Aiming for excellence has become a church tech mantra and it has to stop! This post will attract many comments on both sides but, I’ve never been one to shy away from a good, rousing discussion so here goes!
I’m guilty. I’ve written about constantly improving your knowledge and skill at audio engineering. I’ve talked about aiming for excellence, both with equipment and with your skill level. Numerous church tech blogs talk about the same thing, to the point where I’m beginning to get a little tired of hearing it. It’s become a church tech mantra.
We’ve become so focused on the “doing” that we’re forgetting about the “being.”
I live and breathe the church tech stuff. I’m happy when I’m learning something new or trying a new technique or playing with a new piece of gear. I like the technology side of what I’m fortunate to be able to do for a living. You’ll notice I didn’t say happiest or that I love it. There’s a reason for that.
I’m happiest when I’m in the booth and the worship team is belting it out, the congregation is fully engaged, the Holy Spirit is in the house, and the tech team is feeling it. I love the worship aspect and how God uses that to reach unreachable people. I’m constantly striving to better the experience. But that’s me and folks like Chris and the other folks that talk about it.
I sense a BIG problem.
I get the feeling the majority of techs in small churches feel inadequate. The reason being that you can agree on “excellence,” in principle, but you can’t make it into reality for a number of reasons. This goes for yourself or for your tech crew.
I’m here to say it’s okay to be okay or mediocre (as compared to the hotshots.) Relax and let the stress of keeping up with the Joneses disappear for a few minutes and let me ease your concerns.
First, not everyone in the church tech position has a desire or ability to learn more than they currently know. Learning audio production is a time-consuming and brain-intensive skill. Factor in the artistic feel needed for creating a really good sound and you’re narrowing down the amount of people that are truly able to get to that level.
Second, if you’re in the majority of audio volunteers who’ve been thrown into the deep end, PLEASE learn as much as you can. Don’t stress out if you hit a plateau. I’d rather have you enjoying worshiping God than feel less than adequate because you can’t do or understand half the things we talk about.
Know the basics
Having a basic knowledge of how the equipment works is pretty necessary. Having basic equipment that works satisfactorily is pretty necessary. Everything else is optional and nice-to-haves. The only thing that is required is that you try your best for Him and if your best is okay then that’s okay.
If excellence was easy to achieve then everyone would be excellent which would then make everyone average. It can become a vicious mistress when you are never satisfied with what you’ve accomplished. Don’t let this happen to you or your church.
Your equipment may not be the latest and greatest. Heck, the stuff you’re working on may have been built before you were even born! (Don’t laugh. I’m 55 and I’ve gone into churches that have equipment that was old 30 years ago!). But use what skills and equipment you have with pride and joy. After all, we’re serving a great big God who has never needed the best of anything to make Him happy!
Why you’re in the audio tech role
In the end, it’s not about doing audio in a church. It’s about being the church. God has you in the role that you’re in for reasons known only to Him. He put you into this situation for you to grow and enjoy it, not to be beat down and envious. Isn’t that great news? God wants you to enjoy yourself! Let go of the stress and the fear and go and worship Him!
[Note from Chris: Brian makes an excellent point about avoiding the mentality of never being satisfied with your accomplishments. Last week, my worship leader forwarded a bunch of positive comments about a recent church service. And guess what? I was never 100% satisfied with my mix that day. ]
QUESTION: How do you view the Excellence mantra? Any other thoughts on this post?