Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1.23.11 Reverb

This Sunday's sermon entitled Death Shall Be No More was an important reminder of the way God will triumph at the end of time. Death is not the end for those who have trusted in Christ for their salvation.

For those readers outside of Covenant Life, this last week we mourned the loss of two very dear people in our church family: John Spiro and Amy Calderone. Meanwhile, extended family members of two pastors have also passed away recently. The atmosphere around the church has been appropriately sober and filled with a greater longing for heaven.

On Sunday, Bob Kauflin led us in singing about the return of Christ, solidifying our desire to see Christ soon. We also sang a poem written by Amy Calderone about trusting in God through suffering.

Even as we mourned together, we saw eight people baptized in Sunday's service, reminding us that God is about the business of bringing his people into a new life that death will never end.

I have four quick things that you all should know...

5th Sundays - This coming Sunday is a 5th Sunday, and the week 2 team is supposed to cover the weekend. However, I blew it. I didn't get to everyone ahead of time to let them know that they are supposed to serve.

As a precaution for the future, please look ahead on your calendar and note the rest of the 5th Sundays for the year:
  • May 28-29 = Week 3 (this is also memorial day weekend and Next11, so find your subs now)
  • July 30-31 = Week 4
  • October 29-30 = Week 1

Sermon Videos - In preparation for some other new website components, we have set up a channel on Vimeo for our sermon videos. You can now see your work each week here. This is not the final way we're going to present our videos, so the videos are not accessible from our main site. However, we'd love your feedback on quality and usability if you have a second to watch one of the videos.

Drama Time - Yep, the spring and summer string of dramas is here and will be here for some time to come. Sound crew, that means that we will almost always need to clear the stage on Sundays. It also means that you should not trust the sound board settings when you walk in. Grouping and EQs will more often be changed on "standard" channels as we stretch our wireless capacity to the max.

Beginning Baptism Videos - The worship leader usually transitions from singing to baptisms by saying "Please be seated as we watch some people express their faith in God and be baptized." Officially, I'd like to see the worship leader say that. However, it is most important that we see the actually pastoral introduction.

Because we have limited camera shot options, we only have one way to get cleanly into baptisms: Get the worship leader "please be seated" shot from Cam 2 and then get the pastoral introduction from Cam 1. If you can't get the worship leader shot from Cam 2 for whatever reason, just skip it and lock in Cam 1 on pastor in the baptistery.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1.16.11 Reverb

This last Sunday was powerful. God's Spirit proved his faithfulness to meet us once again.

What happened?

The 3rd weekend team did a fantastic job, particularly in the area of flexibility.

For those of you who weren't there in the midst of the chaos, the Next Conference video was a very last-minute addition. I didn't even hear about the possibility of playing this video until after 8am on Sunday morning. We received the video with literally two minutes to go before the pre-service prayer.

Yet, the teams were able to add the cues and test the video within minutes. Then, they made the playback happen without a hitch.

Grant was really thrilled with your ability to adapt and include this at the last minute. Please know that neither Grant nor I want or expect this type of last-minute addition to be the norm, but your eagerness and ability to handle it with such excellence brings peace and a freedom to follow God wherever he may lead.

Because everything went so smoothly this weekend, I have little to write. I have two small things, and then I want to touch on one general trend that I suspect may be creeping in a bit on all the teams.

First Very Small Thing: No More DVD+R Discs

We have finally burned through all ouf DVD+R discs in the sermon media department. Just to keep things simple, we will now be using DVD-R discs for both Video DVD and Audio Archive DVDs.

Second Very Small Thing: Dangling Guitar Cable and Velcro Cable Wrap

Matt had a wireless beltpack for his acoustic guitar this weekend. He positioned the beltpack in such a way that the cable was dangling, which made it bounce a lot as he jumped around. That was only accented by the bright red velcro cable wrap that was bouncing up and down in the middle of the cable. In the future, let's try to position the pack so that the cable is a little more hidden. I'll also replace the red strap with a black one.

