Category Archives: Weekend Services
We had worshipped without video for centuries. Why not another day?
What do you learn from these situations? And for some of us :: what are we reminded of when these type of things happen to us at “go” time.
It’s simple :: throw in the white flag. You can’t fix what you can’t fix. It’s no, it’s not that you can’t fix it. You just can’t fix it within the time you have — which may be no time. And yes, some of you tech geeks are saying, “I could have fixed it eventually.” You might have been able to fix it, but would you have been able to fix it without distraction?
And while you’re fixing it, are you able to concentrate on what’s happening in worship? You know, worship is still going on, not just exactly the way you planned. Your call.
What I’m saying is this :: yes, it’s really ok to raise the white flag and regroup. Go ahead with whatever you’ve decided is Plan B.
You are not Superman. And you’re definitely not God. So you’re gonna lose sometimes.
After years of services. Month after month. Every week. Multiple weekend services. The odds will catch up with you. We aren’t perfect and neither is the equipment we work with.
And smile while doing it. Let me explain.
If you’ve been reading my blog for anytime at all you know that I talk continually about preparation. A solid creative process allows the Creatives lots of time to prepare, hone their craft, and get all the details completed as planned.
But then there was yesterday. Sunday morning worship. 9 am. November 4, 2012.
Let me rewind and describe the morning for you.
Actually let’s go back another 13 hours. Saturday night. Everything went well for both our evening services. After those two worship experiences were complete we had determined there would be no changes. So everyone went to bed thinking that all was ready for Sunday worship on all three campuses.
OK. Fast forward to Tempe campus the next morning.
7:30 am music rehearsal. Check
8:00 am musical & tech run-thru . Check.
8:45 am doors open. Check
8:55 am — the proverbial demon climbed into the video systems and all hell breaks loose. We delayed the countdown. And we still couldn’t figure it out. The center screen had decided to resize itself, but the computer was telling us that it was the correct size.
The cheat monitors down front (for the musicians) were not responsive and had flat-lined. There didn’t seem to be a reason for this either.
We tried everything we knew. But we had run out of time and could not delay the service any longer. We were going to have to go to Plan B. And it was a simple plan. Proceed without video.
And I’m talking about preparing for a guest speaker or musician in you worship experience. I love it when we have new people on stage. Everyone likes the out of the ordinary every once in a while.
The special speaker can bring a different perspective. And it can also serve as a simple break for your pastor too. And the same goes for your worship leader.
The reason for this article is to get you to think about how to prepare for a guest.
Remember, I’m the one that says over and over again — plan — prepare. Duh — I wrote a book about it.
So what should you do to get ready for your guest? Ask lots of questions:
Let’s start on the stage and work backwards
- Do you speak from a table, a podium, a music stand, etc.
- Do you need a stool, a chair, nothing?
- Would you like water on stage? Wine? A beer? (Just kidding)
The Green Room
- Do you like to be alone offstage?
- Would you like to sit in the worship center for one of the worship services?
- What do you need in your green room with you (food & drink)?
Your Travel to the Church / Contract
- Make sure you are clear on the travel arrangements
- Who makes the arrangements
- Housing needed?
- Contract needed? Cost for speaking or singing? Amount?
Other things often missed
- How long do they speak
- What do they speak about
- Do they choose the songs or will they be chosen for them?
Your specific situations dictate what questions need to be asked. I’d advise you write those things down so that you don’t miss them when you have a guest.
Bottom line :: This needs to happen well in advance of the visit. If this is discussed late in the game — I promise there will be problems.
I want to extend the conversation for this week’s blog. And I actually want to narrow the conversation a bit. You don’t have to go far before you hear, or read, or see, or have a conversation about the political season we are in.
You’d have to be living under a rock not to realize that we are right in the middle of a very contentious political debate.
So what is the Church’s Creative Arts folks gonna do with that?
Do they run from it?
Do they embrace the conversation or steer away from the debate?
Is there any part of this political season that is redeeming? Is there anything about the subject that can be used?
There are answers to these questions. On Wednesday I’m gonna talk a little bit more about how we used the political season to promote an upcoming sermon series. I mentioned it briefly in last Wednesday’s blog post, but this Wednesday I share with you our video teaser and talk with you about the focus of this series.
I told you Monday that I’d talk about the behind the scenes of this video project.
The Creative Arts Team in creating the elements for The Cure looked at the synopsis for week three:
I cannot experience love without humility. Humility is trusting God and others with the real me. It is the currency of love. The degree to which I am honest with you is equal to the degree that I allow you to love me. If love is the process of meeting needs, then I cannot be loved unless my needs are known.
Knowing this moved us to the discussion about having a video. And the Secrets Video Project was born.
Not only did we decide on the content of the video, but also the placement of it in the worship cue. We knew that our Pastor wanted to have a special time and give people the opportunity to say “Yes” to Christ. In other words, a gospel presentation and a I time for people to receive Christ.
So that’s how the project was created and how we wanted to use it.
The work now had to be done. And a lot of work had to be done. First, a script had to be written — a storyboard of the entire video. A couple of people collaborated on this, but several people had “eyes on” it and had opportunity for input. After the final storyboard was determined, the video, lighting and audio team members had to do their magic.
From watching the video posted in this blog, you would think that the audio director had the easiest job because it seems that we used the original soundtrack. That’s far from the truth. We used our live bands to play under the video. Which meant an audio click track had to be created. That’s was step on so that the bands could rehearse.
