What would you do if you were asked to take a lower position at a new job? God has asked that of me and I’m the better for it. I’m moving from a volunteer technical director position to a sound guy at another church. Here is the short version of what it’s been like…
Not long ago, I found myself wanting to work at a bigger church with a bigger tech crew. God had other plans. I wanted to work on advanced mixing systems and work with a larger crew. God wanted me to help a small church.
And so it happened. God recently placed my family at a small church. I’m not stepping in as a technical director. I’m stepping in as another sound guy. I’ve had bouts of “Really, God? Really?” However, those have passed and I’ve found it was the right move for several reasons as I’ll soon explain.
The downside of taking the lesser role
Oh, I’ll be honest; the first thing I did was think about what I was losing. Here is the short-list:
- Position of leadership. I would miss being the person that got the phone calls and the emails when problems came up. I would miss walking into the sanctuary and being the one people turn to for help and suggestions.
- My team. I would miss having my own team, my family. It’s great to be a sound guy on a team but there is a great feeling when you can say “that’s my team.“
And then of course there was a smidgen of fear. “What if their TD doesn’t like me? What if they micro-manage my mix?” The unknowns are always a little daunting.
The upside of the lesser role
The upside came down to one thing; less responsibility. As much as I love the added responsibility, it will be nice for a while to let some of it go. No more phone calls or emails about fixing things. No more scheduling responsibility.
The Real Benefits
Comparing the above upsides and downsides, it would be easy to say I’m losing ground. It’s hard going from the role of the technical director to being in any other position. And while it might be hard, at this time, it’s good.
It’s good for me to move out of the leadership role, for now, for several reasons;
- Less responsibility. Right now, I’m in the position where I’m on-call and could end up working on any given Sunday. While the call of technical artistry puts us in great positions of responsibility where we can enjoy using our skills, for a person with a family, it does mean we aren’t worshiping along side of them during the service.
- A new mentor relationship. Right now, I’m the guy with the most experience at my old church. Therefore, when it comes to looking for guidance then I’m limited to the online world. At the new church, I already have someone who has much more experience and wisdom than me. He and I worked a Saturday outdoor event together and I found a great respectful relationship.
- I can focus on serving. This is where my experience comes into play. The new church is at a place where they need another sound guy and they also need someone with some experience and wisdom as to how to take their production up a few notches. They have a good crew but career constraints really hamper their growth. It’s an all-volunteer crew. Coming in as a sound guy, I can provide a lot of what they need without the added responsibility of overseeing all audio and video production.
As of Now
Lately, I’ve been splitting my time between the two churches. In August, that comes to an end and I turn in my church keys at my old church. I have mixed a handful of times at the new church and they have been great experiences. But then comes the question I occasionally ask myself, “When can I move back to the technical director role?” Maybe it’s in His plans that I eventually do that at the new church. Maybe He is preparing me for working at a bigger church? All I can do is follow the path He sets before me and do the best I can in whatever role He has placed me.
The Take Away
I’m not sure I have a take away for you. This is my story and I hope there is some nugget of wisdom you can take from it. Moving out of a position of leadership is hard. And please know when I said I was moving to a “lesser role” that I wasn’t slighting the role of the sound tech. That’s still my favorite job. It’s a hugely important job. I was merely using that phrasing to explain the change.
Now that I think about it, I do have a take away for anyone who is planning on working behind the mixer at a new church; take a few hours to familiarize yourself with their system. On my calendar is a block of time for doing a brief inventory of all stage equipment (microphones, DI boxes, etc.), explore the system setup (how everything is wired together), and read up on the manuals for equipment in which I’m not familiar.
Viva the sound tech!