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Leadership
We know that just because you are gifted in what you do, it doesn’t mean that planning, rehearsals and team meetings happen automatically. Even with all that hard work, we know we get a lot more credit for the work and thank you notes than you do.

What a Lead Pastor Always Wanted to Say to the Tech Team (But Rarely Has)

We know you are skilled, and that you go over every setting, cue sheet and transition you can, but in reality, sometimes the microphone is not on or there is a bit of feedback somewhere.

Life is busy.

We all know this.

You know God knows how hard you are scrambling this week, but do you ever feel like God is the only one who notices?

Especially during this time of year.

Our enormous to-do lists include tech rehearsals, team meetings, cue sheets to review and Christmas messages to prepare. All of this is in preparation for a single day or services, knowing full well the relentless weekly pace doesn’t stop on Christmas day, because the next Sunday is always around the corner.

In this ministry craze, it is easy to be so focused on the events, production value and content of what we are called to do, that our relationships tend to take a back seat.

Whether you are a lead pastor or a member of the church’s tech team, allow me to ask you a few personal questions.

How are things with your soul these days?

Are you staying afloat?

You know God knows how hard you are scrambling this week, but do you ever feel like God is the only one who notices?

 I’ve had the blessing of serving as both part of a tech team and lead pastor in a church, and therefore have experienced both the joys and the heartaches of both roles.

As a tech director, you may at times feel that you work incredibly hard for everything to go seamlessly, but it is the people on stage who get all the thanks.

As a pastor, you are surely running 100 miles per hour, crawling your way past Christmas Eve, only to realize that when all is said and done, you never stopped by the tech director’s office to ask them how they are doing. I know I’ve been guilty of that in the past, which led me to ask the question, what are the things a lead pastor always wants to say to the tech team, but for some reason rarely does?

So, dear tech directors and tech teams, I know this is going to sound presumptuous, as I can only speak for myself, but this Christmas, allow me to offer these words on behalf of lead pastors everywhere.

We know you work hard, very hard.

We know there is no button on any computer marked with the words “create Toy Story.”

We know every slide takes time to create.

We know every mix takes time to get just right.

We know that just because you are gifted in what you do, it doesn’t mean that planning, rehearsals and team meetings happen automatically.

Even with all that hard work, we know we get a lot more credit for the work and thank you notes than you do.

We absolutely know that’s just not right.

It is not right, nor should we be thanked more, just because we can see people’s faces while you see the back of their heads. We are a people whose tradition strongly believes we are all members of the same body with Christ as its head.

Paul made it very clear to the Corinthians that we all play a critical role in the body of Christ. He reminded them that those who teach are not more valuable than those who prophecy, or those who give guidance, or those who calibrate lights, adjust the gain on the console, or who wrap cables at the end of worship. (1 Co 12: 28-29)

We want you to know that your role is also a priestly role. You search the flock for the best lamb, video and mix, and present it on behalf to the people as an offering to God.

What you do is a holy thing.

We know that as pastors we are constantly creating impossible deadlines. We try not to, but we are very aware we do this constantly.

I’m sure you’ve all received that late Friday afternoon email, asking you for a quick video for this Sunday. Something that will set up the sermon.

In such a request, we say things like “nothing complicated really. Maybe just a three-minute simple man on the street interview (what an awfully exclusive term by the way), with snappy music playing in the background. Oh, and add some cool 3D titles while you’re at it. We need for it to look good.”

We know we’re awful about this.

We know we ask for an Avengers-style disintegration effect, because we just saw the movie. And we know how amazingly gracious you are, as you propose alternatives when what you really want to say to us is, “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

We want you to know that it’s OK not to get it right every single time.

We know you are skilled, and that you go over every setting, cue sheet and transition you can, but in reality, sometimes the microphone is not on or there is a bit of feedback somewhere, the video takes a bit longer to start or is jumpy, and yes, the blue screen of death may even show up in the middle of a song set.

Of course, it is really hard to hide a tech meltdown when it happens, and all glitches should be debugged at some point, but we want you to know that we believe worship is more important than production, that community is more important than polished transitions, and that, thanks be to God, our salvation does not depend on getting it right every single time.

I have always believed that our calling is for excellence.

Not for perfection.

In my book, perfection is what God does.

Excellence is defined by the absolute best we can do, with what we have been given. In other words, our calling is to present to God our absolute best with our skills, deadlines, guidance, equipment, and care of self.

Only God can get it perfect.

We just need to push for excellence and offer grace when we fall short.

Dear tech director and tech team: There is so much we want to say to you, but above all, we want to thank you.

We think we say it enough, but we know we don’t even come close to saying it as often as we should.

Not even close.

What you do matters greatly.

Without you, the Good News of God’s love would literally not be heard past the third row this Christmas Eve.

Thank you for saying “yes” to God’s call in your life.

Thank you for saying “yes” to God’s call in our churches.

Thank you for the countless of unsung hours you put in front of screens or behind stages and chancels.

Thank you for giving us grace, when we forget to say thank you.

Our prayer is that during this hectic Christmas, you may have moments when all the sliders, screens, cameras, and lights fade into the background, and that you catch a glimpse of the one who came into this world to make all things new, and who loves you more than life itself.

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