This week, we take questions from you, the listener! How to lead as a volunteer, building great teams, how to grow as a tech leader and choosing the right console. It’s a great discussion.
I apologize for the radio silence the last week. After a much needed day off on Monday, we hit the ground running for the final sprint to the finish. This past weekend was opening weekend, and while the project is not completely finished, it was done enough to open and serve our kids and students ministries. My goal was to have my stuff wrapped up by Friday night, and since I left the building at 11:30 PM, I made the goal!
Of course, we have some PA tweaking, some interfacing and cable-making to do yet, but those things are the icing on an already pretty decent cake. Though I was exhausted this weekend, it was very satisfying to see the rooms teeming with kids and students. In fact, we had larger attendance in many of our age groups than ever. So that’s pretty neat. Already God is using these rooms to change lives, which is of course, the whole point.
Today is the first day of a few weeks off, so I’m not going to go too deep here (I feel a nap coming on…). But I did want to share some pictures of how things turned out. Overall, I’m extremely pleased with how things worked out. Aside from a few minor snafus (which we’ll talk about in future posts), everything worked as planned. I have a lot of lessons learned through this process as well, and I’ll be detailing those here in the coming weeks.
But for now, enjoy a pictorial tour of our new South Wing.
I have to be honest, until the carpeting went in, I didn’t like the color scheme. But adding the carpet made it all work. We went with a 2×2 square tile, which are easily replaced if they get damaged or stained. It’s a cool look that should look good for a long time.
This is the stage in our K-3 room. As you can see, we are running an Apple TV in here (and in the other rooms as well). The Apple TV works surprisingly well, and we’ve had no issues with HDCP with our switcher/scaler (a Kramer VP728). I’ll detail the connections at a later date, but know that it does work, and it is really sweet to be able to walk into a room, hit the Apple TV and be streaming music from my iPhone to the PA in seconds.
In the K-3 and 4-5 grade rooms, we re-used portable mixing racks to house the mixer and rack gear. Since we used a GB2-24 in the Student Life room, we went with a full-width counter. I decided to mount the rack to the underside of the counter, but that led to the question of how we were going to get behind there to make connections, or work on gear. Being versed in cabinet making, I went back to my kitchen building days and ordered up some full-length drawer slides. Mounted to 2x4s screwed to the underside of the counter and boom! a pull out rack.
The slides, with shipping, cost me about $20.
You’ve seen the curved stage before, but it is now all wrapped up. We decided to carpet it in black, which I think was the right call. The sculpture on the wall (still in progress in this photo) was dreamed up by our Youth Pastor Jason. It’s basically 4x4s cut at random lengths, stained and mortared onto a piece of 1/2 plywood screwed to the walls. Now that it’s done (framed in burlap-wrapped 1×6), it looks very cool.
Here’s another view of the Student Life tech booth. Eventually, we’ll be putting some wall controls for our EZ Button system in the empty boxes in the wall there. Since they weren’t needed for opening weekend, they got pushed off.
Here’s the outsdie of that booth. We chose different color stains for each of the tech booths to match something that was going on in each room. As you can tell, we still need to get another coat of eggshell yellow on the booth, but that will get done eventually. Painting was a bear on this job.
Dropping down a grade level, this is the final stage for our 4-5 grade ministry, Flood. It’s a smaller stage (8’x8′), which suits what they like to do in there. It’s typically 1-2 musicians and a group of 40-50 kids. Again, Jason dreamed up the slat wall, which looks really great in here.
The tech booth in Flood. Eventually we’ll get doors on the booths as well to keep too many kids from hanging out in there.
For our K-3 room, we built a bigger corner stage to accommodate a larger band. All the stages are carpeted with the same black carpet and rubber nosing, which should hopefully last a long time.
The Kid Life tech booth is a triple-win for me. First, the carpet guys hit it with vinyl cove base before I could get my wooden base on (which meant a lot less staining and finishing for me). Second, it’s chroma-key green so we can use it for video shoots now. Finally, I’m a huge fan of the natural wood stain. With this color, the Douglas Fir looks a lot like natural cherry, which is my favorite wood. And who doesn’t love bright orange door jambs?
Finally, this is what it’s all about. Though I was mixing FOH in the main room this weekend, I did manage to sneak out and snap a quick picture of my daughter, Robyn, leading worship for Flood. I had to leave after a minute because I actually became quite emotional seeing the results of 6 long weeks of hard work.
I joked several times that it was like spending 6 weeks in Purgatory (mainly because we were without A/C the entire time, during the hottest weeks of the year), but what a better pay off than to be able to create a space where kids can worship and learn about their Creator. The fact that my daughter is the worship leader for Flood is an extra bonus. There were many times when I wanted to quit and times when I thought it would never end, but knowing we now have some incredible space for our ministries to use that will impact lives for eternity makes all the long, hot hours well worth it.
In future posts, I’ll talk about the equipment, how we laid things out and some of the lessons learned. But for now, I need a nap.
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As TDs, we often find ourselves being stretched. Whether it’s learning new technology, pulling off the impossible or working really hard for a few weeks to produce a big service or renovation, there is rarely a dull moment in our lives. One thing that I’m learning is that I have to really pay attention to how I react in those stretching times.
We have probably all had times when we’re ready to quit our jobs (post-Christmas and Easter seem to be common). But instead of a new job, what we really need is some time off. And if you’re like me, taking time off is hard to do. That’s something else I’ve been learning about myself.
When I started the current remodel project, I knew I was going to be working 7 days a week for about 6 weeks. It’s a long stretch, but I knew there would be an end date, and things would get back to normal afterwards. However, I also knew that I would need some time off to recover, rest and refresh. But, I know that there are always things that need to be tweaked after a big install like that. Sure, we’ll be fully functional this coming weekend (when we open the new space), but there will be system processors to adjust, lights to program or re-focus, and probably some networking to do.
It would be really easy for me to plan to take time off, but end up coming in “for a few hours” on one of those early days off “just to finish a few things.” And since I will be back in my office, looking at the mountain of paperwork I need to get done, I’d come in the next day to work on that, “just for a little bit to catch up.” Before you know it, I’d be back to work, having never fully rested.
This time around, I decided I needed some motivation to actually take the time off. So, during the first week of the project, I booked a flight to a favorite city. I started to plan the things I wanted to do and see. I booked a rental car and hotel, and planned to stay with some friends. This serves two purposes. First, it gives me something to look forward to. As I was getting up for the 38th straight day in a row, knowing that I was just a few weeks away from being able to enjoy some time in the woods by myself was most encouraging.
Second, it ensures that I will actually take the time off. I can’t go in to the office if I’m not in the same state. I booked my flight for my 4th day off; that gives me time to sleep in, rest and take some naps before I head off. But just about the time I’d be tempted to head in to “check on things,” I’ll be boarding a plane.
This is all about establishing some boundaries. I know we are short-handed right now so my ATD, Jon, will bear the brunt of that on his own those two weekends I’m gone. But he’s fully capable of making it happen. There will be paperwork that I won’t get done until I get back, and accounting will have to live with that. A few things will go unfinished for a few weeks, but that’s OK. I need to get healthy again before I return.
I know all of this because I’ve not done this in the past, and it’s cost me dearly. Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe it’s important we get to know ourselves, and our weaknesses so that we can plan for them and protect ourselves. Of course, my weaknesses may not be yours, and you need to figure out what you need to learn about yourself to be most productive and healthy.
Do that, and you will stand a much greater chance of staying with this gig for a long time to come.