Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Starting From Scratch

At times we all wish we could start over. Start from scratch. Maybe our sound system is a mess. Maybe our stage is overwhelmed with wires. Perhaps we just don’t like our equipment and wish we could wipe the slate clean.
Think of it as the blinking cursor like the one in the Sunday| Mag logo. Or think of it as a blank piece of paper with a big box of crayons just waiting to be used. We might think when we see that we’re starting from scratch.  But, are we really starting from scratch? Or are your preconceived notions getting in the way of that?


I’d really love to say that everyone and any church could start from scratch. But, that’s not necessarily the case. Systems have been developed, opinions have been formed, personal attachment and emotions are involved… Honestly, one of the few times I believe it’s actually possible to start over is during the planning stages of a church plant. In many cases, there aren’t any preconceived notions, ideas, or baggage holding you back from throwing ideas out there and forming whatever system works for you and your launch team. That’s not to say that you’re not going to tweak stuff as you go and while you learn from situational experiences. But you’ve certainly got the freedom to create something specific for your ministry.
However, it’s a bit harder for churches that are already established. Let’s think through the things we do leading up to and including Sunday to make sure we’re doing things in a way that are both efficient and good.


Just because we’ve always done it, doesn’t mean we should keep doing it. Just because it works, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Sometimes, we just need to make a decision that we’re going to do things differently and better. And it needs to start today. There are a lot of other factors that come into play here. Not everything should be, needs to be, or even can be changed. But don’t get tied to a procedure just because it’s comfortable or gets the job done.
One of my college professors used to tell me, “The day you think you’ve arrived as a creative is the day you’ve died as a creative.” Don’t be the person who has stopped working on and improving their craft and has become so set in their ways that they’ll never change. Always search and strive to learn more. The church technical community has become a thriving and open community to those who want to grow. Don’t be ashamed to ask. Find new ways to do things and improve your workflow and skills.


Many times, techs are simply stuck with what they have. It could be a financial limitation or maybe tech isn’t really a priority in the vision of the church.  Sometimes, not every church leadership member or decision maker is as flexible as you would hope they would be. Or maybe they don’t even understand what you’re talking about and why it’s important. You may consider creating a plan for growth or future upgrades and documenting in plain English why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you’re making these requests. Then, present it to the leadership team explaining how your plan for the future development of your technical resources furthers the vision of the church and its ministries.
The simple fact that you’re thinking big picture and planning and anticipating where the vision and growth of the church will take its ministries will hopefully be appreciated and at least considered.  Remember to make sure you’re exercising grace, understanding, and humility in this process, because anything good you have to say can be easily tainted by a poor attitude behind the request.
Bottom line is this: almost anything you’re going to try to do in changing or modifying the course and direction of a production department takes time and effort. It’s going to require careful planning, good research, and some creativity. Make sure that you understand the goals of your church and tie your ideas into that vision. It’s a gentle massaging of what’s already going on along with a resolve to affect change when you can. You may not be able to start from scratch every time, but you can work to point things in a better direction.

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