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Tech in church – serving behind the scenes? It matters …a lot

It wasn’t quite what we expected.  The first event mixing on a newly installed sound system was for a small funeral. Not complicated or particularly glamorous. Pretty simple really with 1 mic, 1 song track, and a single light setting. The reality was that somebody knowledgeable and capable had to sacrifice a few hours on a Saturday morning to serve.  I was one of a handful that had the privilege of helping a good friend and serve his hurting family.

Few in this room will ever have a clue about the past two years of sound system planning, meetings, the complex installation that began 5 days prior, or the late hours our team spent getting things dialed the night before – so we could be ready for today.  They don’t know what we do behind the scenes nor should they have to. But for this group of people, carrying much sadness and grief, some who might be feeling far from God or maybe haven’t stepped into a church for a long long time, in this moment – this stuff mattered …a lot.  

If you serve your local church in the area of Technical Arts, please understand, what you and I get to do behind the scenes each week at our campuses matters …a lot. The time and energy you invest learning your craft and caring for one another on your team during the week matters …a lot. The effort you make to be on-site a few minutes ahead of the band ensuring that systems are fully on and working properly, on time matters …a lot. (It’s how we serve our team and create a low anxiety environment for our worship leaders.)

So thank you all: Thank you for serving in your church. Thank you and thanks to your families who get to see you devote maybe even one weekend a month to caring for and serving others. Thanks for re-arranging your work and personal time, for juggling vacations and recreation, for prioritizing your kid’s activities to make room for God to work in your life and in the lives of others. Thank you for taking part in creating transformational moments each week that minister to hurting people. Thanks for serving our pastors and musicians each week so God’s word can be clearly understood. Regardless if you serve a small group or single event of 6 – 60, or multiple complex  services with full rooms of 250, 350, 600, or 1000+, there will be stories of eternal life-change you will likely never hear about this side of heaven.

Your church – the people who serve in it and the people who attend it each week depend on you.

Please know that whether you are a veteran technician, or are just starting this amazing journey, your investment of time and effort providing audio, video, camera, and lighting operations is deeply appreciated and you are dearly loved. Blessings, and serve well this week!

Climbing the rock charts

Wow, I discovered that I’m ranked #2 in the Huron, Ohio Rock scene according to Reverbnation.com.  (Actually it drifts between #2 and #14). Even though I have no album, sell no music online, and have not performed in about 25 years, It’s fun to know I a still somehow fit in the music business 😉  Stop by and check out a few of my experimental tracks.

Reverbnation – GLYonek The Bunkhouse

And check out the Facebook and Instagram page for my basement recording studio The Bunkhouse and become a fan.  (Maybe someday I’ll open up a merchandise site and sell t-shirts. LOL)

Facebook – Bunkhouse Audio

Instagram – Bunkhouse Audio

Part 1: Is The Medium The Message?

In 2007 I attend a conference in San Diego and became totally fascinated with one of the sessions on media and technology. Given today’s sociological and cultural climate, I began to think how some of these thoughts and ideas might explain recent events and behaviors.  At the time, I thought I was going to maybe learn about the newest and greatest projector and TV technologies.  Instead, I participated in a remarkable dialog on how we perceive information, how communications has changed over course of history, and how introducing new technologies often produce unanticipated results that reach far beyond the impact of the literal content.

I recall the presenter’s name was Shane Hipps, who wrote a fascinating book called The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture. Before becoming a pastor, Hipps was an executive for Porsche in the area of marketing and advertising. And although the discussion was directed primarily at church leaders, the ideas were a profound basis for how events and human behaviors can unexpectedly change each time a new technology or medium is introduced.  Much of the foundation principles and illustrations were taken from the writings of Marshall McLuhan, particularly from his 1964 book titled Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

I remember there where several topics that were particularly eye-opening and that literally changed the way I view and assess my surroundings ever since.  Over the course of the next several posts, I’ll try to briefly explore each one and consider if they have any relevance whatsoever to today’s current events.  If you have an interest or background in communications, particularly electronic media, please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas. These will include:

  • Definition of Media (the plural of medium) – may not be what you think.
  • Oral and written cultures.
  • How a medium progresses/expands, saturates and implodes.
  • What happens when a new communication technology is introduced.
  • How we perceive and experience printed information vs. video information vs. other forms of technology.
  • The introduction of the printing press technology to the world.
  • Oral/tribal, Literate/private and the evolution of the “global village”

 

Well That’s That

“Well That’s That” is a slightly satirical look at ourselves and what’s next. It’s about living and what we’re going to make of it. Ultimately, it’s about in who and what you personally place your hope and trust. The song is not in any way a political statement for or against one candidate or another, one party or another, or one issue or another. Not even close. Regardless of if and how we may have voted, regardless of who lives in the white house, we each have an individual  opportunity to make a difference every day. Long after we cast a vote, we put on our shoes each day and walk out into an uncertain life deciding how and if we will love better, build better relationships, care more for our spouses and our families, our neighbors, others in need, and those different than ourselves. We choose if we live in fear of things we don’t understand, or simply can’t control – each day we decide if our words will lift others up or tear others down. Now we get to pick up and move on just as we did yesterday, or a year ago, or 10 years ago, and deal with all the things being human throws our way. It’s a brand new day.

 

The Spirit of Poverty

Sending meaningful financial and human resources to faraway places like a small Batwa village in Burundi, Africa not only makes us feel good – it also changes us.  I’ve twice now visited this, one of the poorest places in the world.  Over the past three years I’ve come to better understand myself, my views on poverty, love and grace, how I listen to others, and how I can better impact my local community.  In addition to meeting some immediate physical needs, these outreach efforts can bring dignity, peace, hope and spiritual healing to those we partner with. After three years serving our friends in Burundi, I’ve learned that despite severe material poverty, there exists a deeper “spirit of poverty”.  The 140 families in the village of Bugenuzi, (our friends with whom we’ve committed to partner and journey with) share something very profound with you and me.  They long for healed relationships. They long to know God. They long for healthier marriages, dignity and trust from others, a future and purpose for their children, peace, security, to trust and be trusted, to be understood and respected – to love and be loved.  They cry and hurt over the exact same things we do here in the west. And in that way we all share in the same spirit of poverty. In fact it has little to do with material wealth or lack thereof. Reaching out internationally gives us a glimpse into other cultures and value systems and by doing so gives us a better glimpse into our own brokenness and need for love and forgiveness.  Sharing the Good News and being Jesus to others is a universal calling whether we do it locally, regionally, or globally.

Reaching out internationally gives us a glimpse into other cultures and value systems and by doing so gives us a better glimpse into our own brokenness and need for love and forgiveness. 

 

Note: The Chapel partners closely with an amazing organization called Harvest Initiatives who are committed to providing holistic care to people and training to indigenous leaders in Burundi, Africa. As of August 2016, the Chapel has sent three teams to assist with building houses, help train pastors and distribute food to children and adults. But it’s Harvest Initiatives that nurture vision and strategy, maintain staff, and provide daily developmental support in Bugenuzi. In 2012 and 2013 our village experienced an average of 72 deaths per year (6/month) of children under five due to lack of nutrition and basic medical attention. burundi-3  As a result of our partnership with Harvest Initiatives, there was only one child death in 2015 and none so far in 2016.  The long term strategy is to nurture and develop a self-sustaining community where outside aid and resources are no longer necessary. Generosity changes everything!

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