Evaluation and Change

A few years back, I wrote a post about being a life long learner. This has always been a driving force in my life. I want to learn something new every day. My favorite days are when I have the opportunity to solve hard problems as well as learn something new. I know that seems like a very lofty goal, but it doesn’t have to be something big, it just needs to be something. We are not trying to prove one of Einstein’s theories each day, it could be as simple as a new keyboard shortcut that makes things easier.

I spent the first part of my professional career in the IT world, which provided lots of opportunities to learn and grow, but eventually I felt that I hit a point where my growth was getting limited. About twelve years ago, I left the IT world and started serving on a church staff. That role also provided many opportunities to learn and the amount of growth I experienced was immeasurable. While the growth in live production came quickly and easily at first, as my time in that field lengthened, the opportunities for growth became harder and tended to be more focused on leadership. Leadership is definitely an area where I had room to grow and didn’t have a lot of experience. However, you can’t really accelerate learning and growing in leadership by just working harder. Leadership growth takes time and patience and surrender.

For about the past year and a half I have been in a time of evaluation. When you go through that process you have things that you have to let go of and new directions get set. If I’m honest with myself, I have been battling letting go of my opportunities to grow technically and embracing a leadership focused direction. On top of that, I have been noticing the loss of talent and experince in the church production community and I didn’t want to contribute to that. However as I continued to evaluate, I realized that my efectiveness had been diminished and I was not going to be able to take my church to the next level. A change was needed.

Looking back, I realize that this road I have been on is a path that many church production guys end up walking. I know in my case I have such a heart for the Church, but found myself in a place where I felt that I was unable to improve myself or my church. I would bet that many of my fellow church techs have felt the same at some point. As I learn more about how God has made me, I realize that I was not done growing technically. I just needed to pass on my old dream to someone else and embrace a new one. One of my beliefs is that change is not hard, but I’m learning that change requires releasing a dream. This has not been an easy road, but I know all will be better in the long run.


Snow ShovelKind of sounds like a word that I made up, but it is not. Do you watch Food Network at all? Now come on men you don’t have to surrender your “man” card if you do. I love the show Good Eats and Alton Brown uses the term unitaskers all of the time. He doesn’t think a kitchen tool should only have one purpose. This got me thinking about my production environment and how many unitaskers we have.

I have attached a picture of a snow shovel or is it just a snow shovel? When we moved to NC it would snow on occasion, but I never wanted to pay for a snow shovel for the one to two times a year it would snow until I saw a neighbor use it as a dust pan. Might be the best dust pan I have ever used. Now it has value beyond the single task, I can own it. Of course I live in Southeast TX now and it has become a unitasker again, for now.

At churches we have lots of unitaskers, could be buildings, tech gear, volunteer positions. Sure there are times that you have to have unitaskers, but with some thought or changes could they be used for more? Let me share some examples from my world.

Do you have any wireless systems with only hand helds? Seems like it makes sense that you would have a handheld mic dedicated for solos or the worship pastor. What happens when VBS hits and all you need is headsets or lapels? It costs a little more to add the body pack, but think of the flexibility it adds. We have used them as guitar packs, drama mics, countryman on a violinist for a specials. I think that it is crazy to get a wireless with out both. Multiple times a year we use packs on channels we thought would be dedicated to handheld use.

We have yet to add a dedicated recording console in our worship environment, but I would make sure that I added a vocal booth or maybe even a larger room for doing voice overs/over dub/general recording as well and connect it to the recording console. Why should that be dedicated to doing a service mix only. The same applies to a dedicated video studio how could the equipment in your worship environment be leverage for the creative video work you do. This could be as simple as keeping a few backdrops in the worship center for shooting green screen or other types of shots. You already have the cameras, lighting systems and recording equipment. Would it be the most optimal? Maybe not, but it would be a good use of the equipment that that sits idle other than service times.

We are adding a stage camera next budget year and the camera we have budgeted for is not a studio only camera. I wanted something that could be used standalone for remote shoots or creative video projects. Adding a stage camera will also add a volunteer position that I think we can cover by the training the stage manager that has no responsibility during the worship section of the service. I don’t know about you, but volunteers can be harder to get sometimes than the money for new equipment.

I have two MacPro CG systems sitting in the worship center that are quad core Intels with a Declink Extreme capture cards for ProPresenter with Alpha channel. Great setup, but is that not also a video editing system? Why not have someone do video editing on them during the week? In our case it is pretty expensive to have someone work in the worship center due to a/c and lighting costs, but if you have a video booth that is out of the main room why not leverage this equipment for video editors. At the very least, I plan on setting them up as render nodes when the room is cool enough in the winter.

I could go on and on with examples, but you get the idea. We are spending money given to us by our Lord, it is not our money. We can’t totally eliminate unitaskers from our environments, but especially in financial times like we are in now we need to spend our money and use our resources wisely. Down with unitaskers!!!!