grasping equality

View from the Endzone

photo credit: jimmywayne

I was just at an event where I observed people interacting with each other on a 50/50 basis, and it was fascinating how some people wanted to do their half, but more importantly wanting the other person to do their half first.

What I’ve noticed in my own life, is that waiting for someone to meet me halfway never really works out.  Trying to be fair, doing my half, putting in just enough effort to make a relationship work…all these things have led to me being discontent.

In the middle of all this, that verse about Christ and him not considering equality with God something to be grasped came into my head.  I looked it up (Philippians 2) and was amazed:

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Christ didn’t wait for God the Father to meet him halfway, he gave himself up fully, way past any relational requirements I have to worry about.

Whether it is with your spouse, a co-worker, a tech volunteer, a worship leader, or your senior pastor, working for halfway will never satisfy.  Waiting for someone else to do their half will leave you disappointed.

If you and I were standing in opposite endzones of a football field, the 50 yards closest to me seems way more than yours.  Knowing where halfway is, from my perspective is nearly impossible.

Go the full distance.  Be the one who meets people where they are.  Serve the other person without wanting there to be a halfway mark or someone keeping score.

don’t freak out…yet

I had a moment last night with my 9 year old son that reminded me of one of my life mantras:

“Before freaking out, wait 5 minutes.”

He had been saving his money over the course of several months for an iTouch and it finally arrived.  At a certain point during the evening, he told me some of his friends had jailbroken their ipods and he was thinking about it also.  I didn’t really pay any attention to this idea until he had tried to jailbreak it himself and was now freaking out that his iPod wasn’t responding at all.

After fighting back the urge to ask him what he was thinking, I immediately went into troubleshooting mode.  Since problem solving with an unglued 9 year old isn’t really very effective, I started working on trying to determine if the thing was bricked or nothing was wrong with it.  Inside of a minute, I had it up and running without a problem.  I handed it back to my son and gave him the above advice.  Wait 5 minutes, then panic.

I have learned this lesson so many times over the years, it has become the normal first reaction for me.  I remember the exact situation when I thought to myself “I want to freak out like everyone else, but it won’t help anything.  So, I’ll wait 5 minutes and panic then.”

Most things can be worked out in 5 minutes.  I can’t think of one scenario that didn’t resolve itself or an alternative wasn’t devised within a few minutes, thereby making panic obsolete.  Either I am very forgetful, have amnesia, or this advice has been super helpful to me and the teams I lead.  The solution is less than 5 minutes away.

As a leader, people are looking to me on how they should respond.  If you want everyone to panic, then don’t wait, panic now.  In a large event setting, panic is contagious and is a very natural reaction to things not going exactly according plan.  I once worked with someone that ran everywhere.  They looked harried and flustered all the time, running from thing to thing.  I told them:  “Walk with purpose by all means, but don’t run.  Your volunteers can smell fear.”

In a high pressure environment, panic only leads to more potentially going wrong.  During a large event when most people are already on edge, panic or an over-reaction from the leader can just send people into a tail spin.  People need to stay focused on doing good work and if the leader is freaking out, they are going to be focused on reacting to you.

How do you respond in pressure situations?

How do you lead your teams to respond?

steve jobs understands!


photo credit: mallox

In an article about Apple’s iCloud (here), CNN Tech talked about what Steve Jobs learned from his experiences starting Pixar Studios.   When Apple launched the iTunes store in 2003, Steve Jobs was interviewed at the All Things Digital Conference in 2003:

In that interview eight years ago, Jobs described the vast divide between technology and entertainment executives, and he talked about how he bridged it.

“One of the things I learned at Pixar is the technology industries and the content industries do not understand each other,” he said. “In Silicon Valley and at most technology companies, I swear that most people still think the creative process is a bunch of guys in their early 30s, sitting on a couch, drinking beer and thinking of jokes. No, they really do. That’s how television is made, they think; that’s how movies are made.”

Likewise, record executives can’t relate to technical people, Jobs said.

“People in Hollywood and in the content industries, they think technology is something you just write a check for and buy,” Jobs said. “They don’t understand the creative element of technology.

These are like ships passing in the night,” the Apple co-founder added.

The technology-content tension doesn’t only exist at your church, on your team, it is a universal tension.  God created each group vastly different for great reasons.

I think many of us would agree, that Apple has figured out ways to seamlessly combine content and technology, making it appear effortless.  And the impact of getting that right has changed the way the world functions.

We are just talking about computers, here.

