Yesterday I was leading worship at the Spring Lake Park (SLP) campus of Substance Church. I was leading a band that I wasn’t used to playing with, although I knew most of them as friends, and played together with them pretty well.
So the SLP campus has two services, at 9 and 11 AM. The first service went okay, although there were a few minor issues we had to deal with (especially a very annoying short somewhere in the guitar rig). But for the most part the first service went well. The band played well, and the congregation responded well.
The second service wasn’t so smooth…
You see, normally we have a 3 minute countdown… and normally when I hear the countdown start (it has both audio and video) I know we have 3 minutes and I pray with the band… and normally we make it out on stage at or around one minute left in the countdown… normally.
Well, our FOH engineer was on the stage trying to fix the bug in the electric rig when they started the countdown video, so there was no audio when the video started. He didn’t get the countdown audio started until there was only 1:30 left on the countdown… at which time I thought we had 3 minutes left… so I gathered my team to pray.
My prayer ended abruptly when I no longer heard the countdown music playing.
We quickly rushed to the stage, assuming something happened with the video (as I’ve recently been a part of a service where the video did freeze). I did my best to play the situation off, and I think we successfully avoided a potentially awkward situation. And… believe it or not… God still moved. It wasn’t until after the set that we realized how horribly off we were on the reason for the awkwardness at the beginning. It was all on us.
I can’t tell you how embarassing that morning was, for me as a band leader, and as a musician. I felt humiliated in front of the congregation because they just sat there with 20 seconds of empty stage and silence. I felt humiliated in front of my team because I totally dropped the ball in getting us on stage in time.
But… God still moved.
Isn’t it amazing how God allows people to experience His presence, even when we are weak? …or fail? …or fall?
Jesus said it best, in Matthew 5 (The Message): “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.” And again, in 2 Corinthians, the Lord tells Paul “…my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Co. 12:9)
I’m thankful for these little moments that God allows me to experience, for it reminds me that I am merely a human being, and if I am not constantly filling myself with His spirit, it gets easy to live life without a real dependence on Him. The truth is, I can’t do A DAMN THING without Him. Nothing. He is all that I need.
Later that day…
I was privileged to attend a workshop featuring Tom Jackson. If you haven’t heard of Tom Jackson, and you do ANY sort of live performance, you have to check his stuff out. Tom Jackson considers himself to be a “live producer.” He basically does for the stage what a producer does for the studio. He helps you craft your live performance into a top-quality experience for our audience.
In the workshop, he actually had a group on stage, had them play a song, and then went through the song, section by section, and pointed out the different ways where they could improve the show. In the end, they had a much better presence on stage, and it showed.
It was, in a way, refreshing to see that I wasn’t the only non-perfect person out there! But… as artists, we gotta stop convincing ourselves of that. We are plenty. And we all struggle with the same issues. Don’t let those issues keep you from fulfilling your dream.
As my friend Kirk Graham always says, ‘Dream Big, Live Bigger.’ I would say the same.