In my last blog entry, I talked indirectly about advancement. It wasn’t until I posted it up did I see what was happening. My desire for advancement had kicked in.
As a sound guy, advancement comes in two areas; size and technology.
By the desire for technological advancement, I mean that having worked for years behind an analog mixer, one day you get a full digital mixer with the software packages and the computer link and then every modern electronic gadget imaginable. We buy new gadgets because we like the ideas of doing more with something smaller or faster…read "better."
It possible to feel restrained by technology and an upgraded system gives youand I the shot in the arm that energizes and excites us for a few more years.
The latest Sweetwater catalog comes in the mail and we’re like a kid looking through the Sears toy catalog. We’re circling everything we want. But in the end, quite a bit of what we circle will never make it into our hands. I know you need a bigger amp, a better mixing console, a new effects unit. Don’t we all? But that stuff isn’t free. Living without new stuff for a long enough time, you will start to wonder what other churches are out there because you desire technological advancement.
Then there is the desire to go bigger. I didn’t say grow bigger, but go bigger. Small church equals small budget. Sometimes small church equals mediocre musicians. The bigger the church, the better the musicians, right? The better the musicians the better your mix will sound! Can I get an "AMEN?"
You run sound for a 400 member congregation for years. Then you attend a church with 2,500 and think to yourself "I’d love to run audio in here." The guy back in the sound booth might have visited a 5,000 member congregation the week before and have similar thoughts. This change can’t happen without leaving your current church.
Yes, I really did just say that. I didn’t suggest it, though. Not yet, anyway.
A quick note…in some cases, there are other areas of advancement such as moving from the guy that does monitor mixing to mixing FOH. Regarding this article, I’m looking exclusively at areas where one might consider leaving the church.
So therein lays the question. Do I desire advancement so much that I’d be willing to change churches?
For a volunteer, changing churches doesn’t guarantee me that I would be qualified to run sound at a bigger church. Perhaps I don’t have the experience or expertise they need. Perhaps that other church pays their staff and I’d need to pay for an education in pro audio before I could work for them. Maybe, there is a waiting list of volunteers for audio.
As it relates to budgets, I’ve recently read about a few large churches that cut out their audio budget for the year. While I’ll admit they might have advanced equipment over what i’ve been using, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t eventually encounter the same desires on down the road.
As I was enjoying the concert with Michael W Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman, I experienced two very unique feelings.
1.) I wished I was up on the stage playing my guitar – not as a way to "be on stage" but as a way of worshipping in music.
2.) I thought how "cool it would be" to be their audio guys…and then this strange feeling came over me. "Chris, do you think they ever get bored" I asked myself. They probably have all the tools they need or want. They are dealing with expert musicians. They are mixing to huge audiences who are there just for the music. When do their desires kick in? Do they desire to mix in a studio? Do they desire to mix for a different band soon? Maybe they are thrilled with what they are doing?
That first point is something that keeps haunting me. I think it’s because it’s pure. I desired to play guitar because it would be all about the worship.
Running audio, it’s not as easy to be caught up in the moment. God can still work through me but I can’t close my eyes while I work.
I wish I could finish this post with some nice little summary but I can’t. I believe desire for new technology or new environments (bigger congregation) comes either because God is giving me the desire to move beyond my current place or because I have that natural desire to always be advancing to "bigger and better."
I wonder if I would stop desiring advancement if I was at the place God wanted me to be.
These words come to me from "Mighty to Save"
So take me as you find me
All of my fears and failures
and fill my life again
I am left with a new desire now. I desire to be with God in prayer. He has a plan for my life. He knows what is best for me. Where He leads me I will follow.