Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: March 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Successful Speaker Demos Pt. 3

Photo credit, Duke Dejong

Photo credit, Duke Dejong

Over the last two posts, I’ve detailed how we ran our new PA demonstration in such a way so that our leadership go it. I want to reiterate a few things and point out some concepts that my be helpful to those of you lobbying for a similar upgrade. 

Do You Hear What I Hear?

No. They don’t. Like I’ve said before, we tend to think everyone is like us. But they’re not. As technical artists, we are unique. We hear things that the average person—congregant or leader—doesn’t hear. That’s our job. But just because they can’t hear it doesn’t mean they’re not perceiving it. We’ll get to that in a moment. 

But it’s important to realize that they won’t be able to hear a 3 dB dip at 4KHz. So don’t try to point it out. They have no idea what you’re talking about. Trying to explain that the new PA will make the music more awesome probably won’t win you the support you’re looking for, either. 

Is It Clear?


Ask your pastor if they would like their message to be clear. The answer will of course be a resounding yes. Now, ask him if he wants the congregation to be able to hear him clearly. The answer will also be yes. However, if your PA makes it difficult or impossible for the congregation to clearly hear what he’s saying, you have a  problem. It’s like this graphic above. On the left, we see clear, direct sound. On the right, we see some direct sound, and a lot of reflections. Which is easier to read? Which is going to be easier to hear. 

You have to be able to demonstrate that concept clearly for your pastor. The best way is to design (or have designed) a system that will generate minimal reflections in your room, and have him try it. Once they get it, you then may have to explain some simple psycho-acoustic principles for them.

Reflections are Exhausting

Imagine trying to read an entire book typeset like the one on the right. You could probably do it, but your eyes would be sore and your head tired by the time you finished. The same is true of listening to a ton of reflections in a large room. And while we may not be able to eliminate all reflections, we want to minimize them. 

There is a principle known as the Haas effect. The Haas effect states that a single reflection arriving between 5-30 milliseconds after the direct source can be up to 10 dB louder than the source and still not be heard as an echo. However, once you start exceeding 30 milliseconds, you start hearing echoes. In our room, for example, because our PA is pointed at the back wall (a bad, bad idea), our pastor gets a second copy of his voice about 180 msec. after he speaks, which is a distinct echo. As he teaches, his brain needs to filter that out. That’s exhausting.

Everyone in the audience also hears that echo, and it’s coming at them somewhere between 120-180 msec. as well. Again, exhausting to listen to. People may not be able to articulate it, but they do perceive it. 

Another issue with reflections is that they make the room feel bigger than it is. A very live room will feel cavernous, and when you’re trying to create a more intimate worship and teaching experience, the room is working against you. Minimize reflections with a properly designed PA and the room feels better. Our office manager said it best, “With that new system, the room feels like an intimate jazz club, not an empty aircraft hanger.”

Who wants to invite friends to an empty aircraft hanger? A proper PA will help your church grow. And remember, the best time to explain these principles is when you have both a good example (your demo of a proper PA) and a bad example (your old, lousy PA) in the room so you can switch between them. Even if your leadership can’t explain the difference between direct and reflected sound, they can feel it, and that will make all the difference.

Now, one last thing to clarify before someone writes to me telling me we shouldn’t eliminate all reflected sound. You’re right; we shouldn’t. Having church in an anechoic chamber would be very uncomfortable. However, we want to control the reflections, and we really want to keep sound from the speakers off the walls if at all possible. If you do that, the walls will be energized with the congregation singing, which will encourage them to sing louder and more engagingly. That’s what we want. Hopefully, that’s clear.

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

Successful Speaker Demos Pt. 2

Photo credit, Duke Dejong

Photo credit, Duke Dejong

Last time, we talked about how to demonstrate complex audio challenges in a way that the layman could understand. Today, we’ll take it a step further. Because we know that simply pointing out a problem is generally not enough motivation for solving it. We have to dig deeper and find out what is causing pain for our leaders. And once we find the pain, we can provide the solution. And, realize that they may not be aware of the pain—indeed, many of my leaders thought our system was just “normal.” They didn’t realize it could be so very much better.

