I was behind the audio console and had a rocking mix going on. I was on fire, tweaking my mix, and everyone sounded amazing. But after the service, the technical pastor pulled me aside and told me I missed several microphone cues, including the pastor's mic when he walked on stage.
So what did I do? I argued that my mix was awesome! "Isn't that what I am here for, to build my mix in a way that allows you to worship?" He responded that I was not here to build my mix but to mix the vision of the house.
The technical pastor also noticed that I had my head down the entire service, buried in knobs and faders. So the next service, we ran an exercise of covering the knob section with a sheet so I could only see the faders. I had to stand and keep my head up while mixing without looking down. He said something to me I'll never forget: "Your vision of the platform is the most important part of the mix. Don't be absorbed in the perfection of what you are doing, but be absorbed in what the Holy Spirit is doing. It will change your mix and, more importantly, you will miss fewer cues because you are in tune with the vision of the house."
As technicians or leaders of technicians, it's so easy to get absorbed in our duties. Many times we put our head down, draw a circle around what we need to get done and ignore the vision of the church. We aren't even watching for changes. We just plow forward, but when we get to the other side, we can't figure out why people are disappointed. We have to keep our head up and pay attention.
If you are driving a car and decide to take five minutes to look only at the dashboard controls, you would most definitely run off the road. Even five seconds of looking away could be an issue. If we want to be effective in our leadership role, talent or abilities, we have to keep our head up and pay attention to where we are going and what is going on around us.
But paying attention and keeping our head up are still not enough. We must also engage in the vision and use our tools to support it. If the worship leader moves the audience into a quiet time of worship, but you use your audio console to keep everything at max volume, you may be paying attention and not missing cues, but you are definitely not engaging in the vision. You are fighting against it.
We must always do our best to lead our people and utilize our tools to assist, support and push the vision of the house forward. This doesn't mean you always have to agree. There will be times when you need to speak up and engage in the conversation, but when you do, make sure your pushback is with the intention to understand and not to torpedo. Don't make statements about the situation, but ask questions. Listen first, then communicate in a way that does not demean your colleagues. Do your best to create an atmosphere that will allow your feedback to steer with a blinker and not block the idea with a red light.
Once you grasp the vision and understand where you are going, don't complicate it. In Habakkuk 2:2 (MSG), God instructs us to, "Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run." You always want to build off the vision in a way that creates a strong foundation for growth and is easy to communicate. Most strong foundations are very simple. Grow your team with communication that is easy to understand and doesn't set each benchmark too high. If you're climbing a ladder and the rungs are 6 feet apart, it's going to be difficult to climb. But if they're 1 foot apart, your team can hit the next rung and grow. The ladder, however, must be stabilized on a strong foundation.
A leader who anchors his ladder in a strong foundation, clearly communicates the goal and makes each benchmark attainable, yet still stretches the team, will be a leader who creates a heart for the church, an atmosphere of worship and health among all team members.
Remember, you can't do any of this unless you keep your head up, have a heart to understand the vision of the church, keep your eyes open and follow where the Holy Spirit leads.
David Leuschner is the executive director of Digital Great Commission Ministries (audiovideolighting.com), a nonprofit organization that utilizes technology to reach the world for Christ. From 2006 to 2017, Leuschner served as senior director of technology and technical arts at Gateway Church. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram (both @davidleuschner).
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