[Guest Post from Jeremy Montz] Jeremy Montz took his calling for volunteer church audio to a whole new level – and a completely different state. Read his story and discover how mentoring is an extension of Christian Brotherhood.
Over the years, I have often wondered as to my purpose in the plan of God. I have also puzzled over where my passion for technology, in the areas of church multimedia and sound systems, could possibly fit into such a plan. Ultimately, asking the question; what am I going to do with the knowledge with which the Lord has blessed me?
This is where I find myself after being involved with sound and multimedia applications for roughly 16 years.
I have been extremely blessed with a budget adequate enough to have five fully-equipped sound systems on campus. Although not all are completely digital systems or supplied with the priciest equipment, I have researched and, along with my team, installed all of these systems. The latest project consisted of a new sound system installation for our 800 seat sanctuary, complete from the wiring on up.
The various system installations, along with much research, have gained me considerable personal knowledge and experience. I do not consider myself an expert, but definitely more knowledgeable than someone that has just been turning knobs for a few years.
Fast-forward to now
Several months ago, I made contact with a church in a neighboring state that was interested in buying some of our un-needed sound equipment. Mics, subs, crossover, etc. – those items that get shuffled out of the systems; used but still produce decent sound. I made solid contact with a member of their assembly through this transaction, and thereby began a friendship. This led to many conversations about their current state of technology and where they would like to go with it. This friendship resulted in a trip for me and two of my sound team members to assist this church in putting together a usable sound and multimedia system.
Our task included installation of a screen, a 3300 lumen projector, rewiring the sound system, and making any needed adjustments. They had erected a sound/multimedia desk before our arrival and worked hard to make sure that we could accomplish the most possible in one weekend. Arriving at their location on a Friday evening we assessed the situation. Some of it was better and some worse than expected, but we knew what we had to do and had prepared accordingly.
Saturday morning saw us up early and installing the retractable 8’x10′ screen. We then removed the speakers from their hanging points near the ceiling and painted them white to give the finished product a much more polished look. Positioning the projector, we made sure it was properly aligned and functional. Lastly, having arranged all of the equipment in the new sound booth, we connected the system.
All of the wiring from the amplifiers to the monitors was replaced and we then reinstalled the painted speakers, spreading them so that the projector could find its target between them without shadows appearing on the screen. It may not sound as though we did much, but we put in a 15 hour day of work, with no option but to complete the task so that the church could have their scheduled Sunday morning service.
We had never gotten a chance to hear what the system sounded like before we arrived as they had already disconnected the equipment at the FOH position. So we went into this project a bit blind, not being able to hear what they had experienced in the past and exactly what was causing the described problems. Being satisfied with how well the systems now sounded and functioned, we walked out of the building feeling blessed in knowing that everything was now set in order correctly.
Was it rewarding? You bet it was! At times it was difficult, but when you love doing something, it honestly doesn’t feel like work. What a feeling of accomplishment when everyone from the church is smiling and telling you how much better things look and sound.
Where to next?
When does our mentoring process come to an end? With one visit? One month? One year? I say it could well create associations and friendships that last for life.
After the weekend at this church, I invited their team to come down to our assembly for a clinic later this Spring. How can they continue their learning without our continued support? Our setting is different than what they are used to, but the basic principles are always the same.
Your turn to mentor someone
We all know that this is an ever-expanding and evolving field and we must desire to attain more knowledge than we currently possess. Think about the nuggets of information that you have acquired. Remember the times that you learned the hard way. Now, is perhaps the time to begin looking around at the other churches in your circle of influence to share information and various experiences that you have had. Twenty years worth of experience is not necessarily required to start mentoring others, as all knowledge and experience is valuable.
By suggesting that you mentor someone, I am not advising that you should get in over your head or volunteer to renovate someone’s sound system if you are unqualified. Realize your limitations. Most of the guys that are less experienced than you are crave information and guidance but don’t have a good source to go to. Many of them will not ask, but if you offer, they will gladly accept the help.
We all need each other! Maybe you would only feel comfortable reaching out to those in your immediate church organization. I can understand that, but don’t just contemplate it, go ahead and do it. You have not been given the talent in these areas just to take it to your grave, who will profit from that?
So I ask, what do you want the end result of this passion for technology to be? It could lead into far more than one might expect, as in blessing a church with your expertise and, in the process, making new friends for life. Let’s all put forth an effort to become a mentor to those who would benefit from our knowledge, and to God be the glory.
Jeremy Montz is the Tech Director at Lighthouse Tabernacle
Question(s): Have you ever mentored or been mentored? What were the benefits? Who could you mentor in the month of May?