Find the Pain Points

The message is the most important part of our service (not everyone’s service, our service). And I know speech in our room is terrible. But we have to remember that most everyone’s point of reference is our room. They don’t know any different, and figure this is just how it is. Of course as trained engineers, we can hear exactly what the problems are, but how to do we explain it? Again, we demonstrate.

I played some tracks of our pastor teaching through our PA, then switched to the proposed system. Because of the increased focus, almost everyone went, “Ah ha!” You could almost see the room getting brighter as the lightbulbs went on. But it wasn’t enough to make the sale.

Based on our room, I know it is really hard for our pastor to preach in there. He hears himself four times, which is exhausting. He may not know it, but as I talked about last week in my review of the Bose demo, having to filter out that many reflections wears one out. I knew if we were going to get a chance at funding this project, he needed to be on board. 

So I had him come up, put on his mic and stand on the platform. I had him start a message on our PA, then switched the Bose. Within about 6 words, he stopped and said, “OK, yeah, I hear that. That’s a big difference. No wonder I’m so exhausted on Sundays!” He put it together on his own. To be sure he was clear, I explained what he was experiencing. I also explained that it’s just as exhausting for our congregation to have to filter our 3 extraneous copies of his voice for 40 minutes. He got that.

I also brought up our Executive Pastor, who will sometimes do announcements. Even though he’s had three surgeries on his ears and didn’t get any of the other demonstrations, when he talked into the mic and I switched between systems, it took about 4 words before he said, “Oh wow…I hear that. I didn’t think I would, but I can really tell a difference.” 

Finally, our least technical, least critical listener heard the difference. I then proceeded to work with some musicians to demonstrate what they needed to hear, and answer questions. The one question that didn’t come up was, “How much.” And that’s just what I wanted.

Is It Sold?

When I originally wrote this post, the answer was no. However, now that I’m getting ready to post it, I can report back that the elders have voted unanimously to move forward with the project. So it looks like we’ll not only be hanging a new PA this summer, we’ll also be moving the tech booth to the floor and out of the balcony.

I really believe all the effort we put into creating a demo that everyone would get paid off. Each of our senior leaders has thanked me for the time and effort we put in, and acknowledged that there is a pretty big difference. All were grateful that I took the time to educate them on the problems we faced with our current system and how the new one would dramatically improve the feel in the room.

And that’s what I wanted. If you ever have the opportunity to do a speaker demo, try to get it brought in to your room so you can do a direct A/B comparison, and figure out what you need to do so your leadership will unequivocally hear the difference. They need to know it’s not just you and I complaining about some esoteric, subtle sound differences that only trained engineers can hear. A proper PA will help your church grow; they just need help to understand why. And it’s our job to help them get it.

Today’s post is brought to you by the Roland R-1000. The R-1000 is a multi-channel recorder/player ideal for the V-Mixing System or any MADI equipped console or environment. Ideal for virtual sound checks, multi-channel recording, and playback.

Church Tech Weekly Episode 140: Extroverts Need Quiet Moments, Too


Where to you go after you’ve been a TD for a while? For some, it’s a new career; for others, it’s into a creative director mode. We talk about that, along with some ideas on leading technical people and structuring the department.


This post is brought to you by Shure Wireless. The new ULX D Dual and Quad wireless systems feature RF Cascade ports, a high density mode with significantly more simultaneous operating channels and bodypack diversity for mission critical applications. Visit their website at Shure.com.

Successful Speaker Demos Pt. 1

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to demo a new speaker system in our auditorium. Our existing PA is not great; well let me rephrase that. It’s a decent PA that is completely wrong for our room, and is installed wrong. Of the 12 boxes (6 per side), 8 of them are pointed at walls, not at people. That leads to a highly reverberant sound field (something you’ve heard me talk a lot about lately), with minimal direct sound. The end result is that it’s very hard to hear, and we need to run music a lot louder than we should to try to overcome the reverb. 

