I have been struck again this week by the fact that the world of church production is a mystery to non-production people. This isn’t a bad thing or something to try to solve. Andy Stanley would say “it is a tension to be managed” (he would actually say it twice for emphasis, but I’ll just write it once). I agree that it is something that is ongoing, but the word “managed” sounds too much like the word “tolerated” or even “giving up on it being any better”. Almost resignation.
As I have been talking to the various production people I work with, and then speaking to the producers of the ministry they support, I am amazed at how easy it is to misunderstand each other, to assume something that isn’t necessarily true, to make conclusions about people without knowing them or asking for more information.
As I write this, I am realizing that there are tons of dynamics going on here and that I could write all day about ways to improve things or how things should be different, but I am going to focus on one.
Help People Understand Your World
For crying out loud production people, start communicating with your counterparts that don’t get your world! You do so much behind the scenes that nobody sees or even understands, and instead of giving you a pat on the back for all your hard work, they end up wondering what you do with all your time. All they know is that they don’t see you around. They also know that you say “no” to all their great ideas without any kind of alternatives or options. When someone is wondering what you do all day, and then you tell them they can’t do something, its no wonder there is a gulf between the booth and the stage!
For years, I would wait for the stage people to come to me to understand my world. After all, I’m an introvert, and it’s OK if I just hang back here by the booth because everyone should come to me and get to know me and ask me how I’m doing and be amazed at all the gear I re-racked this week…It sounds like the beginning to a bad joke.
Get out of your cube, your office, the booth and engage with the people on stage on stage or whoever you need to, in order to bridge the chasm of understanding the exists. Make the move to help the non-production people you work with understand your world…in language they can understand. Create opportunities to connect outside of the tension of services and rehearsals.
Is there tension? Yes. Will it go away? Probably not. Do we need to just live with it? No. Should it be managed? I believe we must get beyond “managed” and figure out ways to leverage the differences for the benefit of our churches. How can we take what makes each of us unique and celebrate the differences so that we can push each other to create the best services possible for our congregations? One thing is for sure, it won’t happen without tons of communication. That starts with you.
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