Production teams can have a hard time striking a balance between engaging in worship and producing a service.
Think of a referee at a football game. They’re at the game, but they’re not sitting back enjoying it. Referees actively work to make sure the game is moving forward. They also make calls that a lot of people disagree with. No one thinks a referee is sitting back to relax and enjoy the game. The same goes for production teams.
We are actively involved in producing a worship service, but that doesn’t mean we’re able to easily engage in worship. We’re focused on doing our jobs well, hitting cues on time and making sure we know what’s happening next. We also spend a lot of time solving problems and preventing things from going wrong. All of these are crucial to make sure things go well, but it doesn’t make it any easier for us to engage in worship.
The real question is, how can you produce a service with excellence and stay engaged in worship? Here are a few things to try.
Stop and Prepare your heart to worship
One of the best things you can do is set aside time to prepare your heart before starting a service. It’s easy to get caught up in what needs to be done and we can easily miss the opportunity to take a break and focus on worship.
Pausing and reflecting is a great way to break out of the chaos of rehearsals and run-throughs and allows you to focus on what God is going to do through the worship service today, both in you and for others. Take a break before service to shift your mind from production to worship.
- Stop as a team to break out of “production mode,” even if only for a minute.
- Ask God to move in you and through you as you serve during worship.
- Try using a liturgy or a prayer as a team. Check out this article about how liturgy can help you do this.
Engage in worship while you do your job
Each role in production plays a crucial part of making worship happen. Use your role to help you engage in worship. As you run slides, audio, lighting or cameras, focus on the content you’re enhancing. Listen to the pastor while you frame your camera shot, take in the lyrics you’re projecting and let the words change you, worship along with the band as you build your mix.
But what about distractions?
Distractions are unavoidable. Something will always go wrong. When there are distractions and your mind begins to wander, remember Jesus embraced the distractions.
In Matthew 19 we read a brief story of people bringing their children for Jesus to pray for them. Now I don’t image these kids being perfect and well behaved. I’m sure they were squirming and making noise as all children do. The disciples tried to rebuke the families but instead Jesus replied saying, “let the children come to me.” Jesus embraced the mess and the distraction, you can too.
Let your area of service, with all of its beauty and distractions, be a tool that helps you engage in worship.
Serving multiple services? Choose one to call your own.
Running multiple services in a row can make it challenging to stay engaged, especially if you’re trying to be fully present for all of them. Realistically, you’re not going to be fully engaged for every service, things can go wrong and even on a perfect day, your brain can’t completely focus for multiple hours straight.
Instead of trying to be fully engaged for all of them, choose one service to be your service. That might be the first service when things are fresh, or it could be the second or third service since you already know what’s happening and can focus less on your role and what’s happening in worship.
At my church, I think of the first service as my service. Sure, it’s the one that’s most likely to have some transitional glitches, but being on my toes helps me fully engage and I enjoy hearing the sermon for the first time. I still participate in liturgy and singing for all services, but first service is when I focus most on being open to what God is saying to me.
Choose a service to call your own and see how you like it. See if it makes a difference in how you engage. You can always try another service in the future.
Your service is worship
There will be Sundays when you struggle to engage in worship. You might be extra tired, have some other stresses in your life and sometimes things won’t go well.
Worship is never about how well things go, worship is about how we are communing with God, how He’s moving and leading us, and how we respond to all He has done. God doesn’t want your perfect cues and great mixes, He wants your heart. So when you don’t feel like you worshipped, remember, when you serve God’s people you are serving God. Serving others is an act of worship.
Let me end with a brief reminder from scripture:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Romans 12:1
Your life is worship
Worship doesn’t only happen in a worship service or when we’re doing something Christian. Worship happens in our homes, at our jobs and in our communities. Our whole lives are an act of worship to God. Our worship isn’t limited to a worship service.
So as you go and serve your church, worship through your service but also through the way you live your life; how you love your family, how you serve your church and how you love your neighbor. Go and live a life of worship.