Photo credit, Duke Dejong

Photo credit, Duke Dejong

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to demonstrate the benefits of a proper system to our church’s leadership. I think this gets overlooked too often; and quite frankly, it’s a flaw in our thinking. As humans, we naturally tend to think everyone is like us. It’s a normal misconception. We assume that because we can obviously hear the difference between our old, crappy PA and the new great-sounding one, that everyone else will be able to as well. Bad news; it ain’t necessarily so. 

Play Music, But Don’t Stop There

Most speaker demos I’ve been to consist of a select group of carefully chosen tracks that make the proposed PA sound good. This is a valid test, but only for the engineers and musicians in the group. The average person will not likely be able to differentiate between differences in speaker systems—at least not on a conscious level. We played music on both our house system and new proposed one, and when I polled the audience, most of them said they really didn’t hear that much of a difference. Yes, the new one sounded a little more clear, but it wouldn’t have been enough to make the sale.

One of the major issues we have in our room is comb filtering; in fact it’s so bad that we have 12-18 dB variations between 2-4K from seat to seat. I can hear the collective groan coming from you, my dear readers. However, when I explain that to our leadership, here’s what they hear, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, 12-18 blah, blah, blah, blah…” It means nothing to them. So we had to demonstrate it.

We fired up some pink noise at a moderate level and I had them walk the room. Almost everyone could hear the sound changing dramatically as they walked down the center aisle, and down a row. I fact, I had them wobble back and forth down the center aisle and I could watch almost all of them get what we were demonstrating. When we switched to the proposed PA, everyone went, “Ahhh, I hear what you’re saying. I don’t understand it, but I hear it.” 

I followed that up with an explanation of the implications of such varied listening experiences. But even that wasn’t enough. Next time, we’ll talk about using creating compelling demonstrations that even the non-audio person will hear and realize the benefits of. 

Today’s post is brought to you by Heil Sound. Established in 1966, Heil Sound Ltd. has developed many professional audio innovations over the years, and is currently a world leader in the design and manufacture of large diaphragm dynamic, professional grade microphones for live sound, broadcast and recording.

Today’s post is also brought to you by Bose Professional. Sound solutions from Bose Professional Systems Division provide places of worship with full, natural music and clear, intelligible speech. The custom designed systems blend easily into your designs. Hear the reviews of the new RoomMatch speakers and PowerMatch amplifiers.

Bose RoomMatch Demo

Last week I got to hear the RoomMatch system again—but this time is was hanging in my room right alongside my PA. And boy, wast that fun! Bose brought in the center hang of a three-cluster system we’ve designed so we could easily hear the difference and see how RoomMatch sounds in our room. To say the difference was astounding may be an understatement; though to be fair, our system is about as poorly designed as you can get (8 of the twelve speakers are hung so as to be pointing toward walls…).


After spending a few hours dialing the system in, we started playing back some of our tracks, then comparing it to what we have now. The difference was clear; our current PA basically creates a huge reverberant sound field, with almost no direct sound, and the RoomMatch creates a clean and clear direct sound field with almost no reverberant field. While music sounded better on RoomMatch, the biggest difference was in the spoken word.

One of the things I’m constantly trying to explain to non sound people is the psycho-acoustic principles of how we perceive sounds. I try to find ways to make it easy for them to understand, but sometimes you just have to demonstrate it. So I did. In addition to playing back the recording of our pastor speaking through both PA’s, I also had him come up and try his mic from his preaching position. 

Our current system has a really nasty 190 msec. bounce-back off the back wall that comes back to the platform almost as loud as the initial sound, which is heard as a distinct echo. And since the PA is actually slightly behind the teaching position, he hears himself say the words, then he hears them out of the PA, then he hears them come back off the back wall, then it comes back again after it’s bounced off the side walls a few times. 

