After a long day of ministry yesterday, I sat down in my recliner to eat a late supper of Bojangles chicken and rice bowl (an excellent choice by the way), and I received a message from a church member who stated:
Thanks for leading worship this morning. That was probably one of the top 2 worship experiences I’ve ever had in a corporate setting. I was in tears by the end of “Christ Be All Around Me.” I had never experienced the words of that song the way I did this morning.
He wasn’t alone. I had tons of encouraging comments, and I could tell God was doing something unique in our midst. It was a really special, heavy time for our church yesterday morning.
The Problem for a Church Tech Team
All the while people are worshiping with passion in the room, our wonderful tech team were sweating and working in the back because the live stream of the service just went out on them. As they worked feverishly to get it back up (and they did), they combatted some technical difficulties that no could expect, plan for, or do anything more than what they did.
Church tech teams are rarely noticed when everything goes flawlessly but oftentimes blamed when something goes wrong.
If you have served on a church tech team, you know the pain of the congregation’s turnaround motion to see who is messing up the service at the soundboard.
In fact, Woody Nivens who plays keyboard for our church will remind our worship team often about his philosophy concerning worship and technology:
God inhabits the praise of his people, but Satan inhabits the sound system.
That can be fairly accurate.
Our tech team does a fantastic job week in and week out of creating a “distraction-free environment.” I am so thankful for them!
Yesterday, because they take their job seriously, they worked so hard to get the service back on for those who weren’t in attendance. And the majority of the service, due to their efforts, was able to be seen. They are putting it back together so that the entirety of the sermon can be seen.
I’ll be honest: I was originally against streaming our services because I didn’t want it to become an excuse for people not meeting together with the local body. I eventually saw the positives for it and we gave it a shot. It has served a great purpose for those who are sick or traveling, and we have seen benefits from it.
I Think God Messed Up Our Livestream
That brings us back to yesterday’s services.
I could be wrong, but I think God was the culprit for yesterday’s glitch.
God is sovereign. I believe that with all that I have. He does what he pleases (Ps. 115:3). He is the ruler and no can withstand him (2 Chron. 20:6). We might make plans, but God is still in charge (Prov. 16:9). He is able to make good out other’s evil (Gen. 50:20) and works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).
My theology causes me to believe that God is sovereign even over technical difficulties. The following story might as well prove it.
During services, a good friend had emailed me a prayer request. This person was trying to make it to church yesterday but it seemed like forces beyond one’s control was denying that from becoming a reality.
Unable to leave home, my friend asked for prayer for sanity and hope from discouragement. They wrote to me:
I can’t make it in person, but I will be there with you online. I hate missing North Side so much. Please pray for us.
In between services, the email popped up on my phone as I was talking through scenarios with our tech team how to fix the stream.
Isn’t that just great?! Here’s someone in need of today’s service and our technical difficulties will keep them from it!
I will be honest with you. A few years ago, I would have been frantic and stressed out. I think I am getting either too old for that or have simply seen God show up in random ways so many times that these things don’t stress me out anymore.
I hated it for my friend, but I just prayed that my friend would be able to connect somehow.
After the service, here’s the email I got:
Wow. I’ll tell you what. God can sure do some crazy transformation if we will let Him. I couldn’t figure out how to tune in live (sorry, it was probably my fault, I’m not super tech savvy) so I listened to the sermon online that I missed from last week. Travis, it changed me. I cannot wait to watch this sermon again and share it with others. Man, God is good. I might not have tuned in, had I just gone to the normal service today or watched today’s service online. And I needed to hear that. He meant it for me.
I then replied and encouraged my buddy. I also let my friend know that they were apparently the reason that God decided to break our equipment and that I was happy about that!
Isn’t that incredible? Amazing. The whole thing was amazing, I know He wanted me to hear that and I know what He wants me to do next, and I will. I am overwhelmed at His message to me. So hopeful, so renewed. Good stuff. I loved to hear about how God orchestrated it all too. Oh, and I am sorry that my stubbornness interfered with everyone else’s ability to listen live today, but I’m so glad that I have this incredible hope that I haven’t felt in so long!
Yes, I do believe that God is sovereign even over technical difficulties, and I praise him for that.
Disclaimer: I do believe God can work through anything, but I do not believe that gives lazy people a free pass not to do their jobs well in churches. Do it in a spirit of excellence (Ps. 33:3;). God fills artists and technicians with a spirit of skill in different areas to lead in worship (Ex. 28:3; Ex. 31:3-4).
We will do what we can to have everything working normal by next week, but if he has a greater purpose and something else blows up, I will have my eyes wide open to see what he is up to next. Love watching Jesus on the move.