I am working in Willow Creek’s Lakeside Auditorium. It used to be the main space where crazy productions have happened over the years. Christmas programs. Outreach events. Conferences. All these are great, but the most important thing that has happened over the years is that people’s lives have been changed for eternity. God has met people here for close to 30 years.
I remember my first experience in this room back in 1989. I remember almost every detail. Where I was sitting. A rock band. Concert lighting. There was no hymnal, just lyrics projected from a slide projector. It blew my mind what church could look like. Every now and then I am still amazed that I work at this place. Tonight, I am sitting in the TD chair, having a difficult time keeping my headset on. I am caught up in the worship, the mix, the lighting, the video, God moving…you name it.
Even with all this happening, we have been in need of a production upgrade in this room for quite some time. Much of the gear we have in here is closing in on 20 years. Especially the audio. In 1992, this system was the state of the art, the cutting edge of technology. It has been a workhorse for our church, pushing air for countless amazing events where people met Christ. However, it is now time to look for something new, to help make people’s experience as transparent as possible; to translate all that is happening on the stage out into the seats.
Our audio team is, needless to say, overjoyed at the prospect of replacing this dinosaur of a system. To be able to experience clarity; to have low end; to not be sitting inside a giant comb filter. Even with all these strikes against the current system, I have been in wonder at what God can do regardless of the PA hanging in the room. There is an environment where 1000+ people are experiencing God. Hands raised. Voices lifted up. The PA is transparent tonight.
I would be lying if I said I am not excited about a new sound system in this room. It has been on the replacement list for years. It sounds bad. I feel responsible to offer up the best sound possible and this is not it. But it is good for me to remember that God can work and move, regardless of the PA, regardless of graphics being on time or not, regardless of whether the color scrollers match.
Whatever the weak link in your production system is, it is not so bad that God can’t work.
As a technical artist in the local church, the Body of Christ needs me to care deeply about creating the best environment through the use of production and production equipment. My church also needs me to grasp the fact that God can work and move without the latest and greatest piece of gear.
As Andy Stanley would say, it is a tension to be managed. How are you managing this tension?