt right. Every specific prayer request was answered and all our questions were handled well.

So it is with the Hawk Nelson song, “California” playing in the background I am excited to announce that mid-August will find me the new Technical Arts Director of Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, California. [pause for dramatic effect]

Personally, I’m super-excited about this–and not just because I recently found out that church workers don’t get unemployment (bet you didn’t’ know that either, huh?). Seriously, it’s a great opportunity to work with some incredibly gifted people who are as authentic as the day is long and have a genuine heart for Jesus. I’ll have lots to do and a great staff to do it with.

The timeline is going to go pretty quick. This week I fly out to find a place to live. Once that’s lined up we’ll have about 2 weeks to pack up and wrap up things in Minneapolis before heading out on August 3. Just as I did when we moved here, I’ll be blogging about our adventures in moving, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’ll keep on posting about the technical arts. And once I get out there, look for lots of great content as I dig into my new position. Thanks to all of you who have offered prayers, support and encouragement over the last month or so. Prayers for the right house at the right price would be appreciated this week. Rock on!

Technology Lumping

Somewhere out there you might have noticed that sound, lighting and video are different (with apologies to The Masked Engineer). In the professional world, audio guys hold little regard for “squints.” The lighting guys don’t really care if there’s enough light for the video, and the video guys, well they don’t like anyone. A slight exaggeration, perhaps; but you get the point. In the church world however, those three disciplines typically get lumped together along with graphic design, presentation and IT–a dog’s breakfast of technology. After all, they all use fancy and expensive equipment and computers with all those knobs and button thingeys. Therefore, they must all the same. And if you know one, you must know them all.

Sound familiar? Many churches often expect their tech guy or gal to be a master of all things technical, and then are disappointed when they’re not. “I have a full-time tech guy on staff, but he doesn’t seem to know how to mix.” Or, “Why can’t my tech guy figure out how to make our background graphics look better?” Or, “We have a tech guy, but our lighting is still amateurish.”

Perhaps an analogy would help. Consider a worship leader who is quite good with a guitar. We would naturally expect him to also be highly proficient on bass, piano, viola, cello and a harp, right? Because, they all use strings, so it’s all pretty much the same. Strings, music, what’s the problem?

The reality is we might find quite a few musicians who excel at two instruments. A select few master more. Most, however, are really good at one or two and might be able to plunk out a melody on a couple others. Now, I want to let you in on a secret. It’s the same with technical arts.

A few people in this business are masters of sound, lighting and video. Rarer still are those that can also design and build amazing graphics and sets. Most of us are really good at one or two things and can perhaps plunk out a melody on the others. And you know what? That’s OK!

Smart churches don’t expect their Senior Pastor to be able to preach, lead the church, lead the student and children’s ministry, do all the counseling, manage the rest of the staff and balance the church budget. Rather, they expect them to be really good at one or two things and bring other smart people around them to do the rest of the work. Why should the technical arts be so different?

A few years ago, I decided it wasn’t going to be possible for me to know everything about all the disciplines of the technical arts. I get most excited about sound and video production, so that’s where I’ve focused my energies. The rest I fill in with Google, blogs, Twitter and other smart tech guys who know more than me. Think about how much better off the Church would be if instead of running 100 miles an hour with our hair on fire trying to be jacks of all trades (and masters of none), we focused on doing a few things well and shared our experience with others.

I also believe churches would go through a lot fewer tech guys who “didn’t really quite work out,” if we come to this realization. Rather than continually searching for the perfect tech person (and burning through those who don’t measure up), a church could celebrate the accomplishments of our technical artists and find ways to round out the skill areas. Does that seem appealing to anyone else besides me?

The New MacBook Pro Lineup

A few weeks ago at WWDC, everyone got excited about the new iPhone 3G S. And while it’s something to be excited about, I was more interested in the tweaks to the MacBook Pro lineup (personally, I’m holding out for the iPhone on the Verizon network, announce that, and I’m stoked). As almost always happens when Apple changes a popular product, there are some things to like and some things to miss. Here’s what we have.

