These cool “TV-looking” panels are simply those plastic thingys that they put under fluorescent lights in offices to diffuse them. Lit from behind with LEDs, they look great, and can be easily moved into different formations from week to week! Kudos to Travis Carpenter on my team for a cost-effective and easy idea!
Tag Archives: Worship Planning
What are you doing when you’re not singing or playing?
My role these days is usually as the worship service “producer” at Northview. It’s my job to lead the planning process. It’s also my job to make sure that all of the elements are solid, and that they fit together and flow well.
We work on transitions a lot – we don’t just need great worship music, videos, etc… – the service elements all need to flow well and fit together in a way that makes sense. We also take the visual into account. I’m a musician by background, and I know that one of the weaknesses of my kind is that we tend to focus on the music – only. There’s so much of an emphasis on making it sound great, that we completely ignore what it looks like. We lose focus of the fact that a big part of communicating is visual. And that’s our job. To communicate. To communicate God’s love to His people, and to communicate our thanks back to God.
So back to the visual side of things. Keeping the focus where it should be is critical. All it takes is someone messing around with an effects pedal, or scanning the congregation for friends, or – and I’ve seen it happen fairly regularly – scratching themselves, and you’ve just pulled people’s attention away from the elements that you worked so hard to put together in the first place, or – even more seriously – away from focus on God. Focus on God if it’s a song to God. Focus on the congregation if it’s a song designed to encourage each other in following/serving Him. Between songs, vocalists and band members should be looking at whoever is talking or leading a moment.
More in the days to come on focus..
Any time that you deal with people, things get messy…
There really is a fine line between communication and manipulation – actually, a very blurry fine line, if that’s even possible. In fulfilling our job to lead worship (to really help people engage in worship), there are two primary schools of thought. Let me use their extreme examples to highlight the difference. One is the “I’m worshipping God privately here, and everyone can watch me doing that, and that that will inspire them to do the same, because I’m so worshipful.” The other is the “I’m a worship cheerleader, hey I can’t hear you, you’re not singing loud enough, hey, I’m talking to you, person in the 5th row!”
I don’t have the perfect answer. I’ve headed too far in both of those directions at various times over the years, but my gut feeling is that there really needs to be a balance. It’s kind of a representation of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, if you will – a call to worship God above all, and a call to care for those around us. It also is a call to be a part of a community. I really am kind of distressed how attached to our gadgets we are, and how alone we can be, even in the midst of a crowd… Worship in community – praising God, encouraging each other – is better than that. It’s good for our, souls, and is just – well – right.
We need to communicate God’s love to each other, to support each other, and to help each other walk away from our pain, temptations, weaknesses and hardships (even our boredom). This takes worship leaders who will look us in the eye and show God’s love, all while actually showing love back to God. Not put on a show (i.e.. manipulate), even though everything in our culture pushes us in that direction. Not close off the world, because that locks out the very people God wants us to show His love to. It’s not easy to get it right. In fact, it’s impossible to do without God. But we all need real worship leading – and leaders – desperately.
Treat your sound people right! Here’s one quick tip to help that to happen – have one person communicate from the platform/stage to the soundboard. At our campus, it’s the worship leader. If someone needs something, they relay that need to the worship leader (who filters the ask to see if it really is a need and not a “diva-type” request). The worship leader then relays the ask to the sound person (respectfully), and the situation is worked on until it’s done. This helps to make sure that there aren’t multiple requests coming from the stage at once, and that issues are resolved before moving forward. Here’s a link to an article which will help the worship leaders among us to walk in the shoes of our soundpeople – I don’t agree with everything here, but there’s a lot of truth. (click here)
We work hard at Northview to create a buzz. We’re totally unapologetic about it. It doesn’t happen every week, nor should it. But every once in awhile, we go all out to make something happen that people will talk about to their friends, post on Facebook, etc…
I really think that most people largely sleepwalk though life. They try to surround themselves with a bubble of comfort and predicability. That’s understandable, because life really does throw us a lot of curves, and it’s truly hard not to want to withdraw. We put up barriers to keep ourselves from being hurt more than we think we can bear. In many ways, we’ve also become semi-immune to bad news – unless that news directly affects us – because we’re relentlessly bombarded with images of pain, suffering, loss, war, betrayal, etc… every time we watch (or click on) a news show or site.
But life, change, hope – all of the good stuff – only comes when we’re fully awake and engaged. The buzz helps people to wake up. It’s just a front door – a door to something better. What we do with it then is what’s really important…