Yet another of my dad’s (Peter Hopper) fantastic sayings growing up was about touring in the music industry:
It’s 90% grunge and 10% glory.
And about sound engineers and production staff:
If it all goes wrong, you get all the blame. And if it all goes right, you get none of the glory.
And while some of my favorite jobs in both music and church ministry go largely unnoticed, they remain the most rewarding. There’s simply something extremely gratifying about knowing you had a part to play in making an atmosphere beautiful.
The Christian Musician Summit that Jennifer and I recently attended was a perfect example of this. The main sessions were held in The Chapel’s worship center (aka “sanctuary”). The scene people walked into each morning and evening – with anyone from Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown to David Crowder and Christy Nockles leading worship – was what you see pictured above. Nothing short of spectacular. And seemingly effortless.
But being the associate pastor production junky that I am, I snuck in for all the sound checks and asked to poke around the stage. (Geeks are only happy to oblige other geeks). What I saw were the “guts” of these main session events: 5 audio staff, 3 camera operators, 1 lighting director, and at least 4 people in the video command booth up top. Not to mention that the physical framework for any set looks more like a sound stage for Mad Max Beyond the Thunder Dome than a gorgeous worship setting.
The most beautiful parts of our lives are those that have the most people behind them and, if all the lights are shining on them, are actually the ugliest.
So here’s to all the people – parents, pastors, mentors and friends – that know the most unattractive elements of our lives can be quite beautiful when set in the right context.