This one is a long post that really only the tech guys will appreciate. It’s a little bit deeper then my usual posts so beware.Our lead/teaching pastor speaks on average 45-48 times a year, in an effort to lighten that load some of our other pastors have started speaking on a more regular basis. I really like this idea, but I have a 7 year investment in our main pastor and a workflow that is designed to work for him, getting other pastors involved means I now have to design a workflow that makes sense for each of them individually, and I am having to get used to each pastors unique…personalities.
So here is a little peek into an incident that happened to me recently.
It started out Saturday when I arrived at church I received an email from the pastor who was speaking that weekend saying “here is the latest copy of my notes” which I had finished and uploaded the day before. I expected a few verses to be removed maybe a verse or two added, nothing serious, 5 minutes worth of work tops.
An hour later I was finished.
For the record on a good day I can get message notes from text on the page to finished in less then 20 minutes. I have been prepping message notes for preachers for literally all of my adult life, it is something I am proficient at. So why did it take so long?
Let me show a little of our process here, I don’t do the message notes usually. If you read this blog this wont be a shock to you, I can’t spell and I have bad grammar. The amount of typos I would make alone insures that someone else should really be doing this. Because I am so overwhelmingly bad, my pastor’s admin does it and she is awesome, and yes I am aware that I am a very fortunate individual, thanks for the reminder. Oh and Sara if you are reading this, you rock!
That said once she gets all the data entry done I put a little time into getting the format (font choice, color, size ect…) done. So come Saturday we had this done already, these notes were ready for air. So when I start going through the notes I notice nothing is in order, the message has been totally rewritten and stuff that was at the end is now the beginning and vice-versa. So first I have to establish what I have vs. what I don’t, get what I don’t have, and remove the stuff I have but now no longer need. Sitting back looking at Pro presenter I felt like a battlefield surgeon, I had all i could and I thought it was right, but only time would tell. In retrospect it might have been faster to just start from scratch, but by the time I figured it out I was already mostly done.
So hour later.
Message notes are done (AGAIN) and I am one bitter tech guy because I just lost an hour, right before service.
So as I was thinking about how much I hate when stuff like this happens, and why we have to have amateur hour THIS weekend? No not one of my proudest moments. Sitting alone in the video room it hits me, what if God actually spoken to our pastor last night? What if while he was focusing on delivering God’s message God showed up and gave it to him? What if this is it? Can I really let it be MY fault God didn’t show up cause I didn’t do my job? Rather then celebrating that we certainly were going to receive a God inspired message, am I really bitter because someone actually asked me to do MY JOB? The answer was yes, again not one of my proudest moments. Then a verse popped into my head, I recalled a portion of Luke 17 verse 10
“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'” Luke 17:10 NIV
So here I am being bitter about doing what amounts to MY JOB and Jesus says I am an unworthy servant because I have only done my duty. Wow! That thought hit me like a slap in the face, because at that point I was only barely doing my job.
Worse, it then occurred to me if I had confronted my pastor on this whole redoing work issue, he would try to explain his circumstances exactly the way I just got insight to. If he had done that in that moment, when I was bitter about redoing the work, it would have made me more mad. Again I’m not proud of this, it’s just how I felt. That my friends is a painful moment of self-actualization that will shame you into writing blog posts, believe you me.
Seriously though, this is an area I think a lot of tech guys struggle, we want to be open to the movement of the Spirit, but at the same time we want to plan as much as possible and balancing those can be tough. So what I am learning is that it is not up to me to decide if THIS is God’s moment, the best thing I can do is assume it is His moment and that I need to make it happen.
Don’t read that as a blank check to let your pastors go all off the reservation, the real take away here is there is a difference between abandoning a perfectly good plan because the Spirit moved, then not having a plan and expecting the Spirit to show up. I believe God honors planing and preparation, but I don’t think it’s the only tool he has. Spontaneity is often just as powerful, and what I am learning is true insight rarely comes when it’s convenient. More importantly who am I to think I can decide “this is God’s moment to show up”. Sadly I am not at the point yet that I look forward to last minute changes as “this is God showing up” no my knee jerk reaction is still not what I wish it was, but hopefully I am getting better.
Sounds like you need more of a process for “guest pastors” and a drop dead day of week for submital of/changes to the presentation. Your points are valid regarding accommodating change, but I think God works both through the planning of his people and the Spirit. If last minute changes become the norm, then someone is not planning enough and giving those responsible for implementation enough time to do what they are gifted at.
You are absolutely right Larry. I really struggled with posting this because I did not want people to read it as me advocating for letting people walk all over a well laid plan or process.
It’d be a shame if the congregation had to get out a paper and pencil, open their bibles and pay attention. Keep spoon-feeding them, Mark! (Wow, did I just say that?)
Mark, I enjoyed your article very much. You are such a gifted young man, but more importantly, you have mature spiritual eyes. Many people never see from your perspective. Your actions are a reflection of your heart. Thanks for serving God with such passion and humility!