[Gurus 2013 in Review: Lincoln Brewster]
I’ll admit I had mixed feelings when Lincoln Brewster took to the stage. If mass media + musicians has taught me anything, it’s that I’d rather hear them sing than air their opinions. Lincoln is definitely an exception. It might be that he’s wiser than most musicians or that his Christianity is so front-and-center in his life that truth flows so easily from him. All I can say is I wasn’t prepared for his great insights on “a thriving ministry life.”
But He’s Lincoln Brewster
His topic for the Gurus of Technology session was “how to have a thriving ministry life.” Right…you sell albums, you go on tour, you play music for a living, and Lee Fields mixes FOH for you…your ministry life doesn’t get any better. And how will any of that relate to us techies?
There are two things you must know about Lincoln; he’s a techie at heart and he’s got a heart for God. Oh, and one other thing…he just might know the key questions to ask yourself if you really do want a thriving ministry life.
The Six Key Questions to Ask Yourself
1. “Do I still find joy in serving?”
If you don’t find joy in working in church tech production, either you need to re-ignite your fire and passion for the work or you need to stop serving. I’ve talked about avoiding ministry burnout but that isn’t the only case when the joy ends. You might feel you aren’t appreciated or you’re working with too many restrictions or not the right resources (see yesterday post). You might have fallen out of love with church production. That’s OK. For everything there is a season. When it comes down to it, you have to feel joy in your serving if you are to have a thriving ministry life.
2. “Is it in my heart to do the minimum required or be the best that I can be?”
Colossians 3:23 reads, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” If you see the mixer only as a volume controller, please step to the back of the line. If you desire to use church tech production to turn the vision of the worship leader into a reality, if you desire to use tech production to change lives, then you will strive to do the best you can.
3. “Do I have the pastor’s back?”
Pastor, worship leader, anyone providing leadership from the front of the sanctuary. I had to sit with this question for a while. Do I “have their back?” Yes, of course I’d support them or defend them. It’s something that Lincoln added, that got me thinking; “don’t criticism them.” I’ll posit that the three most important roles during a service are pastor, worship leader, and tech production. This is obvious when any of these three fail. So, if one of the people in one of these roles is openly critical of another, they are undermining that person’s authority and calling that person into question. A thriving ministry life is not one that regularly criticizes others.
4. “Is my home life in good shape?”
God->Family->Work. This order is tossed around but ask yourself if your order is more along the lines of Work->Family->God. Christian ministry is called Christian ministry because it’s serving others in His name. You can’t serve others effectively when you don’t have your own priorities in the right order.
5. “Am I playing good defense?”
In case the last question didn’t make you uncomfortable, consider what it means to play good defense.
- Do I worship stuff? Tech gear, your car, what is it in your life that you unnecessarily worship?
- Do I practice escapism? Am I so busy with my tech work that I put off aspects of the church service? For example, when did you last take communion?
- Have I become bitter in any area of my life? Bitterness evolves over time. A heart which holds bitterness is one that is wounded and in need of healing.
- Do I have any unhealthy relationships? Do you have any relationships which hinder or harm your family life, work life, or relationship with God?
- Have you given into cynicism? Consider cynicism as destructive sarcasm. Looking at any portion of your life or aspect of your church with a high degree of cynicism guarantees you are hindering your own ministry potential by placing limits on your potential.
- Do you work without worship? Lincoln’ discussion on this point reminded me of my article on the importance of worshiping outside of the time when you are serving on the tech team. Being part of a worshiping body is a blessing and a means of growth.
- Do you tithe? Do you think you’ll be blessed with a thriving ministry life if you aren’t giving God what he asks of you?
6. “Have I forgotten why I do this?”
Do you mix primarily because you love the equipment or because you want to serve (bless) the congregation? Have you lost the desire to do God’s work in place of viewing your work as a chore? Lincoln said it best on this point, “work without purpose is unsustainable.”
The End Game
Lincoln Brewster started his talk with one very important aspect of ministry; the end game is that people will come to know Christ. At every service there are open-minded unbelievers, new believers, those wavering in their faith, and the die-hard believers. You are ministering to each one so they experience an aspect of Christ they haven’t experienced before or that God desires them to experience at that moment. It just so happens you do it through technical production.
Yesterday, I mentioned an underlying theme of this conference. Todd Elliott gave his definition of the purpose of a technical team. Lincoln Brewster has spoken on the End Game of ministry and what you must consider if you truly desire having a thriving ministry life. Tomorrow, I’ll review Steve Carter’s talk on an aspect of the production ministry that affects you and your team. It binds you with Christ. It bonds you with your team. And it leads to this Friday’s post.
More information on Lincoln, check out LincolnBrewster.com.