After we switched him over to the RoomMatch, he said, “Oh yeah, I can hear that. That’s a lot better.” And even before I could point it out, he said, “No wonder I’m so exhausted on Sunday.” Which is exactly correct. When our brain has to filter out all those reflections, it’s like rendering a video in the background on your computer while you’re checking e-mail. The CPU starts working hard, the fan spins up and everything slows down. 

By putting all the acoustic energy into the seats (which, incidentally is where people sit) and not on the walls, speaking becomes a lot easier. The difference for the audience is significant as well. Rather than trying to filter out all those reflections during the message, you just here his voice—loud and clear—right in front of you. Again, it’s a lot less tiring. And we really don’t want our people to be exhausted after the message—they should be fired up!

The thing I think Bose has done better than almost anyone is develop a great pattern control system. When you go out of the patten of the speaker, it really dies off. And because they have 24 boxes to choose from (each with a different horizontal and vertical coverage pattern), they can customize a system to almost any room. I also like that they cross over to the horns a 550 Hz, which keeps the crossover network out of the vocal clarity range. Vocals are super-clean on RoomMatch, both speech and singing. Again, for the church, this is a big deal. 

Having heard the system in several demos over the last year or so, I continue to be impressed with it. I’ve recommended the system to our leadership, and time will tell if they’re willing to spend the dough on it or not. But one thing is for sure, no one left the demonstration I did for them with any doubt that RoomMatch would be a exponential improvement over our current system. 

For more on the RoomMatch system, you can read my earlier review of the speakers and amps here and here.

Today’s post is brought to you by GearTechs. Technology for Worship is what they do. Audio, video and lighting; if it’s part of your worship service, and it has to do with technology, GearTechs can probably help. Great products, great advice, GearTechs.

Today’s post is also brought to you by BargeHeights. Bargeheights offers cost effective lighting and LED video gear for churches. Coupled with unique visual design, Bargeheights transforms worship venues of all sizes.

Never Without a Story

Photo courtesy of  Lall

Photo courtesy of Lall

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of story. A few weeks ago, I was reading through Mark, and the word “story” kept jumping off the page. 

“He taught by using stories, many stories.” Mark 4:2

“He was never without a story when he spoke.” Mark 4:34

When we read the Gospels, it’s pretty clear that Jesus was a big fan of stories. I believe He told stories because He realized that people learn better that way. It’s much easier to convey complex truths using story than it is to simply try to explain it. The best preachers I know use a lot of stories as well. Stories keep the audience engaged, and can powerfully illustrate the point. 

Some argue that stories water down the message and cheapen the Gospel. I don’t think that has to be the case. Certainly, one could water down the Gospel using stories, but one doesn’t have to. They are not mutually exclusive And as a communicator, don’t you want your audience to stay engaged? 

Now don’t worry, this hasn’t become Sermon Weekly. There is an application for us as Technical Artists. Many TDs I know have the opportunity to speak into the weekend service process. Are we using that opportunity to promote story? Can we clearly define the story we want to tell during a weekend service? How can we further the telling of story using the technology that we are masters of? 

If we have the opportunity to help develop the telling of stories to advance the message of the Gospel, why wouldn’t we do that? Learning to tell a story is a crucial communications skill. But let’s make it more personal than that.

Vision Through Story

How about casting vision with your teams? Do you use story to help your volunteer and staff teams get the why behind the how every week? How can you use story to continually reinforce the vision of what you’re doing? 

We know that generally people don’t like to be lectured. We also know that millennials like to know what works. So why not use stories. When you hear a story about someone in your congregation whose life was changed due to the ministry of the church, do you relate that story to your team? What better motivator is there than being part of changing lives? 

Notice how Jesus communicates very esoteric concepts like, oh, Heaven, to the people he spoke with. “The Kingdom of heaven is like…” And on He went with a story. Try explaining concepts like direct versus reverberant sound fields to a financial guy. If you go all technical with him, his eyes will glaze over and he will check out halfway through your very detailed (though probably accurate) description. 

