this one’s for kristin

Posted: April 6, 2009 in church, crossings, God

video-and-lightsJust about anything that can go wrong, technically speaking, seemed to go wrong yesterday at Crossings.  I can blog about this only because I’ve had time to calm down about it after 24 hours.  But yesterday I was fuming.

The Square Room has amazing equipment.  State of the art stuff, especially for a small venue.  Unfortunately, amazing also translates as complicated.  And most of us in the productions team simply don’t know enough about the stuff to fix it if something goes really wrong.

Around 7:30am yesterday, Stephanie realizes we’re not getting the computer and the video projectors to link up.  Long story short – about 3-4 of us spent the next 100 minutes trying to figure this out.  By 8:30, I realized we may need a back up plan.  We find our old projector downstairs, bring it up, but can’t get it to work right with our Dell computer.  At 9:10am, five minutes before the service, we have this huge blue screen projecting on the wall, trying to get the old projector to work, obviously making the community curious.

There are no words to project for the worship set in the first service.  Dustin and I are on the floor in the sound area trying to make the old projector work with Bill’s Macbook computer, just so we can project Mark’s teaching notes through power point.  We get this to work … sort of.  The color is off.  Everything projects as green.  Mark stalls at the beginning of the teaching so we can run cords and cables into the seating area, put the projector on a music stand, and project a crooked, green colored image onto the screen.  It doesn’t fit right, so the lens has to be shifted.  This keeps happening throughout the teaching.

At one point in Mark’s teaching, confetti randomly falls from the ceiling, out of nowhere.  We think it’s leftover confetti from the StarQueen show a couple of weeks ago, but we’re not sure.

There’s an important video at the end of the teaching.  We can’t show it.

First service ends.  In the next 20 minutes, we go find the other backup video projector that used to be used for Kids City.  It’s smaller and easier to use on a music stand.  I frantically type in all the worship lyrics into a power point file, finishing this literally 1 minute before the service needs to start.

The smaller projector is easier to use, and projects a more appropriate sized image on the screen.  But all the images and words are still green.  We figure out later this is due to a bad VGA cable.

All the while, Trevor is running sound this morning.  Trevor’s a great sound guy, but he had never run sound on his own since moving to The Square Room.  The board is vastly more complicated than our old one.  Our normal sound guy was not able to make it, so Trevor filled in.  Robert, who was supposed to play electric guitar, agreed to play bass about 45 minutes before the service was supposed to start.

At one point during Mark’s teaching in the 2nd service, the sound board reverted itself back to previously customized settings that we don’t use.  It made an extremely loud feedback noise that hurt everone’s ears and caused Trevor to literally jump out of his seat.

So, 2nd service goes on.  Green words.  Green teaching notes.  Loud haunted sound system feedback.  We decide to try and run the video after common meal.  It’s on Bill’s computer, but I’m not a Mac guy and have no idea how to make it run or project correctly.  So we run a 3 minute video, in green, that is never fully projected on the screen.  I can’t even explain the ridiculousness of what this looked like.  It was hilarious.

And through it all, sitting beside me, my friend Kristin, who’s running lights, is laughing, smiling, shaking her head, and offering humorous commentary.  I think she was the very first person to notice the falling confetti.  And she couldn’t stop laughing for about 5 minutes.

And here’s the kicker.  We still had church.  We still met as a community.  We still worshipped.  We still engaged in the story of the “Triumphal Entry”.  We still communed with Christ in common meal.  We still laughed.  We still “woo hoo-ed”.

We place a good bit of dependance on sound, lights, cables, mics, screens, and other technical things.  But we’ve discovered more than once that those things are certainly not central to our community.  Our worship, friendship, engagement in the teaching, enjoyment of common meal … all of these things transcend technical difficulties.  They remind us we are still just flawed humans loved by God, and that we still look forward to being together, even when things don’t work out as planned.  It’s almost as if God “confused our speech”, just to make sure we realize that “this is not about that.”  This is not about that.  And that’s a very good thing.

  1. jeph says:

    been there…done that…at least 100 times.

    i’m curious, what kind of sound board does the square room have? a digital one or analog?

    always have a working plan B in a box in some storage room somewhere. life lesson number 326.

  2. Jason says:

    Digital, my man. Digital = even more complicated.

  3. Jason says:

    Digital, my man. Digital = even more complicated.
    Ooops, should have added great post! Waiting for the next one!

  4. Greg Adkins says:

    Yeah, this is not about that, but I bet every penny in my bank account that Mark and Bill will make d*mn sure that crap doesn’t happen again next week!

    It’s frustrating when that sort of stuff happens because you feel like everything you’ve done to prepare is getting ruined… I think that’s the point sometimes… God steps in and has something bigger to say.

    I remember once at Lighthouse the projector bulb exploded in Lila Holt’s face 5 minutes before a service that was completely built around 5 videos we had filmed that week out at JBC. Instead, we ditched the whole service, Todd Burkholder and I led worship with a crate of overhead transparencies he had in his trunk, and it was great… in retrospect even better than what we had planned.

  5. jeph says:

    This begs the question, “does God always have something to say when stuff like that happens or, some times, does stuff like that just happen and suck turds?”

  6. greg says:


    I think sometimes stuff like that just happens and there isn’t a bigger message to be seen… sometimes stuff just doesn’t work, but to what Jason said… it’s good to not become so reliant on those things that good things can’t happen without them.

  7. jeph says:

    I was being rhetorical. 🙂 I totally agree.

    And reminder: plan b…box…somewhere close…at all times.

    I remember when the lights completely went out at camp one year when we were leading “father of lights”. Hilarious. The next year, when we were singing “consuming fire” a fire started in the shed next to the chapel. And one year, Greg and I started doing a worship set that went 4 HOURS and how we remembered how to play all those songs by memory I’ll never know except that it was probably God ordained. And one year when I think it was Jennifer Blankenship doing a skit about being neither ‘hot or cold or God will spit you out’ and then puking afterwards backstage from stage fright. Or maybe it was Crystal. Can’t remember it’s been so long. I’ve broken countless strings on stage and that’s always been interesting. And 4 years ago I was leading at a camp for high schoolers and I decided to take my shoes off and as I was singing the sweat from my face got on my lips and I sang right close to the mic and because I wasn’t wearing shoes I fried my face like 5 times before I realized what was going on. Thought I was going to lose my d*mn lip.

    Got rolling and couldn’t stop, Jay!

  8. Jason says:

    Wow, dude, electrocuted worship lips. I’ve never heard of that.

    At camp, thank God you weren’t singing one of the many songs that says, “God, let us burn for you.”

  9. Kristin says:

    Oh it was such a fun morning 🙂

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