The missing link

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This article was originally published at ChurchProduction.com

I am looking for the missing link. Not the infamous key to connecting humans to monkeys or squids or whatever. I am looking for that missing connection that can make or break a service and sometimes an entire ministry.

There are certain critical elements involved in a successful service or event. No matter what kind of tech work you are involved with, we have to operate with some mutual respect. Without it, forget effective communication and presentation.

The tendency is for the people on stage to view the techs like subhumans, moving around in the shadows. Living off coffee and stale doughnuts. Able to speak only in grunts and techno-Greek. Laughing at things normal humans don’t understand.

Then there’s the tech guys, and their opinion of the folks on stage. Mindless zombies. Air headed clowns who barely understand which end of a microphone to sing into. So proud of their talent, but clueless about the things on stage that really matter.

Sometimes, both sides have an opinion about the pastor or worship leader. That guy who makes a great front man, but won’t take two minutes to figure out my last name. The one who just wants to hog the spotlight and keep us beneath him. We love him and support him, but wish he would do things differently. I think that’s also why Van Halen split up. Great front man, detached from the rest of the band.

Not every church or crew thinks like this. But, there are plenty that do. My career placed me in a lot of churches over the years. I worked with pastors, teachers, evangelists and musicians in hundreds of churches across the country. These type attitudes are much more common than anyone wants to admit. There is a big chunk of respect missing from most of these operations.

Yeah. You guys who have been reading my stuff for a while may have opinions about my version of respect. It’s there. I take production work very serious. Especially within the church. Some people are just determined to find something to be offended about. My people skills have never been very good. I have a tendency to open my mouth and say things in a way that makes sense to me, disregarding how obnoxious it comes out. The sensitive and politically correct don’t like me. They form opinions really quick. They don’t last long in tech, either.

I will admit it. When it was show time, I had serious tunnel vision. My own mother might have gotten pushed aside while I was making things happen. There are still people out there, mad at me, because they tried to get my attention during a service and I wouldn’t give it to them. Sorry.

For us to have the solid respect for the other side, we have to understand we are on the same team. We are all working for a common mission. We are all different parts of the same body. We may have completely different jobs within the mission, but we are all moving toward a common goal.

Here’s a great way to see it, as told by a pastor I knew.

Imagine that you are a fireman. Within the confines of the firehouse, there’s a lot of work to do. Someone is the cook. Someone has to clean the truck. Someone is responsible for waxing floors. Another person gets to manage schedules and organize the crew.

Still imagining yourself in there? Do you see yourself finding a place and a job to do? Ok. Now, what is your job? Cleaning, managing, cooking… What do you see yourself doing? Got it? Wrong.

You are a fireman. Your job is to put out fires. Everything else is stuff that you do between fires. It’s stuff you do to enable you to put out fires more effectively. Everything else is support structure for the real work. Now, within the church, what is your job? Mixing, singing, preaching, whatever… They are all parts of the puzzle. Each part is there to complete the entire project. Each of us is enabling the church to fulfill the mission it is moving towards.

Overall, churches have similar missions. Seek and save the lost. Strengthen families. Feed the hungry. Build up leaders and expand the ministry. Read your mission statement. That’s the roadmap to take your church where it has decided to go.

We never quite get there unless we are on the same page. The ministries that honestly work together, where everyone knows their part, are always more effective.

Bringing the common goal into focus will help create respect. Recognizing your team and the mission will help create respect. Communication between the leadership, worship team and the tech crew is vital to developing that respect. That respect is your missing link.

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