Isaiah’s words to technical artists

“Build up, build up, prepare the road!
    Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.” – Isaiah 57:14
I love this verse.
Even though it was written thousands of years ago, it feels like a rallying cry for technical artists in the local church.
It is why we are the first ones in the building each weekend, and the last to leave.
This past saturday, I bumped into one of the founders of our church. He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him. He asked me why the production team was there so early. I told him that’s what it takes to make our services distraction free.
He thanked me and the team, and went on his way.
We were practicing Isaiah’s words.
Being in a dark auditorium before anybody else is there can be lonely. But it is what it means to live out “removing the obstacles.”  Staying long after everyone has gone home is another version of this.  We are just setting ourselves up for the next opportunity to “Prepare the road.”
What you do matters, and it is way bigger than you being the one dumb enough take the crap job.
Building up the stage; building up the graphics; building the lighting plot; is all apart of creating an environment for people to have an encounter with God.
When you are wondering why you are the only person left after a rehearsal, remember Isaiah’s words:


“Build up.  Remove the obstacles.”


photo by: Moyan_Brenn

your identity

I had the privilege to help lead the Technical Director’s Retreat at the WFX conference in Dallas this year.  If you have never heard of this or have never been, this part of the conference is worth checking out.  It is a chance to hang with other TDs, staff and volunteers, from churches big and small from all over the place.  I love it because it is a place that I can be reminded that what I do matters, and that I’m not the only crazy one.

Anyway, at this past year’s event, I talked about the story of the sisters, Mary and Martha, and their encounter, or lack thereof, with Jesus.  Here’s a refresher from Luke 10:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I don’t know about you, but this story baffles me…at first.  Then it starts hitting a little too close to home.

While Martha was doing what she was made to do (I’m sure she had a hospitality gift), somewhere along the way, she had turned the party into the most important thing, instead of Jesus.

And since the party wasn’t going super great, she was losing it on her sister and on Jesus.  My guess is that her identity was wrapped up too much in what she did and not in Jesus.

I love that I have had the privilege over the years to work at a job that I love and feels like what I was made to do.  Unfortunately at times, this becomes more than what I do but I derive my worth from how well I’m doing at my job.

I do need to do a good job.  I want to do a great job.  How God sees me has nothing to do with this.  Whether I succeed or fail.  Whether there is feedback or a missed graphic, God still feels the same about me.

Am I so wrapped up in my role as a technical artist in the local church, that I lose sight of my true identity?




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is Jesus just a job to you?

I have been working in production and serving in the local church for most of my life…like 3/4 of it.  Whether it has been as a volunteer or a staff member, I have spent quite a bit of time in church.
Last week, pastor Eugene Cho came to speak to the Willow Creek staff.  He talked about a few things, like the fact that his youngest son’s name is Jedi!  As a Star Wars fan, you have my attention!
One thing he said in particular hit me pretty hard.  He read from Luke 7 where Jesus is having dinner at a Pharisee’s house.  While he is there, a sinful woman comes in an anoints Jesus’ feet.
It is a story that we have all heard before, but Eugene pointed out that this house is full of a bunch of religious leaders, who are watching and listening to Jesus from a clinical, almost academic perspective.  Here’s a group of people who’s full-time job is God.  Understanding the law, following the law, making sure other people are obeying the law.
They aren’t engaging with what Jesus is trying to teach them, they are just pulling apart the details.
As technical artists in the local church, I think it is really easy to fall into this way of encountering Jesus.  We are in the room, but we are only aware of the things that we care about.  Are the graphics working?  What is the mic placement like?  Do we have the CCLI number for the song at the end of the service?  I’ve talked about this before, but the gifts that we have been entrusted with, helping create environments for people to experience God, can put us in a place where we only experience Jesus through the lens of production and not as simply a Christ follower.
If I were honest, sometimes I check the box of “going to church and getting fed” just because I am at work.
If I were still honest, I am not really going to church and I’m not getting fed while I am at work.
If I were honest one more time, I would admit that I can go for long periods of time not developing spiritually.
As a group of people who spend a lot of time in church but aren’t really “at” church, we need to be more intentional to be around Jesus in other ways.  We need to look for opportunities to experience God in less clinical, less academic, less work related ways.
What is one thing you could do to make Jesus more than just a job to you?