But comparing sound to water being sprayed from a hose is another matter. Imagine spraying a stream of water at a wall; what’s going to happen? Water will go everywhere. Spray enough water at the walls and everyone in the room will get sprinkled, but no one will get wet directly. However, consider how much more efficient it is to spray water right at the people. Suddenly a complex subject is easily visualized. 

Everyone has sprayed water onto a hard surface and seen what happens. Not everyone can visualize how sound waves interact with a room. 

The use of story has so many implications. When you’re trying to communicate with someone, remember that. I figure it this way; Jesus was God Himself and He had to use stories. Why would I not do the same?

Today’s post is brought to you by CCI Solutions. With a reputation for excellence, technical expertise and competitive pricing, CCI Solutions has served churches across the US in their media, equipment, design and installation needs for over 35 years.

Seeds 2013 Recap 3

One of the best breakout sessions I attended during  the conference was let by Whitney George. Whit is responsible for everything that happens during a service at Church On The Move. And I mean everything. He is the man with final decision making authority; and he’s cultivated so much trust with the senior pastor (who happens to be his father) that Pastor Willie George didn’t even know what was going to happen during the opening session until he sat through it with the rest of us. So yeah, there’s some good stuff here…


Whitney George—Church On The Move

“You need a singular vision for your service.”

Too many churches have multiple visions for their services. The pastor has one idea, the worship leader another, the tech director another, the kids pastor another still. For the service to be as effective as it can be, there needs to be one vision, and that vision has to be shepherded by one person. Whit said, “Steve Jobs didn’t build the phone you wanted; he built the phone he thought you should have.” We have to develop a singular vision, believe in that vision, and execute the vision—even if that means changing the structure of our team to do so. 

“Trust is the breeding ground for creativity.”

Trust is essential to the creative process. And we have to have trust in three areas; Competency, Chemistry and Character. We need to trust that the people we work with are competent—excellence attracts excellent people. We need to get along with the people we work with. It’s important to realize that creative people can become attached to their ideas. But it’s also important to remember that as a creative, you are more than your ideas. Your identity is in Christ, not your ideas. As to character, we’re talking of morals, but it’s more than that. You want people who are sold out to the the church they work in, not holding their best stuff back for their demo reel. 

“Don’t just ask ‘how,’ ask ‘why?’”

When things aren’t going well, we tend to ask why. But when things are firing on all cylinders, we tend to ask how. We go to a church conference and ask, “How do you do this?” What we should be asking is, “Why do you do this?” 

This is a little sidebar, but here’s an example. Why does COTM do video announcements? Well, because when you’re on stage, you have to justify your reasons for being there. That’s why they go on for so long, and why it can get so awkward. That doesn’t happen with video announcements. They’re not saying everyone should do video announcements but that’s why they do them.

“Do less to do more.”

“Churches could really step up the quality of what they do by cutting out about half of what they currently do.”  One of the reasons COTM doesn’t do much beyond weekend services is because they want to do what they do really, really well. It’s easy to get distracted on a bunch of different new initiatives and neglect the one thing you do every week. Sometimes, we put so much energy into Christmas, Easter or VBS that we turn the other 49 weekends a year into dull, lifeless experiences. Manage that better, and your church will be better off.

“There is no magic behind the magic.”

When we see things that are really fantastic, we tend to think that the process that created the thing is just as magical as the thing it’s not. But that’s not true—the thing is the result of really hard work. At COTM, they don’t work until it’s done they work until it’s right. 

I observed this first-hand. We got to sit in on that last rehearsal for the first session. I watched them run a transition about 6-8 times until it was right. How many times do we practice a couple of songs, never considering how we get from one to another, then just mash them together during the service? They worked at it until it was right. And it made a big difference.

