My church goes bonkers for Christmas. Starting in mid-November, the tech and worship team schedules go from a Saturday rehearsal and Sunday worship to several mid-week rehearsals for the various vocal and choir teams.
But wait, there’s more!
We’re also preparing for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra concert that combines our church team with the symphony. Oh, and did I mention the multiple Christmas-related events we host in December?
Primed for Burnout
Most of us are volunteer techs serving in ministry in concert with our regular full-time jobs. I get it. As part of my full-time job, I support 40 churches with technology issues and serve as offsite Technical Director for most of them. For my home church of 1,500 members, I’m the volunteer Technical Production Team Leader, responsible for all the technical requirements of the sanctuary events; lights, ProPresenter, and audio. Plus, I oversee a team of ten volunteers.
All that to say, my calendar is pretty much booked for every night and every weekend from now until the first of January with many long days at work, followed by long nights and weekends at the church, setting up, tearing down, reconfiguring, rehearsals, etc. I won’t be surprised if I’m putting in 16 hour days for most of December.
You might think I’m primed for burnout, but I’m far from it.
Are YOU Primed for Christmas Burnout?
Every year I read about tech folks saying how burned out they are during and after the Christmas season. They’re depressed, angry, frustrated, and generally pretty grumpy, wondering why they do this. True, even if you’re paid staff.
What I changed and what you can change
I changed my outlook and now revel in the “Crazy Season.” You can too, with only two things you need to know.
- Doing what we do is our way to worship God.
- It’s not about us.
What do I mean?
First, for a lot of us, we SERVE. I put it in capital letters because a lot of times that’s the plank in our eye. We’re entrusted with bridging the technology aspect of the church service. Period. But, we put a chip on our shoulder about the time and effort we put in as we run around making things happen, including those ridiculous last-minute demands. Like it or not, that’s the job that we signed up for.
If you look at the pro touring folks, you’ll find they put in substantially more time and effort than we will ever do. Yes they get paid but you don’t really hear them complaining. It’s the job they chose.
For us, think about the fact we’re worshipping God to our fullest extent when we do what we do with excellence and without complaint.
Yes, it’s hard. Especially when you go from a full-time job to your volunteer ministry without any breaks. But, if you consider your work in tech ministry is your way to worship God, think of how lucky you are and how much God appreciates your efforts!
And, if you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, please don’t use that excuse of, “Well, I’m not getting fed”. Really? Who’s responsibility is it for you to be fed? Do your parents still feed you? No. You’re an adult. Feed yourself. Need more of the Word? Dive into it on your own. Need more encouragement? You’ve joined the Behind the Mixer Facebook community, haven’t you? Need more spiritual guidance? Get an accountability partner and purposefully set time aside to meet. It doesn’t take much to get grounded.
Remember, when everything is going to hell in a handbasket, that no matter what, you are worshipping your God. If you keep that first and foremost in your mind, then nothing will make you wish that you should throw in the towel on your ministry.
Secondly, it’s not about us.
Seriously, if you got into this ministry because of being the cool kid on the block at the mixing console, do us all a favor and quit. Really.
If the main reason you’re doing this is because of all the cool equipment that you get to use and that you’re spotlighted in the booth, go away. You make the rest of us who absolutely love serving and worshipping God in our way, look bad.
For everyone else, we do this in as excellent a way as is possible for our unique situations, so that others can get into the worship experience without any interruptions or disruptions. There’s nothing better to re-energize a tired, bone-weary spirit, after too many days and nights working like crazy to get a session right, than seeing the congregation fully engage in worship.
God doesn’t need us to reach people. God does need us to worship Him. And as we worship Him through serving, He allows us to use our experience and technology to stir people’s souls, to open up their hearts hardened by a lousy week/month/year, that don’t know that they need Him.
We prepare a place for Him, a welcome oasis from the everyday world. We do that by ensuring that everything we do in the booth is done with a focus on excellence. Notice I didn’t say perfection. Perfectionism can be a way to place a chip on your shoulder and the devil will use it to ensure you never can worship.
The Take Away
Enjoy this Crazy Season. I’m looking forward to Dec. 31 and having God let me know that I was a good and faithful servant. I don’t need anyone else to tell me. His thanks are all I desire as I worship Him.
The Next Step
Get some order to your Christmas production with this list of important steps.