The 13", 15" and 17" MacBook Pros The 13″, 15″ and 17″ MacBook ProsFirst some common themes. All the batteries are now non-removable. This was done to make them larger and thus last longer. They are now a lithium-polymer chemistry and rated for 1000 charge cycles. They also boast excellent life; 7-8 hours of rated capacity. All models are now of the unibody, aluminum design. The screens are all LED backlit, which enhances brightness and contrast; offers a 60% greater color gamut and improves battery life.

The line has been extended to include the 13″ unibody Macbook Pro. The old 13″ was considered a MacBook, and thus lacked FireWire. The new one, being a Pro and all, now has FW800. This is good. A big (and interesting) addition is the SD card slot. If you’re a digital photographer who uses SD cards, this is a big bonus for you. No more cables, just pop in the SD card and go. The 13″ is a perfect size for travelers or students, and at the base price of $1199 for a 2 Gig RAM/160 Gig HD/2.26 GHz configuration, it’s a great general purpose laptop for almost anyone working at a church.

Side view of the MacBook Pro 15" Side view of the MacBook Pro 15″ and the new Mini-Display PortThe 15″ line has been speed bumped again and all models come with 4 Gigs of RAM standard. Processor speeds are now 2.53, 2.66, and 2.8 GHz. Hard drives range from 250-500 along with two solid state options. The 15″ has FW800, but gone is the ExpressCard/34 slot. In reality, about 6 people will miss this. On the other hand, it makes it hard for people to add things like eSATA expansion to the MacBook Pro. If you really want to edit video on the go, this is a bummer. The new SD slot is there, however, and I for one am excited about that. I’m forever forgetting my camera cable, and look forward to going direct with the card.

Remarkably, prices have actually decreased across the whole line. The base 15″ is now just $1699–and that’s with 4 Gigs of RAM and a 250 Gig HD! Spending a little more gives you the better dual graphics mode (both the nVidia 9400 & 9600 cards), a bigger HD and a faster processor. That’s the one I’m excited about ($1999). Since I have 3 virtual machines on my laptop, the larger HD is a must, and while the 9400 provides better battery life, the 9600 is a lot faster for more intensive tasks (which I do a lot).

The Mac-Daddy (if you will) of the line is the 17″. Offering a 2.8 or 3.06 GHz processor (I know, can’t we just call it 3.0?), it’s the fastest of the bunch. The 17″ display is gorgeous and huge, and this one retains the ExpressCard/34 slot. If eSATA is your life, this is your laptop. Because the platform is bigger, the larger battery is rated for an astonishing 8 hours. This is a serious mobile platform for people who create media on the go. The video card can also support a 30″ Cinema Display so you won’t be squinting back at the office. And the prices have been adjusted; the base model is now $2499.

Overall, there is a lot to love about the new lineup. Personally, I’m looking forward to having a new 15″ in my hands (which should happen pretty soon if all goes as planned). Some complain about the glossy screens (I don’t mind them), and others complain they’re too expensive. Having worked at churches with both Macs and PC laptops around, I’ll say this–you get what you pay for. And since Macs run Windows better than a PC does (and at the same time), it’s like getting two computers in one. The bump in base RAM makes running dual OS’s easy and fast, right out of the box.

Rechargeable Battery Update

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about rechargeable batteries. Mainly because there was no new news with the Ansmann brand we had been using, and I wanted to try out the new ones for a while before giving an update. Thankfully, the wait was worth it, and this is good news.

When Upper Room moved into our new space, we ended up with Shure ULX-P microphones. They’re decent mics, and require 9V batteries. This didn’t thrill me as I was hoping to go with AAs as their energy density is a lot higher. But 9Vs it is, so I looked to find the best ones I could. I like the Ansmann rack mount chargers, but at $450+, they were out of the budget. And I don’t like their little 10 bay desktop one. I’ve used it before and it’s not well made. My search ended when I found the Maha MH-C1090F at Thomas Distributing. At just under $50, it fit the miniscule budget. Thankfully, it does not disappoint. One of the problems with the Ansmann desktop unit is the contacts are made of cheap metal, deform easily and then don’t properly contact the battery. The Maha seems much better made in this regard. The batteries snap in place well, and charge quickly. So our charger needs were met, what about batteries?