That was the only comment I received from the Sunday Planning Team, which means that the team nailed it this weekend.

One Medium Thing: Serving Sleepy

My non-scientific "gut sense" is that more team members than usual have been serving like the dog in the picture above: sleepy. The cause may have just been the crazy holiday schedules that we all kept over the last couple months, or maybe it is the longer serving times required by the pre-service prayer, or maybe it is actually a broader trend. I'm not sure, but I thought I'd mention two thoughts, just in case it is trending:
  1. Everyone on the production teams starts serving on Saturday night. Even though not all of you actually come to the church on Saturday night, everyone on our teams begins to serve on Saturday night. If you want to serve the church effectively on Sunday morning, you need to begin on Saturday night by getting enough rest to come in alert and eager to jump right in. It's a long morning, and you are going to need a full tank at the starting line to be sharp through the end of the race.
  2. The way you engage with the service matters. First, it matters for your own soul. When your responsibilities slow down, you may be able to check out or start up a conversation with a team member about the game, but you may also miss your best opportunity to hear from the Lord. Second, it matters because people are watching. You are very visible, especially those of you in the auditorium sound booths. If you allow yourself to doze off or you choose to read something unrelated to the message, you will be noticed. Your actions make a strong statement about how much you value what is happening in the service at that time, both to those around you and the God you are serving.
Please know that I identify with weariness. Ask my wife. Most often, I have nothing left in me by the time I get home on Sunday. I'm wiped out. By the time the sermon comes in the second service, I am ready to be done. But God is not yet done with the church or with us at that point, and I have to push through to the end in order to faithfully fulfill my responsibilities.

I have even done some of the things I listed above in weariness or carelessness or selfishness, but, when I disengage from the singing or preaching, I'm missing what God wants to use to meet my soul in the midst of serving.

Again, I don't know that this is a major issue, but I want to ask us all to consider two quick questions:
  1. Am I setting myself up to serve effectively with the decisions I make on Saturday night?
  2. Am I valuing what is happening in the service in a way that reflects the fact that God is there and may want to speak to me?
Thanks for considering this. Go ahead and leave any response to this and any thoughts at all about the weekend in the comments.

Photo Credit: TJ Morton

1.9.11 Reverb

Last Sunday was another excellent weekend on the production teams. What happened on Sunday?
I wanted to thank the great group that came out the all-team meeting on Sunday afternoon. I am grateful that you would take the time to attend, and I appreciated those of you who participated in the discussion. We got a lot of good ideas from you.

Have just a few thoughts from this last weekend...

Pre-Service Prayer Slides

I am grateful for the way the team has embraced the new pre-service prayer and even the extended serving after the meeting to allow for more singing after the official dismissal. I know that it has been a sacrifice, but you have given that extra time and effort without complaining. Thank you.

We are going to be altering the pre-service prayer slide arrangement slightly in order to help make them feel more natural. We will use a generic "Pre-Service Prayer" slide on the center screen to clarify that we are in prayer time when people enter. The prayer points will show up on the side screens. Not only will this be more clear for those entering the auditorium, it will also allow us to naturally take the points down when Josh wants to pray for something for which we don't have a slide and when he is closing the prayer time.

Disc Duplication Change

As of now, the sermon media team no longer needs to duplicate CDs or DVDs for the bookstore. Sales in the bookstore are so small these days that we often throw most of these away. We will fill any bookstore orders during the week. Please continue to duplicate the DVDs for the prison ministry. This is a significant blessing to their ministry!

New Headset Microphones for Discovery Land

If you didn't get a chance, check out the new headset microphone plan for Discovery Land. The picture above shows the latest addition to the microphone list.

