Last Monday evening (November 9, 1998), I attended an absolutely awesome service at our church. It was a youth service but all of the young people had been instructed to invite as many of their friends and family members as possible for something special. What happened was indeed special! When the unsaved felt the Holy Spirit and saw 300-400 young people between the ages of 10 and 18, many on their knees worshipping and weeping for the lost, they were touched in a mighty way. Families were renewed and changed forever at the altar call. I saw the Lord touch stepbrothers and sisters resulting in them hugging one another, weeping, and praying together for lost parents. The Holy Spirit was so thick I felt like Moses outside the camp at the tent of meeting. In the midst of this move of God and worship, I sensed God leading me to write this message.
Since joining our new church, my wife Dana and I have already volunteered to help out in numerous different areas of ministry. We both believe that serving the Church body is part of our discipleship. I immediately realized that, because of the tremendous base of activities at our church, a number of the people were in responsibility overload. Being a musician (almost) and a technocrat, one of the first needs I volunteered to help out with was running the audio and or video mixer boards. Last Monday I thought I was ready for my crash course on running the audio mixer board but I certainly wasn’t prepared for how I was personally affected or for what the Lord showed me.
My new friend, who runs the audio for almost every one of the 4 or 5 church events a week, loves the Lord with all his heart. He, his wife, and children “live” at our church of about 1,200 members. Last Monday the Lord showed me how my friend is torn between doing his unpaid “job” of providing studio quality audio for the 3 hour service and wanting to worship the Lord along with the rest of the people in the sanctuary. Although I was desperately trying to pay attention to what my friend was telling me and showing me, I wasn’t very successful. He noticed every subtle queue from the musicians, the singers, the praise and worship leader and the Pastor. Whatever they wanted, he instantly complied. Because I was lost in the worship, with my eyes closed and praying, I missed most of those subtle queues. Thankfully, my friend did a marvelous job and the entire worship service had the appearance of being rehearsed for a week.
Even though I knew what was required from the technical perspective, until last Monday, I never dreamed what a sacrifice these wonderful servants make on a regular basis. Before the worship service ever started, a number of technical problems, that would have infuriated most people, cropped up. Several musicians showed up late making a thorough “sound check” impossible, so many of the levels had to be determined when the praise team hit the first note in the worship service. Audio cables had disappeared. Monitors failed. Naturally, the praise and worship leader expected perfection. A video cassette tape, delivered 3 minutes before the service was to begin, had no audio track. The visiting Pastor’s music “track” tape was found to be defective. Somehow, my friend kept smiling at everyone and made everything work.
During music practice, when two musicians wanted things to sound different, my friend instantly became the point of focus for their disagreement. Somehow he was expected to accomplish the impossible. I have watched this wonderful man patiently listen to one person complain that the music was too loud immediately after another had complained that it wasn’t loud enough. He works tirelessly to keep three full racks of complicated audio equipment and a 32-channel studio board running and adjusted properly. He also contends with dozens of would-be helpers who, although they have no idea what they’re doing, seem to think it’s OK to turn all the little knobs where they want them when he’s not around. Through all this he smiles, he remains humble, and he continues to serve the Church body.
Others serve by handling the lighting and video equipment. There are more that teach young children’s classes, usher, or miss the praise and worship services because they’re sitting in children’s church to maintain the correct adult/child ratio. All of these people are sacrificing participation in the praise and worship that we so easily and quickly take for granted.
Somehow, there are some of us that have the audacity to complain about the quality of the services these wonderful servants provide. Are we uninformed, are we uncaring, arrogant, and rude? The answer is a resounding YES! But sometimes it seems that all those who serve, especially in the areas of providing technical or other tangible support during worship services, are fair game for the critics. Almost every church has a requirement that they be born-again believers and members of the church to serve, yet we basically abuse and ignore them. What they really deserve and need is our love, understanding, appreciation and respect for what they do. How can we say we’re thankful to the Lord for His blessings when we ignore or abuse those that He has elected, who have answered a calling, and are serving us within the body of Christ? Those who regularly and quietly sacrifice in the background in an effort to facilitate our praise and worship, or to minister to us and our children, deserve far more.
Try to understand what they sacrifice for you. Seek them out after the next worship service, tell them you love them and hug them. Tell them you appreciate what they do and mean it! Then pray about your own personal contribution in the area of serving the body of Christ.