Thanks to the USA Network, I'm now addicted to the show NCIS. And yes, there is a direct relationship between the TV show and church worship production.
My last survey on the site asked one simple question; "Can your musicians properly wrap a cable?" 73%, or 112 of you said NO. "NO." That means "no, they can't." That means "no, they haven't been taught." And from what I'm reading and hearing from others, church volunteers are suffering from training and support and leadership. That means many church production crews are most likely in the same position as is so eloquently summarized in the following quote from NCIS:
Tony: Hey Boss. McGee said you wanted to see me. Actually, he said I was under house-arrest, but I figured that was just your way of making a point.
Gibbs: Do I need to tell you the name of the creek you're up without a paddle? Or how deep it is?
Tony: Up to my knees?
Gibbs: Ah, so you're familiar with this creek.
[Now spoken with much enthusiasm]
HERE IS WHERE THE NCIS TEAM IS UTTERLY FANTASTIC – they learn from each other, they teach each other, and they defend each other! Church crews MUST be like that with each other. And when I say crew, I'm including the musicians and the video people and the people who work so far "behind the scenes" that they are done by Sunday morning!
On the show, Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, is a leader who you can count on get the job done. He has his own "rules" that come up throughout the series. Here are six where you and I and others in church worship production should focus so this next Sunday we are a better team.
1. "Never screw OVER your partner."
I listed this first because the realm of technology and electronics is one in which it's easy to assume that "my expertise trumps everyone else's." Let's take a simple example such as mixer problems by a rookie that you correct when you are "off-duty." There are many positive ways this can happen…"if you tell me the problem, maybe I can help you fix it" or "oh, you needed to do this [move sub-group fader] because you have these channels in a subgroup. Can I give you some tips about sub-groups?" But don't call them names, call their mistake stupid or talk about them in a negative light to someone else. "He's a rookie and doesn't know better." "That's a rookie mistake and she should have known better."
Dealing with other tech's in a positive manner builds cohesiveness, trust, and openness.
9. "Never go anywhere without your knife."
While I love that rule as it is, it represents a simple idea; anything can happen during a church production and we must be ready to deal with it as quickly as possible. This means we are trained in equipment usage, conflict, and the science of sound – I DON'T CARE IF IT'S THROUGH SELF-TRAINING! I carry a Swiss Army Knife with me at all times. I know how to use it and I keep it clean and sharp. All it takes is one person with a dull rusty knife to do a world of hurt to others and themselves.
47. "Never get personally involved in a case."
The purpose of my job on Sunday morning is to present the congregation with a wonderful sound. I will do everything I can to accomplish that goal and there will be times when I buck up against a musician or a worship leader. It's not the time to take a disagreement personally or fire back with personal accusations. I'm saying this to all parties involved. Act professionally, explain the reasons for your statements, and then if you must back down then do so gracefully and find a time outside of church to talk with (educate) that individual.
15. "Always work as a team."
A sound tech having a problem? Offer to help. Offer to educate.
Was the church service audio horrible? Your whole team failed because either they weren't trained properly or no one stepped up to help.
Teach others what you have learned. Learn something new this week? Email the team you new tidbit of knowledge.
23. "Never mess with a Marine's coffee if you want to live."
Same goes for my coffee; I'm just saying.
40. "If it seems like someone's out to get you, they are."
AND MAYBE THEY HAVE A REASON! Yeah, I know the lead guitarist might be bugging you each week because he says "people tell me they can't hear me." Maybe he is right! If someone is out to get you, maybe it's because of something you have done. Neither you nor I are perfect and when there is a problem with another, we have to work to correct it. It might be a mis-understanding, it might be they hate you because you are uber-cool, or it might be they hate you because you have something that needs fixed.
51. "Sometimes – you're wrong."
Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has bad days. And NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING.
If you still don't believe me, see rule # 40.
Finally, think about this quote;
Ziva: Does the Director know?
The Director: (walking in) Know what?
McGee: That it’s a Saturday and we are all here on our day off… because we… love our jobs!
Do you love your production work enough to push yourself further? You can be a better tech than you are now. So can I.
We can be part of a better team.