Friday, November 30, 2007

What's Next?

"What's next?"

That's a big question for me these days. Especially on Sunday mornings.

What in the world is going to happen next?

On Covenant Life's website is a list of our defining values. One of those eight values is this:
"A pursuit of the active presence of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit"
What that means practically is that our services are not nailed shut before we start. Don't get me wrong. We plan. We have a list of songs, planned communication from pastors, outlined prayer times, and other scripted moments. However, we also want to make room for "the active presence of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit."

What does that look like? It can be many things, but certain spontaneous elements are the typical additions:
  • The worship leader speaks to the congregation
  • A pastor comes up on stage to speak to the congregation
  • A member shares something with the congregation
We used to have the understanding that certain technical details might not happen perfectly because of the last-minute nature of these changes. The mic might be late, the lights might not be there, the video might not show up on the screen immediately. Lately, though, with urging from our Sunday executive pastor, we've been trying to respond so quickly that it doesn't seem like it was unplanned.

Our senior pastor is generally the one making the call as to what happens next. And he is frequently weighing several options at one time.

Right now, here's the line of communication...
  1. Our Senior Pastor decides to add a spontaneous element. (At this point, we've got 30 seconds to let everyone know - at the most)
  2. He mentions it to someone with a radio.
  3. That person radios me to let me know.
  4. I use the intercom to inform the lighting and video people.
  5. I get the attention of the mixer to inform him or her.
  6. If all goes well, lights are on, the mic is on, cameras are shaded, and a shot goes up on the screen before the first word is spoken.
Our current batting average: approximately 700.

That's better than MLB players, but not good enough for live production.

So, we've devised a scheme to attempt to raise that number.

But before I tell you about our plan, how would you raise that number closer to perfect?

Leave a comment and let me know what you would suggest.


W. Harris said...

Dave -

I think the word to use is anticipation. There are times in our services that little turns happen, nothing is ever said to the tech folks, we just are always on our toes and thinking 3 steps ahead of our senior pastor and/or worship leader.

This idea takes practice and some familiarity with the body language of your senior leadership team....

Also...continuing with the baseball analogy...Have you thought about using small hand signals (nose is member, ear is senior pastor, etc)? about a prayer...there are times when a prayer happens in our service, not because it was planned, but more so the tech folks and stage folks could communicate with each other. this is not to say the prayer was not serious, though.

my 2 cents
Wes H.

Unknown said...


Let's just say you're lucky you get a radio. We have an intercom system setup for the camera operators, lyrics and lighting, but sound isn't involved.

The only way I could think of to improve the system is to get rid of the middle man. If you have Josh radioing some guy, who tells you, and then you need to tell lighting and cameras then someone needs to somehow tell FOH, there is a lot of dead time. If you were to have all of your directors (lighting, camera, FOH) with a radio dedicated to the "Oh by the way," you may get an increase in batting average.

I'm not sure how you do prophecy at CovLife, but we have a microphone hooked up to a foot switch on the floor, so FOH leaves the channel on and the pastor in charge of prophecy turns it on when someone has a word. That way it's not the job of the mixer to keep an eye on the mic.

Hope some of these help!


Anonymous said...

Dave -

I certainly agree with Josh. It seems as though there are alot of people to go through.

We use hand signals and intercom.

But I have another question. How do you get your comments to follow your post directly? I've tried several things in my sidebar, but none of them work to my satisfaction. I want the ability to have a public conversation with my readers.

Dave Wilcox said...

Pastor Shawn,

I don't think I understand what you are asking about the comments. Can you rephrase the question?


Shawn Gierling said...

Comments from readers directly follow the post to which they refer. In my blog I have only been able to a) provide a link to comments which appear on a separate page and b) a list of recent comments in the sidebar.

I realize that your blog is not dedicated to this kind of help, but thought you might willing to provide some advice.


Dave Wilcox said...

Shawn, I am not a web expert, but I may be able to provide you with some help via email. Send me a message at and we can go from there. Are you using Blogger?

Matthew Westerholm said...

I'm visiting form the heartandvoice blog (which rocks).

I think it would help to know what type of "spontaneous events" we are talking about.

Is it add
+ an unplanned song?
+ move to a time of prayer?
+ relocate all men to one side of the worship center and all women to the other? (Yes, that has happened.)

Our church has a pretty "fly by the seat of your pants" spontanious side, but there's still only about 10 main things that we "spontaniously add". (We call them "audibles.")

Looking over past services should give you a list of the most often called audibles.

My main caution would be to protect your desire for batting 1.000 from creating a spirit of fear among your volunteers. I know we can lower our average to .450 by getting too intense about 1.000.