Food Policy Reminder

As hot drinks become more important to wintertime survival and as break times are reduced because of pre-service prayer, I want to remind you about the rules for eating and drinking at the church. In general, the church has become pretty lenient with food and drinks, but there are two limitations:
  1. No food or drinks on tables near equipment. Yes, this does include the auditorium main booth desk, monitor booth desk and racks, IMAG control room desks, events center mixer rack, events center monitor desk, events center projection desk, edwards room desk, and anywhere else you think it may apply. Please put all food items away from both the equipment and people traffic areas. The purpose of this rule is to protect our equipment from accidental spills and crumbs. Please keep our equipment in great shape.
  2. No food or drink is allowed in the auditorium at all between 8:30a and 1:30p on Sundays. Please finish your coffee and snacks before the doors open for prayer at 8:30am. The purpose of this rule is to protect the congregation from temptation. No one is allowed to have food or drink in the auditorium, and that includes us. If you are not done, please take your food back to the green room when you have a break.
With the new pre-service prayer schedule on Sundays, auditorium team members will need to be thinking ahead to take breaks for sustenance when you have the chance. When in doubt, though, take your food and drinks to the green room.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Discovery Land Wireless Microphone Changes

I am excited to announce that we finally have everything in place to make some official changes to wireless microphones in Discovery Land.

As the sound crews in Discovery Land are aware, the Tree House Gang and Lead Worshippers have gone through a few E6 headset mics in their day, so we've been looking for a less expensive alternative to the E6.

For about the cost of an E6 repair, we can purchase a brand new MM-Audio headset microphone. About six months ago, we switched over about half of our E6 stock to MM-Audio single-ear headset mics, and no one even noticed the difference, so we are going to switch the other half over to MM-Audio double-ear headset mics.

As of today, the new Events Center wireless headset microphone stock will be:
You will undoubtedly notice that we now have 17 headset mics for 9 beltpacks. The goal is to allow each person to have his or her own headset, and then he simply switches beltpacks with the next person who needs it. The headset mic will stay with the actor or singer. This should reduce the number of breakages significantly.

I'd also like to formalize who gets what types of microphones. The teacher will get the E6 mic, the Tree House Gang will get the MM-Audio headsets, and Lead Worshippers will get the Shure WCM16s.

Please comment if you have any questions or further suggestions.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

1.2.11 Reverb

Welcome to 2011!

This may be the year of returning to text-based Reverb posts if I can maintain it.

What Happened Last Sunday?

Notes from the Weekend

Everything went very smoothly this Saturday and Sunday.

Extra thanks go to the sound teams in both the auditorium and Discovery Land who came in on New Years Day to get ready for Sunday.

I also want to thank Tyler for taking the helm as Technical Director, so that I could be free to work on other things for the service. More and more, I'd like to see volunteers "calling the service" as the primary person on headset, so expect to hear some new voices over the intercom in the near future.

I have several small things that I noted and wanted to pass on:
  • Audio Teams - Constant change is here to stay, especially when it comes to pulpinating and de-pulpinating the stage. Please take the pulpit down after the sermon again.
  • Lighting Operators - Please make sure to mark up the stage diagram with your light assignments. It will not only serve you as you write cues, it will save time for the next person.
  • Lyrics Operators - Merry Belated Christmas! We have purchased an iPad that we are testing as a remote control for ProPresenter (see picture above). The goal is to be able to move you down front with Ken, so that you can communicate directly with him, and so you can easily see the hand signals from the worship leader. Brittany Kauflin ran one very successful test this weekend.
  • Graphics Operators (pt 1) - Point of information: The "Welcome to Covenant Life" slide that you put up at the end of pre-service prayer is the cue for the greeters to open the doors and let the loud lobby folks into the auditorium. Please take care not to put the welcome slide up before prayer is fully complete.
  • Graphics Operators (pt 2) - No one pays any attention to the sermon countdown clock, so I have removed it from the CPU2 stage display and from your checklist. It may come back sometime in the future, but for now we won't use a sermon countdown clock.
  • Sermon Media - For the last year or so, we have been including the closing prayer at the end of the sermon recording. Josh Harris has asked us to remove the closing prayer for all future sermons.
Please make sure to leave a comment if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions from this last weekend!