Maha MH-C1090 10 Bay 9V charger

Maha MH-C1090 10 Bay 9V chargerAgain, Maha’s 300 mAH Powerex battery was the choice. It’s 50 mAH more capacity than the Ansmann’s we were using, and so far, they rock. Our speakers are good about turning on and off their packs and we easily make it through 2 sermons. In fact, the batteries have never dipped below 1/2 on the scale. I can’t see an instance where we would run out of juice, even running for 2 solid services. Your mileage may vary, but I’m happy with them.

Maha 300 mAH 9V Batteries

Maha 300 mAH 9V BatteriesI’ve not been using AA batteries at church for a while, but for my own tests, I’ve tried several at home in my digital camera. I shoot a Pentax K-100, which as it turns out, is pretty energy inefficient. It has a high current draw, and the Ansmann AAs can’t supply enough juice. They die quickly and decisively. Plus, if I left them in the camera for a week, they’d be dead on their own. Not what I wanted.

So I tried some Ray-O-Vac hybrid rechargeables. They are billed as a low discharge battery that comes fully charged. I found them to work OK. Better than the other ones, but nothing spectacular. So I tried Sanyo’s Eneloops. To say these blow me away is an understatement. I bought a set, dropped them in the camera in February and only took them out to recharge before going to California a few weeks ago. Now, I probably only shot a hundred photos in that time, but still–no self-discharge to speak of. When I pulled them to charge, they still read 1/2 on the camera meter. Not bad.

Sanyo Eneloop. Amazing.

Sanyo Eneloop. Amazing.Last week, I was in South Dakota. I shot almost 400 pictures in 2 days. Again, no perceptible drop in performance with the Eneloops. I started carrying a few sets of Li-On batteries as backup, but have yet to use them.Though I’ve not used them in wireless mics, I can’t imagine they would be anything less than spectacular. And since they don’t really self-discharge, they wouldn’t need to sit in the charger all week long keeping topped off. [It should be noted that they do self-discharge, they just do it really slowly. If you’re in a good rotation, you’d never notice it.]

You can get Eneloops at a variety of places, but I got mine at Thomas Distributing. I also picked up a La Crosse BC-900 4 bay AA charger. It was highly recommended on photography forums, and I am also very pleased. It has a variety of charging modes and will charge 4 batteries in under 2 hours and 2 in under an hour normally. And at $35 (with a set each of AA and AAA batteries and a case!) it’s a steal.

La Crosse BC-900 4-Bay AA & AAA charger.

La Crosse BC-900 4-Bay AA & AAA charger.Note: My apologies if the links don’t work, Thomas Distributing runs sales all the time and the links may change. If you find a broken link, just visit their website and search for the item.

The Mix or the Room?

Let’s be honest, we all know a lot of pastors (worship, senior and otherwise) are not happy with the sound in their worship rooms every weekend. Sometimes, the guy behind the board is to blame. Perhaps they’ve not been trained, or they just don’t understand music or don’t know how to put a good mix together. Other times, however, it’s not their fault. Try as they might, the mix just never “comes together.” And while it may be true that a great engineer can make even a bad PA sound decent, most churches have to make do with good engineers (most of whom don’t do this for a living). So why do churches keep making it harder for them?

Over the last few months, I’ve been traveling to a bunch of different churches. Every time, someone asks me, “How did it sound?” I have a hard time answering. Not because I don’t know, but because I am trying to discern if it was the mix or the PA or the room that’s at fault (yeah, most times it doesn’t sound that great…).