Again, I could go on, but that’s the gist of Whit’s message. If you don’t already, I suggest you subscribe to the Seeds blog; there is a wealth of material there. More next time…

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

Seeds 2013 Recap 2

Continuing our series from Seeds, today we’ll be digging into some great quotes from Marty Sklar of Disney. Marty has been the leader of the Imagineers for 50 years. Think about that for a minute; he was part of the team that developed Disney World in Orlando, as well as the other sites around the world. What has he seen and learned over those 50 years? Well, let’s find out. He actually had forty commandments in various disciplines, but I won’t even attempt to go through them all.


Marty Sklar—Disney Imagineer

“Communicate with visual literacy. Color, shape, form, texture are all keys to communicating. Pay close attention to color relationships.” 

We’ve probably all seen color clashes that are visually jarring. But are we guilty of that in our churches? What does the color on the walls say about who we are as a church? Do we color-coordinate well? Do we color-code things so people know where they are? Do we match the color of our graphics with the color of our lights (or make sure they compliment)? Do we use the right textures for the moment? What is our language of color and texture and is it consistent church-wide? These are all questions worth asking (and even better when you answer them).

“Avoid overload. Don’t give your audience too much information. Remember, they’re not contestants on Jeopardy; you only have a few seconds to gain their attention. Make them want to know more.” 

Too often, preachers and program people want to tell the entire story of the Bible in one 60 minute service. Not only is that impossible, it’s a huge turn-off for people. The Bible is full of mystery and depth, there is no way to “recap” it. Find a singular thought, develop it well, and leave the congregation anxious to learn more (then give them a way to find out more).

This applies to announcements, too. I’ve seen graphic slides (and the accompanying verbiage) go into excruciating detail about a given event. Give people the name, date and time along with a brief description. Then give them a way to learn more. Please… 

“Tell one story at a time. Create a story line that holds together from the first idea to the last.” 

A lot of churches are guilty of telling too many stories at once. I’ve observed that the best ones have a consistent, singular story that they keep telling over and over. Every ministry reinforces that story, and every service re-tells that story. The story can be different for every church, but it should be consistent once you get there. 

“Keep it up. Maintain it.”

Have you ever seen a candy wrapper on the ground at a Disney park? Probably not. There are two reasons for this. First, they have a veritable army of grounds keepers that pick things up quickly and efficiently. Second, because the grounds are so neat and clean, you unconsciously learn not to throw your trash on the ground because it would be offensive to spoil the immaculate grounds. 

When you walk into a church that is dirty, not maintained, and generally unkept, you unconsciously come to the conclusion that these people are not serious about what they believe. Constant mistakes in production lead to the same conclusion. 

“People can feel perfection. They may not be able to articulate it, but they can feel it.” -Walt Disney

This goes back to the unconscious perceptions we generate. We’ve had plenty of discussions on perfection versus excellence versus doing your best and I’m not going to go into all that here. But consider the implication of Walt’s words on what we do.

That’s just a smattering of the first 10 commandments Marty shared with us. He had a lot more, but it’s time to move on.

I was going to re-cap Whitney George’s breakout session in this post as well, but then I looked at my notes again. Yeah, no way to recap that in this post, so you’re going to have to wait until Monday. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Today’s post is brought to you by GearTechs. Technology for Worship is what they do. Audio, video and lighting; if it’s part of your worship service, and it has to do with technology, GearTechs can probably help. Great products, great advice, GearTechs.

Seeds 2013 Recap 1

Last week, Van and I had the immense privilege to attend the Seeds Conference. I’ve spent the last few days processing what I learned and trying to figure out how to re-cap some of the things I took away from it. The more I thought of it, I decided that it would be nearly impossible to condense twenty hours of sessions down to a few pithy posts. So here’s what I’m going to try; I’m going to go through my copious notes and pull out some of the quotes that really struck me. I don’t now how long this will take, but there is gold here, trust me. Ready, set, go!


Session 1—Steven Furtick, Elevation Church

“It’s not a competition, it’s a calling.”

“We need to stop comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ with everyone else’s ‘highlight reel.’”

Wow. How often do we compare what we are doing to the church down the street or across the country. We’re not in competition with each other; we’re called to do what we do. It’s an amazing privilege and we should consider it thus.

