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Funerals, FOH, and the Sovereignty of God

September 6, 2011

For a technical director in a church like ours, weekends usually start around Wednesday w/ stage setups and rehearsals with the worship teams followed by Thursday production meetings with music leaders and pastors.  Fridays are often spent making final adjustments with line assignments, lighting, video clips, repairs, and following up w/ volunteers. This past weekend was a little different.  It was our “family” celebration weekend which included children on risers, a humorous video clip, extra microphones & musicians, posters, some creative choreography with the kids, and communion.  The pastor  spent the past several weeks praying and developing a message about, well …Prayer.  And invited 2 guests to be interviewed at the end.

But this past weekend was different in another way.   Right before rehearsals on Wednesday we received a call from our good friend and colleague that her 6-year-old grandson was in a car accident and was life-flighted to the children’s hospital in Cleveland.  The next morning, before production meeting we received word that little Christopher had died.  Just like that, a member of our worship team was in the middle of a tragic and unforseen situation.  Her daughter Kate and her husband, who we all knew, had just lost her precious son.  We were stunned.  I walked around my office in a bit of a haze – didn’t quite know what to think or say.  My good friend in the office next to me  said several times  “it’s just hard to focus”.  He was right.  There was little detail, other than a couple of txt message updates. It was very sad and a bit surreal.

As the day went on it seemed like we started re-evaluating the weekend service.  The big celebtration songs, the smokin guitar solos, the humor, the kids.  It felt like we maybe started second guessing things that we planned and prayed and sought God’s guidance for.  Was it all still appropriate condisering the circumstances?

Taking the lead from Pastor Reg who was the teaching pastor this weekend the decision was made to continue as planned with only one song modification.  We notified the teams on Friday and everyone rallied.  Our bass player even brought in a stand up bass to bow on a couple of the songs as a special contribution.

In his message Pastor Reg talked about how (when he heard the news) “it took the wind out of his sails”.  So he prayed and in a moment of clarity God essentially said “this may have caught you by surprise, but it didn’t me”  “Do you trust me?”  The entire Bible talks about a God who is Sovereign.  During the services Pastor Reg referred to the loss of young Christopher several times, the songs seemed to flow and fit remarkably well, the kids on the stage helped, often thru tears, experess to the family and those in attendance that we were in this together. Pastor Reg discussed how and why we pray anyway.  And the interview at the end?  It just happend to be with a church couple who lost their 6-year-old son a few years ago to a brain tumor. They talked about their journey and the value of prayer.  You see God had just the right things arranged for this weekend – even long before the events of Wednesday took everyone by surprise.  Why pray? You can listen to Pastor Reg’s message including the Keller’s interview at http://twurl.nl/tim1hk .

That afternoon I had the previlege of helping with the funeral service following the 2nd service.  One of my team members offered to come back and handle presentation and I managed audio.  3 of our worship team provided some music. and I got to help prep visuals for the family on Saturday.

As technical artists we too are sometimes called to serve and create on the fly.  One reward is that, from behind the scenes, we witness God at work in ways that not everyone gets to see.  Serving in ministry is never about what God can get from us or somehow impressing God with our talents, passions, or dedication.  I believe it’s about giving so that we can enter into the flow of what God is doing and to take part in a big story that’s still being written.  There’s nothing like serving in a local church.

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One Comment
  1. Jennifer Yost permalink

    Good stuff, Gary. My parents told me about how great the Sunday service was….it’s interesting to hear from behind the scenes and how it all played out. Yep, He knows what He’s doing, and nothing takes Him by surprise. Thanks for sharing.

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