Often people say to me, "If I had the same resources you have, I could make my church services awesome and everyone would respect my leadership skills and technical decisions." But Gateway Church started very small. I'm certain we didn't have moving lights, cool sound systems and video projection systems in the beginning. I believe Gateway has grown because leadership listens to what I call a "gut check."
A great church service is not about how much you have or how your services flow technically speaking. I have had the privilege of working with churches that only had a microphone and a broken speaker, which were used to announce food lines for the homeless. Churches with far fewer resources were as impactful and meaningful as the ones I am part of now. Why? Gut check.
So what is a gut check? Why did these services have the same impact on me as the services I am currently privileged to assist with? Why do I attribute it all to a gut check?
To understand the answer, you'd have to understand my thinking as a younger tech leader. Many times, I would get "checks" about a decision I made or was about to make. At the time, I didn't understand it, but would make decisions based on these checks and would flow with them during the service. As an audio engineer, my timing and volume would be based on these checks. I didn't know how to define a gut check but quickly realized these checks were helping me make good decisions. At one point, our team tracked several years of weekend services without missing a mic cue. We also would catch last-minute changes on the fly. I chalked up this record of success to these checks. I listened to the gut check as if it were my guiding light.
As I got older and dug into Scripture more, I realized what my gut checks were and what made an impactful church service. These checks in my spirit had nothing to do with the physical. John 16:12-13 says, "I have yet many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come." When I read that passage, I realized that the Holy Spirit lives inside us and guides us.
God loves us and gave us the Holy Spirit. "And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom. 5:5).
It's important to know we have an advocate. "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you" (John 14:26).
Good church-tech leadership has nothing to do with systems, policies or gear, or with how we look and sound. It has to do with whether or not we are listening to the Holy Spirit and following His guidance. As I rewound through all the church services I was involved with and which services worked or didn't, I realized that the first benchmark was, "Were we listening to the Holy Spirit?"
Of course, I don't believe this is an excuse to have a free-for-all in our church services. I am not saying we should throw out systems, policies and order. After all, in 1 Corinthians 14:40, the Bible says to do all things "decently and in order." The key word in that verse is "all." I firmly believe our services should be done in an orderly fashion. But I also believe we need to leave room for the Spirit to move during the planning, setup and execution. If we don't leave room for that, church services can easily become just a show.
As leaders, it's very important that we ask the question, "What is the Holy Spirit saying to me?" If not, no matter what we have been given to work with, we will struggle to facilitate an atmosphere that engages people in God's presence. Like the three servants Jesus spoke about in Matthew 25, our Father has entrusted us with resources, some small, some large. No matter the size, He wants us to invest these resources in His people and listen for the God-given gut check called the Holy Spirit. Are you listening?
David Leuschner is associate senior director of technology and technical arts at Gateway Church in Dallas-Fort Worth. He directs more than 500 volunteers and staff to facilitate several hundred events a month for Gateway's seven venues. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram (both @davidleuschner). This article originally appeared at churchtechleaders.org.
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