Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cringe Moments

Those who like talk a lot about doing worship with excellence will talk about eliminating cringe moments. Cringe moments are things like microphones squealing, wrong words on the screen, lighting stuff on with candles and things falling over with a loud crash during worship (both of those happened during our first year).
I used to be so uptight about cringe moments and wanted everything to go perfectly but I've learned a couple things about perfection (and I'm OCD, so perfection taunts me). And other leaders would put a serious fear into me by saying "if an unchurched person finally shows up on a Sunday and you screw something up, they'll say 'why should I care if the people leading worship don't care' and they won't come back." Now this really freaked me out because I want to reach unchurched people so badly. Any missed note by the band could send someone to hell! Crazy, huh?

First of all - it's not about putting on a show. I'm learning this as we go along. I had been taught you've gotta do things perfectly. Have good enough music, cool images on the screen, good lighting and funny movie clips and people will show up in droves. I wanted to impress people. I'm about to give up on that. Now, we still do creative stuff during worship sometimes and we'll play some songs from the radio, but my reason for doing this has changed. It's not about impressing people, but communicating the gospel. Which helps me relax and go with the flow more. Creative elements help, but people who don't yet know Jesus come to church to know they're loved, not to be impressed.

Secondly, when we do have cringe moments people relax when I acknowledge it and crack a joke about it. Today was a great example. We couldn't find the clip for the lapel mic. I called the guy that ran sound last Sunday (he was gone this week) and he didn't know where it was. So, I wrapped the cord around my shirt button and hoped it would hold. Well, it didn't. 3/4 of the way through my message (just when I was reaching a fevered pitch) the mic started sliding down. It happened a couple times until I finally pulled it out of my shirt and just held it. That was when our lead singer remembered where he'd packed away that clip, but by then it was too late. I cracked a few jokes about "I was just getting going" and people stayed with me. Someone yelled out "just talk loud" and I responded, "we need this recorded so it can be used against me later."

We'll never do everything perfectly, we'll always have some unforeseen cringe moments, but I'm learning most people don't demand perfection and they appreciate a leader's humor and humanity.

1 comment:

Derin Beechner (Durk Niblick) said...


You did a VERY good job on Sunday! And it was a very positive worship experience. Stuff happens. If we are there to entertain we may not be doing a great job. But if we are there to proclaim the Gospel and build relationships then we are right on target.