How I Overcame Burnout — Part 2 You Can’t Always Be “ON”

So my blog post about my burnout generated a lot of hits and has led to a few conversations the last few days. I thought I’d write a series about what I’m doing to take care of myself when it comes to working in the tech arts of a large church.

We started with Part 1: You’re Responsible For Your Walk With God

Today we’re focusing on Part 2: You Can’t Always Be On.

Most church tech guys are always “on” during a service. This means they are never free to receive during a service. I know I’ve been there. But when I changed jobs I made a conscious decision I was going to sit with my wife and worship together. It doesn’t always happen but I have to say it does about 80-90% of the time now. In 6 months I can count on one hand the times we haven’t sat together compared to 5 years where I could count on one hand the times we did sit together.

There was a season of life where not only was I on every service but I was out 5 nights a week at church events/ activities. It was early in my marriage. We didn’t have kids and my wife was with me a lot of the time but I wasn’t in a place where I was not receiving on a regular basis. I was only giving out.

Granted I’m not at a church that has a highly produced weekend service, we don’t do IMAG or broadcast and there was a great team in place before I got here. But I’ve made the conscious decision to not schedule myself and to trust in my team and Jesus to do a good job. I’ll be very hands on during practice. I’ll give feedback in between services. But during the service I let my volunteers run with it. And that means sometimes I let them fail. I’ve sat with my wife and we’ve had light cues goof up, wrong video cues play, audio cues missed and lyrics get off! Instead of jumping up out of my seat I let my volunteers handle it and learn from it. I’ll take time between services to talk to them and those mistakes have been great learning opportunities for my team. And those mistakes have not been repeated.

I used to freak out and stress out about the smallest mistakes during a service in the pursuit of excellence. But it wasn’t excellence I was seeking perfection. Yes details are important but does it really matter if that light cue was a 5 second transition instead of 6 seconds? I work with a few personalities that can get very uptight over the smallest details. But I’ve taken a much more relaxed attitude. An attitude that focuses on training, equipping and releasing my volunteers instead of me micromanaging everything. An attitude that says excellence in production can honor Jesus but it can’t change lives. Jesus alone changes lives.

As a result my teams have stepped up. They take the ownership. They strive for a higher standard because they take pride in their work not because it’s a fear of failure. As a result they’re free to be more creative (within some guidelines).

Here’s what I focus on:
-Prepare your team well by having systems and training in place to set them up to succeed.
-Practice ahead of time so everyone knows what’s going to happen and how to make the transitions.
-Pray because a church service is not about us. It’s about Jesus and people being drawn closer to Him and being changed by Him.

This has led my to trusting in my team to execute and trusting in Jesus to use us to make an eternal difference in someone’s life, not just entertain them for the morning. My job is to use my talents faithfully. Jesus job is to grow His Church.

There is a balance that must be found between excellence and perfection. No service involving fallen people using technology and gear created by fallen people will be perfect. But we should strive to do our best with the time we have, the talent we have and the tools we have. I strive to always improve but what’s the cost for things to go to the next level and is it worth it? This leads us to another post in this series: “When is good enough, good enough?” But first let’s close this out and make it very practical.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

When and where are you gathering together with other brothers and sisters in Christ to be encouraged? Are you, in your life, growing in love and as a result of an inward regeneration by the Holy Spirit, good works?

It’s not convenient in the production side of ministry but it’s essential. I know some guys don’t feel like they can be at church and “off” ready to receive. Well here are some practical ideas I’ve heard from other church tech guys:
– Talk with your boss about what’s reasonable. Where can you receive? You may be on staff but you can’t be expected to be “on” 100% of the time. You need to receive.
– How many hours are reasonable? I work hard, I’m passionate about what I do. But I need time off every week. For a season I had Friday afternoon off, Sat morning off, Sun afternoon off and Mondays off. If you added it up it seemed like plenty of time. But for me half days off don’t work. And is my off time the same time as my family?
– Some guys are always on on Sunday and can’t be off. Is there another service your church has that you can make sure you’re not on. Where you have no responsibility and can just be there to receive?
– Can you rotate weekends or services of when you can be off?
– Some guys work on multi-site churches and will visit another site to receive.
– Get involved in a small group! You need non tech relationships where you can process through life and your relationship with Jesus.
– I know some guys who visit another church on a Sat PM or Sun PM when they don’t have a service just so they can receive.

Your relationship with Jesus is the most important part of your life. You can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t lead where you haven’t been. You can only fake it for so long before things begin to crumble and break. Don’t let this shipwreck you faith and your life.

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October 20, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Personal Growth.

2 Comments

  1. How I Overcame Burnout — Part 4 Accountability and Community « Creative Church Media replied:

    […] This means you must be taking steps everyday to grow closer to Jesus and further from sin. – You can’t always be “ON”. There needs to be times for you to receive at church and you need to honor the sabbath. For me […]

  2. After Effects – Magazine Page Flip - ChurchMediaDesign.tv replied:

    […] Psyop – How To Animate How to Overcome Burnout Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 Fudgegraphics acrylic […]

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