Spectator or Participant?

Originally published on ChurchProduction.com, June 2013

In addition to my responsibilities at Church on the Move, I spend time traveling to other church and production situations. Some of these visits are purely technical in nature while others are based around teaching and training on various leadership topics. Whether working with teams in this capacity or from the time I spent on the road prior to becoming a church guy, I’ve noticed a common trait that exists amongst our fraternity of technical brethren.

Sometimes it’s easy for production personnel to stay in the back and remain completely disengaged from the spiritual side of an event.

Perhaps you can relate to what I’m talking about: black shirt donned, arms crossed, hands firmly in pockets—the universal body language for someone who isn’t sold out to (or perhaps skeptical or just watching) an event.

Knowing myself pretty well, I believe that I will almost ALWAYS do a better job when I actually participate in the spiritual side of a service. But even so, it’s still SO easy to simply work an event and ignore what God may be trying to say to me. To clarify, I’m not suggesting someone sing at the top of their lungs while on headset or worship in the dance while managing a stage but I’m sure all of us can find a way to stay aware, committed, and open to what God may be saying to us while still remembering the task you’ve been assigned.

Since joining the rank and file of church professionals, I’ve received an incredible amount of life-changing truths by staying engaged in the event and the process, even when hearing the same songs and sermons multiple times in the same weekend. Occasionally I wonder if I’m on staff solely for MY spiritual betterment instead of what I am bringing to the table! God seems to have a crazy enough sense of humor—I could totally see Him orchestrating this just to watch me get nailed by the truth over and over again. All in good fun of course. It’s easy to ignore the truth once or twice but when stuck at the mix position getting pummeled with it over and over again…well, it’s hard to ignore that kind of obvious.

Every technical artist has a certain responsibility to the message they’re a part of—no matter if it’s a rock show, a kid’s program, or a worship service. Can this be accomplished by standing at our post spectating without actually buying in to what’s coming from the stage? I think not.

Consider this: In 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) it says,

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”

The God-given talent we each possess is something we are instructed to use but it’s more than just showing up and letting the guys on stage bear the burden. If we TRULY believe in the message we’re sending to the same degree as the pastors and musicians we support, then we should be just as effective at spreading the same gospel through the technical arts as they are through music and spoken word.

In verse 11, Peter continues,

“Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies…”.

Instructions like these completely apply to our field. We are COMMANDED to use our skills to serve others. It’s completely within the realm of possibility for us to combine the technical and creative elements of an event and transform them into something that serves and ministers to others.

Every part matters when we are working to create an experiential worship service. God doesn’t have a place for me to spectate from the fringe, but he does have a place for my sincere involvement. Buying into the message coming from your stage can be a tough prospect while standing in the back of the room. But the unique result created from using your specific talents may be exactly what it takes to change someone’s life.

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Andrew Stone
Production Manager
Andrew Stone is the Production Manager and Audio Director at Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. His 27 years of touring experience have brought a unique, and sometimes unorthodox, perspective to his approach towards production in the church. He has been a key part of changing the culture behind COTM's live events and he loves sharing his knowledge with other churches. He's been married for 20 years, rarely wears anything but black, and genuinely loves to rock. You can find him on Twitter (@stone_rocks), Instagram (stone.rocks), and is a blog contributor on Seeds, COTM's free resource site.
@stone_rocks