Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Made It to Monday

After each weekend, I want to get into the habit of recording some things that I see in the rear-view mirror. I hope to highlight where God was at work, what could have been better, and at least one thing I learned. I apologize in advance for the haphazardness of these posts.

What happened this weekend?
  • On Friday night, we had a prayer and ministry night, a part of our bi-annual week of prayer.
  • On Saturday morning, we mourned the loss of Micah Davis, a three-year-old boy who went to meet Jesus on Thursday because of brain cancer.
  • On Sunday, we learned about the sacraments from 1 Corinthians 11:17-33, and we learned how unity in the church is essential to honoring Christ. (listen here)
What I'm grateful for:
  • God's provision through four "surprise" volunteers who were able to come join us on Friday night and make the ministry night a success.
  • Three faithful team leaders from our sound, lighting, and children's ministry teams who gave me some excellent advice on placing volunteers for our next serving year in October.
  • The example of Luke and Kriscinda Davis, who are making the most of their MIcah Man for the glory of God.
  • Overall, a VERY smooth Sunday morning where everyone served with excellence.
What could have been better? We had a few small details that didn't get nailed:
  • At one point, our worship leader ended up on the screen at the wrong time. I had mistaken one of his hand signals for him calling for the end of the song.
  • After the third song, we did a responsive reading, which unfortunately had some typing entry errors in it. Strangely, we had fixed one of those very errors the night before, but it somehow didn't get saved into the file.
  • The transition from the end of the message back into song was awkward in the first meeting, since we didn't have enough people helping get the band stuff back in place. And because one rolling set piece went the wrong way off-stage. Traffic Jam!
What I learned this weekend:
  • Training sound mixers is a toughie. I still have a lot to learn on how to do this effectively.
  • Given the size of our teams (about 150 volunteers total), our staff needs to start thinking more like a human resources department, and less like a project management team.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Major Tune Up

We just crossed the 100,000 mile mark on our "new" auditorium sound system. Five years ago, we fired it up for the first time. This week was the first major tune up of its life.

Brad and Joe from M&L Sound in Knoxville, TN just finished a Santa-Claus-type "checking-it-twice" run-through of our whole system.

Overall, it was good news:
  • Only 1 driver was blown after five years, and that was on a choir monitor that we rarely use.
  • Our various line problems seemed solvable with various methods of repair.
  • They cleaned everything up like new.
  • They solidified all the "loose" connectors, buttons, and so forth.
  • They confirmed that our unbalanced headphone lines are still noiseless.
What I learned:
  • Most of our dbx compressors are shot. Did we get a bad batch?
  • Our Crest LMx monitor console has ALWAYS ON insert points (I should have known this). If the insert point fails either at the board or the patch bay, the channel goes dead. Hmmm...
  • A good deal of the non-functioning components were due to simple user errors (misplugged, buttons pushed, half-engaged connectors). I'll need to be more thorough in my double-checks on problem claims.
The strangest issue that they ran across was one of those mysterious "intermittent" problems that had completely baffled me and all my techs. One of our wireless vocal mics would occasionally be half-legged to our monitor mix console. Other times it was fine. The problem? A short in the front-of-house patch bay made the mic line half-legged UNLESS there was a patch cable in the microphone line patch point. The patch cable didn't even need to be attached to anything else, but just inserted in the bay on one end. Anyway, they bravely pulled out the patch bay and got it working correctly again.

It feels great to have confidence in all the system pieces as we get into this coming weekend!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sunday Matters Most

I really haven't blogged since C3, when I posted a couple attempts at a conference recap (here and here).

The conference was great, but for those of us from Covenant Life who attended, it was most valuable as an excuse to talk and talk about our Sunday Morning meetings.

We discussed music. We discussed sound and mixing. We discussed lighting and environment. We discussed staging, set design, and band layout. We discussed video screens. We discussed message preparation process. We discussed everything.  And then we discussed it again.

Thankfully, all that talk was led by the Spirit, and we were able to make some headway in significant, strategic decisions.

Our church has several monthly meetings for singles, youth, and families.  Each of these meetings has a pastor who is spending significant time planning for both the content and the production of these meetings.  Each of these meetings was - in it's own way - pushing the boundaries of our abilities.

Which led to some questions:

If - as we believe - Sunday Morning is the most important meeting of the church...
  • Why wasn't Sunday Morning getting this type of attention?
  • Why wasn't Sunday Morning the place where creativity was most evident?
  • Why wasn't Sunday Morning the meeting when the band played and sounded the best?
  • Why wasn't Sunday Morning the time when God's word was most effectively supplemented with media and technology?
One the conclusions was this: We need a pastor who lives and breathes all things Sunday Morning.  Our Senior Pastor, Joshua Harris, lives for Sunday Morning...messages.  However, he doesn't have the capacity to be adequately involved in all the production aspects.

So, after seeking God's wisdom, we now have a pastor who oversees Sunday Production, which includes message, announcement, and music content as well as sound, lighting, video, set design and post-service resources.   I will introduce him to you next time!

Friday, July 20, 2007

What Are You Laughing At?

Occasionally, something makes me laugh hysterically over and over again.  Here's my most recent find, thanks to my sister-in-law:

Leave a comment on what is making you laugh these days. G-rated entries only!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Blogging Conundrum

Here's my blogging conundrum:

Blogging takes time, and blogging requires ideas.

My best ideas come from life, and the most ideas come when life is fastest.

But when life is fastest, I have no time.

Result: My lack of blogging.

However, as tech stuff around Covenant Life has slowed ever so slightly in the summer, I hope to try to catch up on old ideas from the spring.

There has been a lot going on here, and I am excited to both record and share what God has been doing. Stay tuned...

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