And since the video required personnel, and lots of it, the team had to find them and recruit them. We needed a photographer to play a photographer. OK that one was easy. Our video director’s wife is a professional photographer. We also wanted to engage some of our artists so that the lettering would be creative and well done. We used two and It was!
But the rest of the recruiting wasn’t as easy. It wasn’t that the people weren’t there, but we needed folks willing to be humble and authentic. The verbiage written on their bodies was their testimony. Not ours. And we also wanted people across the age spectrum. And finally we wanted to equally use people from all three of our campuses.
The number of personnel needed is one of the main reasons why it was SV’s most collaborative video project.
We then needed to determine the location. And the location determined the amount of lighting needed. And that determined the electrical demand. We landed on the decision of shooting in an unfinished office area on our campus. The rawness of the location was perfect for the shoot.
To state the obvious: the video was shot and the video director did is terrific job of editing. He has a great eye for these things.
The use of the video in the worship experience will be a day that Sun Valley will look back on for some time. It’s one of those memorable moments that people will point too.
We’ve already had lots of comments from other churches too. I’d love to know what you think about it.
I’ve included the message for The Cure Week #3 :: Humility
For the next couple of weeks, I’m gonna spend my blog space talking about recent videos produced by Sun Valley.
Using this media has become a very important way of communication. And it continues to grow in effectiveness. Almost all homes have at least one TV. Smart phones are everywhere. And iPads and Tablets are taking the medium of video to the highest level — to a level that we haven’t seen in any previous generations.
And frankly, I can’t see it slowing down any time soon.
The video I’m featuring here is called “Secrets.” It could be described as a video version of “cardboard testimonies.” Those in this collaboration revealed a secret in their lives. The message was about being authentic with God and each other.
It was the most collaborative project we have done at Sun Valley since transitioning into a 3-campus church. Choosing and producing creative elements for a sermon series has now become a more complicated ordeal. Why? The SV Creative Arts Team must not only consider what needs to be communicated in the video piece, but also those involved in the shoot. We have to consider the strength of the individual campuses recognizing those featured in the shoot. It may or may not be an issue — but its a question that we now must ask.
In this case — Secrets — it was imperative that there be individuals featured from all three campuses.
I’ll talk more about this on Wednesday. I will also go into detail about the great number of people and resources this project required. The click track. The people. The resources. The location.
It was one of the most fun and most rewarding video projects I’ve been apart of.
Yep. We decided that at Sun Valley that this was our best option. This will mean changing Saturday’s schedule altogether. Remember that we used to have one service at 5 pm. Now we will have two: 430 & 6 pm.
We will begin this new schedule in August — just before our big Fall sermon series. And we intend on promoting it big with the Sun Valley community. We have a funny video idea that I’ll tell you about in another blog. The intention is to get as many of our community to move to Saturday as possible, this freeing seats on Sunday when most guests come.
- This will affect our volunteers because our weekend will get a bit longer.
- This will affect the creative staff also. I am considering a new system of rotation–a weekend off, if you will. I’ll be writing about that scheduling soon too.
- Because we are changing the existing service, it will affect those already attending the 5 pm service. They will have to make a change.
Note: the reason we created change for the 5 pm service was to
Bring more attention to the change.
Give the 5 pm folks a decision so that the two new service time will begin with folks in both.
This should be an interesting time for Sun Valley. I’ll definitely keep you up on the news and the how well these changes are embraced.
At Sun Valley the 1030 am Sunday morning seems to be the best attended. Our next best hour is Saturday night at 5 pm. This is when my family comes. Next in line is Sunday at 9 am and then 1159 am.
Those I talk to that attend Saturday night services almost always give me the same reason: I can go to church on Saturday and have all day Sunday with the family. That’s the reason my family attends Saturday. It makes sense.
Moving on. When you begin to fill up these four services. Then what?
I’ve worked at churches with Sunday night services. The were not an overwhelming success. Frankly, I haven’t talked to many churches that have had success with Sunday night services. I wonder why? We’ll have that discussion in a later blog.
So, what should we do? What do you think? We’ve got to do something.
We’ve come to a place at Sun Valley where every time we have a big spike in attendance we run out of room, thus creating uncomfortable crowds. You can manage crowds, but when it becomes uncomfortable for the guest, they don’t stick. We have to do something in order to make more space — more open chairs for guests.
There’s no getting around the fact that we are going to have to add another weekend worship experience. On Wednesday I’ll tell you what we’ve decided.
Throughout all of history the hero has been celebrated. Everyone loves a hero.
There have been parades. Entire city blocks barricaded and designated for the hero’s welcome.
News organizations have dedicated entire shows to document the life of a hero.
Each week after telling an amazing story of a faithful, historical figure, we would celebrate a Sun Valley person, or couple — people who’s passion for others changed lives. This was the most important part of the weekend because it showed that God uses ordinary people. People just like me and you to do amazing things. If we are only obedient.
There are stories to be told — don’t miss the opportunity.
On Monday I talked about God Stories — our Sun Valley stories of Heroes.
During the Legacy series we told great and moving stories of godly heroes — life-change stories.
Today, I share with you the story of SV’s Special Needs Ministry.
Tomorrow, I’ll share another. Don’t miss it!