How much more could the world be changed, if we could harness the technology-content tension for the benefit of telling the most life-changing message there is?


what the bible says about being a td

Die Heilige Schrift

photo credit: Danndalf

I am reading in 1 John 2 this morning and these verses jumped off the virtual page at me:

3 We know that we have come to know him [Christ] if we keep his commands. 4Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

I talk  quite a bit about being misunderstood in our environments and how nobody really knows what makes us tick.  As a result, it is an easy leap to the idea that it is OK for us to act the way we do or to treat people how we treat them.  I’m frustrated with not being treated the way I think I should or getting exactly what I need, and that makes it OK for me to act the way I do.

The reality is that everyone, tech people included, are called to live the way Jesus did, in spite of the whatever our present reality is.  If you consider yourself a Christ Follower, it kind of means you need to follow Christ.

Does your life look like Christ’s? If someone were to follow you around today, and hear your conversations, or better yet, your thoughts and feelings about those you work with, would it be obvious that Christ is the model for the choices you make?  Frankly, this makes me a little nervous.

Regardless of what is happening around me today, I can make the choice to live as Christ would.  If things were always to my own liking, or always went the way I felt like they should, what does that require from me?  Nothing, and I am pretty sure we can all see how stupid that idea even is. Life has a way of being imperfect, and how we respond to it is what defines us.

Being a TD or any other role in local church production isn’t easy, but the Bible says for us to the best TD possible, we need to live as Christ lived.

As a Christ follower today, how can you follow Christ?

As a TD, how would Christ do your job today?

Regardless of your current situation, how can you live as Christ lived?



nobody understands me


photo credit: whlteXbread

I talk a lot about bridging the divide that can sometimes exist between tech people and the people on stage.  Not only is there a large physical distance that separates us from each other (the distance between the booth and the stage), but there is also a world view that can be very different.

So, what do you do in a situation where you are working 50 hours/week, training volunteers as fast as you can, and still aren’t understood or appreciated for the work you are doing?  What do you do when only the shortcomings of your ministry are noticed and the gains are overlooked?

You are not alone – there are many tech people all over the world that struggle with situations like this every day.  The evil one wants to thwart us every chance he gets, and the relationship between you and your worship leader or senior pastor is a prime target for him to mess with.  What can you do?  How about finding another TD at a church in your area and reach out to him/her.  Pray for each other, encourage each other.  Join and connect with other TDs.  We all struggle to one degree or another.  Know you aren’t alone, and reach out to those around you.

God created you uniquely – even though you may not be understood or getting along with your counterparts in ministry, God created you specifically for a purpose and it is important to push through difficult situations and taste a more beautiful version of the way God created the Body of Christ.

Perseverance Builds Character – Blah, blah, blah.  That sounds like something my parents would say to me.  But in James 1 it says:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Stick with it.  God is using your current situation to form you into the person you were meant to be.   It certainly isn’t easy, but it is necessary to not only form you, but to fulfill the purposes of the body of Christ where you are.

What is your unique contribution to the church that you have been called to?

In what ways is God calling you to push through in order to get to the other side?

How can I reach out to another church production person and encourage them to continue on?

get a life!

twilight on the deck

I am sitting on the back deck, enjoying some nice weather in Chicago (finally!), with my youngest son bouncing on the trampoline (check out this short video:  Trampoline!) and realizing that I have a pretty great life.  I am also remembering a time when I would be holed up in an editing studio making just one more tweak to make a video perfect and missing out on a beautiful night with my family.  While I love creating the perfect video, I have to say, I love this version of my life far better.

As detail oriented people, most tech people I know have a difficult time letting go and heading home.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in the things we love to do, that we forget that we desperately need to have a life outside of our jobs.  It is also easy to forget about the families we leave at home during all those long hours.

In his book “Winning”, Jack Welch talks about the work-life balance and how important it is for each of us to know what that looks like.  In my younger days, I wanted my boss to tell me when to go home or when something was good enough.  I also wanted to blame my workaholic tendencies on someone else.  My first boss and Jack Welch agree:  be an adult and figure it out for yourself.

Chances are your boss has no idea what needs to get done in your world and no idea what is required of you at home.  It is important for each of us to figure out what it means to give all that is truly being asked of us at work and, what our families need from us.

As long as I can remember, my wife has been joking with me to “Come home early”.  I usually give a nervous laugh anytime she says it, because the reality is pretty unrealistic.  Even my kids say it now!  However, this little joke has helped me think about whether I need to stay an extra hour or if I can actually come home at a reasonable time.  How to come home early is always on my mind, whether it is possible or not, which helps my family know that they are important to me.

Having a life outside of work makes me a complete person.  Giving my entire self to my place of work with nothing left over is not being a good steward of the life I have been entrusted with.

Have you taken responsibility for your work/life balance?  Does your family feel as important as your work?  When was the last time you “came home early”?