As an example, I recently visited a fairly new church. As soon as I walked in, I suspected there was going to be trouble. The PA hang was, uh, interesting. The room was a rather odd shape, and the walls had a lot of acoustic treatment. As soon as the band started up, I started hearing strange things. The bottom end was really boomy and loud, yet not at all defined. The room was actually too dead, at least for the way the PA was tuned. There was no sparkle, no air. The system had little clarity and while it was loud, there was no energy. As the worship set went on, it was clear the mix was not fantastic, but the room wasn’t helping at all.

Here’s the point of all this: If you’re having consistent trouble getting good sound, rather than being frustrated or mad at the sound guys, why not bring someone in and re-tune the room. This is harder than it might appear, since there are a lot of people out there purporting to be audio “experts,” who have no idea how to really tune a room. They might have a laptop with SMAART  on it, but no clue how to use it the right way. Or they may be old school and just do the whole thing by ear. In any case, you need to shop around. Find out what other rooms they’ve worked on and go listen to them. Get recommendations from other churches. As them what their approach to room tuning is (hint, if they answer, “Pop in a CD and tweak it until it sounds good,” keep looking).

Your prospective tuner should be asking you questions. “What don’t you like about the existing sound?” “How would you like it to sound?” “What is your musical style?” “How loud do you like it?” If you’re not hearing these questions, you need to keep looking.

The bottom line is this: Your sound volunteers (and staff people) have way too much to do every weekend without fighting the room. Make their jobs easier and give them a decent sounding PA to work with. Even if the system is old and needs to be replaced, you can often extend it’s life (while saving for the right one) with a good tuning.

A properly tuned PA won’t magically correct a bad mix, but it sure goes a long way toward making a good one sound better.

Sustainability–How Do We Achieve It?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about sustainability. If you missed the previous 2 posts, you can read them here and here. The first post is about what sustainability is not. The second talks about reasons we don’t tend to live sustainable lives. Today, I want to explore how to live sustainably. Now as a disclaimer, I’ll admit that I’ve not yet mastered this. I still struggle with going too fast, working too much and depending on my strength, not God’s. Still, I’ve learned a few things along the way and want to start a conversation about this topic.

As a refresher, the goal of living a sustainable life is that we don’t burn out but are able to keep on doing what God has called us to for the long haul. That’s often easier said than done when most of us A) really love what we do and notice that B) the work is never really done. Here are some suggestions.

Take Time Off Regularly

Most tech guys (and gals) I know tend to take time off in the summer only. Maybe they’ll take a few days off between Christmas and New Year’s, but that’s about it. That’s really hard on you. One thing I’m going to start doing as I get ready to start a new position (before too long, that is–no announcement yet!) is actually blocking out days off during the year at regular intervals. The last part is important. We need some extra time off during the business of life to recharge. Even if it’s only a day or two, it makes a difference. Once church I’m talking to gives it’s people 25 paid days off a year. If I wait until summer, there is no way I can take all those days off. I need to take one or two a month regularly.

Find an Encourager

One of the healthiest things we can do is to find someone with whom we can meet regularly for support and encouragement. It’s best if that person (or persons) doesn’t go to your church. You need someone with whom you can share frustrations and be encouraged. I have several people like this in my life, and I’m thankful for all of them. I “meet” with two guys pretty regularly using TokBox as they are in another state. However, our times together are really refreshing for me.

Right-Size Expectations

This is something my most recent boss taught me. Sometimes we place such high expectations on ourselves (or they are placed on us), that it’s impossible to live up to them. For example; one church I talked to wanted their new tech director to start mid-July so they could recruit and train all new volunteer teams for the start of the ministry year in September. I suggested it might take a little longer than that. I’ve written a two-year volunteer development and recruitment plan instead, because that’s how long it really takes. I might be able to do it in less time, but I want to still be there in year two, not burn out in year one trying to get it going.

Remember the rule that projects always take about double the time you think they’re going to. Make sure you not only tell church leadership the right timeline, but give yourself grace as well. I’ve been at churches that have incredibly messed up tech systems and I want to get it all fixed now. That’s a recipe for disaster. Take the right amount of time to do it and you’ll be there to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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