Monday, September 1, 2008

amazing but difficult weekend

If you watched our Thursday programming meeting last week, you know this weekend was our first in house baptism. It was amazing and very moving but not without problems.

Saturday evening service was the service in which the baptisms took place. We then ran video of the baptisms for the two Sunday morning services. This proved to be tricky!

Pastor Tim asked us to design the service to build the 7 baptisms into our worship. It was such a great idea and our people responded enthusiastically. To watch each person step into the baptismal as the beautiful worship was going on, took my breath away! (You can watch this service at

This service was one of the most challenging technical services we have ever done on a regular weekend. We ran words for the songs on the center screen, and then as each person was baptized we keyed the name of the person being baptized on the lower third of the side screens. Some of the images/text came off of our INCA computer and some from Media Shout. Our video director was constantly giving instruction to camera operators and the character generator operator, switching back and forth between each image and text. All went well on Saturday until close to the end of the service when the CG operator thought she was clear to bring up the next lower third text. At the most crucial part of the service the announcement guy’s name come up behind the pastor. In an attempt to react quickly several more images came up on the center screen behind the pastor before the director could get things reset. Can you say tension!

I commented to our Media Coordinator on handset, that I thought that was about the craziest thing I have ever seen. But the next mistake was to be the ultimate. Following our announcement segment at the end of the message, the band was supposed to play our audience out live. When the announcement guy got done, the band just stood there, we started calling on the headsets asking what was wrong as we watched the entire band turn toward the EMPTY drum set! I called for the play list to come up to cover the silence just as one of our other drummers leaped from the audience to the drums. Somehow they shouted what song they were playing and the drummer played as if he was the drummer scheduled for the weekend! Impressive!

Sunday was full of more surprises. We played the video from the night before of both Pastor Tim introducing the new way we were doing baptism as well as the baptisms themselves. I was skeptical whether this would be moving compared to the live experience but it worked! All went well again until the end of the service when the drummer began the final exit song instead of waiting for the announcement guy to give the announcements first. I have to share in the blame for this mistake. After the drummer missed the final song the night before, neither the worship leaders nor myself (the buck stops with me!) sat down and made sure he remembered how things were supposed to run.

So my encouragement to you leaders is, you cannot over instruct! Keep repeating yourself. A five minute conversation would have eliminated this mistake.

Despite the difficulties of this weekend, I am already looking forward to our next baptism on the last weekend in October. Now that our people know how we plan to baptize within our service I am confident we will have live baptisms for all three services. Our teams have gained valuable experience this weekend that we wait anxiously to apply to our next service.

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