pre-flight check

I was getting for a flight to Germany recently, and I happen to be sitting in the airport right next to the plane I was about to get on. While I was sitting there, I noticed the pilot walking around, checking various systems around the plane. As a passenger on that plane, it made me feel great about getting on it and putting my life in the hands of that pilot.

Then I started thinking about the pilot.

How many times has he done the exact same walk around the plane? He seemed a little older than me, so I’m guessing he’d been doing it for 20+ years. The same walk. Looking at the same pieces of gear. Over. And over. And over again.

Regardless of how many times he has done that walk, he continues to do his best, because he knows that lives depend on it. It doesn’t hurt that his life depends on it also, but that also works to my advantage.

OK, so the production work I do generally doesn’t involve having hundreds of people’s lives in my hands, but I think there’s a lot to learn here.

How many times should I watch a new video to make sure it plays correctly?

Every time.

How many times should I do a line check prior to the band arriving to make sure everything is plugged in properly?

All the time.

How many times should I review my lighting cues to make sure there aren’t any distracting transitions?

Each. And. Every. One. Always.

While there are parts of doing production that can be dangerous, for the most part leveraging technology for the local church is about creating a distraction-free environment. If we don’t nail it, nobody dies. However, if we don’t nail it, technology isn’t transparent, letting people focus on the content.

In my opinion, if people realize that technology is involved, we aren’t doing our best. If they are distracted by production and we haven’t gone through our pre-flight checklist, then we definitely aren’t doing our job.

Regardless of how many times I need to check something, I need to.

We have been entrusted with people’s time. They don’t have to come to church. They don’t have to come to our church. I know that most people don’t attend church based on the production values of the church, but if we aren’t creating an environment where people can focus on the content of the Gospel, why would they stick around?

Todd Elliott

Todd Elliott

Todd is a writer, speaker, technical artist in the local church and founder of FILO.

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MAY 2-3, 2023