“The people that God uses in the greatest ways don’t have the best of everything, but they make the most of everything they have.”

I’ve been guilty of thinking, “Well sure, that church can do that, they have all the best gear.” But we know it’s not about gear, it’s about what we do with what we have. And we’d do well to be grateful for whatever it is we do have, and make the most of it, trusting God to fill in the gaps (and being God, He can probably handle that…).

“We’re not going to get to heaven and find that the people who were ‘just’ volunteer, or ‘just’ greeters or ‘just’ production people will be at the back of the line. In fact, they may be in front.” 

That is a real encouragement to me, how about you?

“I will not stand in front of God and give an account for our our pastor led (or didn’t lead) the church. But I will, however, give an account for how I did what I was called to do.” 

Ouch. Because we’re process guys (and gals), and because we know how to lead and get things done, it’s tempting to think we could do a better job at leading the church. That is not our calling, however. And if it is for you, go become a lead pastor. The technical arts is a support role, and we’ll perform that role better if we’re supporting the lead pastor, not criticizing his leadership.

Furtick was great and there was a lot more, but we’ll move on. 

Session 2—Willie George, Church On The Move

“There is no victory without a strategy. Nobody ever won a victory without a strategy. Everyone’s strategy will be different, but you need a strategy.”

“There is a difference between ground-gaining and ground-maintaining.”

Pastor George was talking in larger terms about the church, but I think this applies to our ministry as technical artists as well. As technical leaders we need to have a strategy to grow our ministry. Maybe that’s a strategy to procure new equipment so we can get more done. Maybe we need to grow our volunteer base or better train the ones we have. Whatever the case, we need a strategy. Simply maintaining is not a winning strategy. We need to develop a strategy, and start working it, taking ground continually. That is how we will grow our ministry and our influence.

“You are not the first one to do what you are doing. If you have a problem borrowing things, you have an ego problem. Learn how to borrow from other people.”

One of the best parts of writing this blog and doing ChurchTechWeekly is that I get to talk to a big range of people who are smarter than I. When I do that, I learn things and continually appropriate great ideas. Many of the things you read about in this blog were originally lifted from someone else. They are often adapted and changed to meet my needs, but I borrow a lot. Sometimes, I even give credit for it. Don’t feel like you need to constantly re-invent the wheel. Learn what you can from others, take their ideas and make them your own. You’ll get a lot more done.

“We don’t use our people to build the church. We use the church to build our people.”

At first blush, those things sound the same, but they’re very different. The reason I want volunteers in my technical ministry is not so that I can have a bigger ministry (which should lead to a bigger church), it’s because I want bigger volunteers. I want to see my volunteers (and staff, for that matter) grow into who God has designed them to be. By working in the church, using their gifts and being used by God, they will become great men and women of faith. Pouring into the lives of my teammates is the most significant thing I can do.

“You can do anything you want if you just cut it into steps. We get it in our head that we can’t celebrate until we get to the top. But we have to celebrate and be happy with what we have and where we are today. Don’t minimize the steps; rejoice in every one.”

I had a discussion with one of our video directors recently. He was lamenting that our video team wasn’t quite where would like to be yet. I reminded him that we have made significant progress over the last few years, and our video looks better than it ever has. No, we’re not “there” yet, but I still want to celebrate how far we’ve come. Don’t fall into the trap of grinding on people until you reach the mythical “there” point. Celebrate when they improve and reach the next level.

OK, that’s it for this round. But don’t worry, there is more to come. Also, I want to note that the quotes may not be exact quotes. I’m highlighting what I wrote, which is pretty close to what the speakers said. I’m trying to convey the concepts as best as I could capture them (so don’t write to complain that I mis-quoted them, OK?). More next time…

Today’s post is brought to you by Sennheiser.
For more than 60 years, the name Sennheiser has been synonymous with top-quality products and tailor-made complete solutions for every aspect of the recording, transmission and reproduction of sound.

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