lowering the bar

I hate this idea.  I hate using it as a title for this post.  It goes against everything in me as a technical artist.  I don’t consider myself to be a perfectionist, far from it.  You can ask anyone who has helped me with a home improvement project.  I want things to be done the best they can, but perfection takes too long…and is impossible.

Talking about production in the local church, when things can be done well, they should.  If something is within my power to accomplish, I should do it.  This is a lot easier said than done.  Enter the picture:  picking up kids from school, a less experienced volunteer behind the console, just coming off a week of working 5 nights in a row, bad footage, blown bulbs in the perfect light…and the list could go on.  There are tons of obstacles that get in the way of doing an excellent job; some inside and some outside of our control.  These cause us to make decisions on lowering the bar.

Lowering the bar isn’t exclusively a technical question.  Many times we lower the bar by staying late to get an edit just right and not going to our son’s basketball game.  We can lower the bar by neglecting our personal development by working non-stop on the urgent all the time.  We tend to lower the bar by not talking honestly with our worship leader and stuffing our frustrations too long.

For many of us production types, we have a singular focus, and that is technical excellence.  We don’t want to hold up rehearsal.  We don’t want to be the bottleneck.  We want to be able to accomplish the impossible without help.  For us, lowering the bar equates to not doing our best all the time on the task before us.

Maybe we have defined success the wrong way…or at least not completely enough.  Success means the technical arts in the local church need to include developing new volunteers more fully; it needs to include how engaged we are with our children; it needs to also include us as individuals becoming more like Christ.  Does this mean we exclude always increasing our capacity as technical artists?  No.  Does this mean we stop trying to raise the bar, because excellence honors God, reflects his character and inspires people?  No.  Do we lower the bar because it’s too much work to keep it raised high?  No.

Becoming a mature technical artist in the local church requires us to define each day what success looks like; where we are going to choose to raise the bar and where we need to choose to lower the bar.  These are not easy choices, but choices that need to be made none the less.

  • Jason

    Way to state the rub. Not only in crisis situations, but every once in a while it’s worth stepping back & making sure time invested is worth the payoff. Maybe it could be spent better somewhere else. I caught myself “trying too hard” on some things that were not that important.

    • Good points.  So often we need help from others to define what is most important. Instead, I used to take on all that responsibility myself.  It is easy to try too hard when everything seems like the most important.

  • Aaron Biby

    So true… Just had this conversation in our department last week.  I believe that gaining a balanced perspective for techs, is like a marathon runner learning how to set his pace. It’s about avoiding burnout, and accomplishing everything you can at the time.  Then you get to analyze the performance, and learn how to improve your regiment for better results.

    • Thanks for the comment.  I remember feeling like someone else was setting my pace for me.  It is important to remember that no one really knows how fast you can run, except for you.

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