120 Days ago…

I did the scariest thing I have ever done. Yes, more terrifying than asking my in-laws to marry their daughter, scarier than watching my sons being born, and yes, even scarier than that time I ate at Waffle House 5 consecutive nights.

120 days ago I walked into my bosses office at one of the best jobs I’ve ever had and said, “It’s time for me to leave.”

God in his infinite wisdom had made it very clear that my time at Northview Church had come to an end. A time that I could have kept going at for an addition 5+ years. I loved my job and the people there. So many memories, so many friends. I wrestled hard with God for weeks leading up to that decision and every time I doubted Him, He showed up in a bigger way to prove my fears wrong.

I didn’t have the faith just to walk away; I had a family and a house payment, so I needed a paycheck as I am dependently wealthy. Thankfully a job was provided as well, a job that I wasn’t anticipating but had “I’m God, and I’ll take care of you” written all over it. Now, here I am, 120 days later and God’s plan in all this continues to unfold and little by little it makes sense.

Where did I go? Well, I’m glad you asked.images

Allow me to introduce you to CTS. Here I wear several hats as I found out I have a lot to learn. I am now the Project Manager for the installation department. I take a church that has hired us to do an upgrade and walk with them through the process of installation and training. CTS is a great company, and I am blown away by how they treat their employees and the churches they serve. This has been a change for me and caused me to stretch but in all things God is good, right?

 

I am also staying busy writing for my various favorite publications. Church Production, Worship Facilities, and Technologies for Worship have all graciously allowed me to stay on their radar and contribute.

In all this change, I was reminded of why I got into the Audio/Visual arts in the first place. I wanted to help churches. While my tradition into the secular world was one, I fought very hard against, I am finding myself engaging in more ministry opportunities than ever before.

I will leave you with this while I am not at a church currently in a serving role; I am still very much active in the tech community. I hope to continue to reach churches through various forms of media including this blog while working at CTS. My promise to you is that my advice will alway remain unbiased as it relates to integrators.

Thanks for taking an interest in where I am, and I look forward to connecting with you!

Make sure to follow me on Twitter: @shaunrmiller

 

 

 

Don’t be Stupid – 12 Days of Christmas (Posts)

Why are new updates so tempting? With new fixes and features added, you can just feel them calling to you to install them. That may be one of the things I now miss with the new Mac OS Mavericks. It just installs them for you. I don’t get to see what is changing. Well with so much digital equipment in the church these days, it seems like a full time job just keeping things up  to date. However, there is a good time and a bad time to install these.

Last Christmas season, while tuning our wireless microphones, I noticed there was a firmware update for the receivers. The temptation was too great, and I began installing. The first 6 units went just fine. Then it happened. I bricked the seventh wireless. If you’re not sure what that means, its a term for when a piece of electronic equipment gets misconfigured or damaged from an update and it no longer functions. It’s basically a brick to you. Yep, I did it: I bricked the unit and had to send it back to the manufacturer for repair. img_2316

Now I was not wrong in installing updates, and the problem that occurred could have happened to anyone at anytime. But I was stupid to do it at our busiest season when the microphones were functioning just fine. Sometimes though you have no choice, as in the case with a few video recorders we own at Northview. These units had a bug in them, and we had to install the update in order to use them effectively in our system. That was a risk worth taking because they were no good to us the way they were. img_2186

Technology will fail, and cause you headaches at the most inconvenient times, like these pictures of our backscreen with a giant 80’x30′ blue screen of death showing on it (thank you Microsoft). But during this ever important season, don’t tempt the update gods. Do your best to hold off when your schedule allows for proper testing and even time to repair if need be. This post may seem common sense; but as someone who has been in live production as long as I have, I still do stupid things at times, and we could all use a good reminder.

 

Okay, I spilled my guts on the internet, care to join me and share your story?

 

Weekend Mix

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We started a new series this at Northview called “A Journey Home” – I’m really excited for this series as it includes a special or two each weekend. These specials tie in better than any other series I’ve experienced before and just bring the message home.  Posted below are the live board mixes from week one. The band and vocal team this weekend was absolutely amazing! Enjoy these songs, and let me know what you think.

Weekend Mix:

[box] [soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110631060″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /][/box]

[box] [soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110628172″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /][/box]

[box] [soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110628623″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /][/box]

 

Thursday Motivation

I’m not one that’s big on motivational posters. I would be the guy to hang a funny Demotivational one in my office. This one however actually inspired me.

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It’s knowledge I already had but yet a good reminder.

You have to be willing to GO after those things you want or you’ll never get them.

You won’t become a great at something just sitting alone on your couch. It takes a determined spirit and hard work to attain success.

You have to ASK otherwise the answer is always no.

To many times I’ve been afraid to ask because I already “knew” the answer was no. I kept my dream to myself in fear that asking for help would be greeted with a closed door. Realizing that the answer is always “No” when I do not ask really causes me to check how afraid am I really. Am I willing to give up on something because of a single word? Ask – you never know what doors it will open. 100% of questions never asked aren’t answered (look at me being all motivational.)

You have to STEP forward or you’ll always be in the same place.

Here again, I have had fear hold me back from making a step forward – fear of rejection or failure. That first step can always be hard, but making it can lead to huge reward.

Hopefully you find some motivation in this as well. I pray God has given you a dream to go after.

What are you going after?

Recruiting Volunteers

Twice this week I have been asked by different churches how we go about recruiting volunteers. This a giant weight hanging over the heads of Tech Directors and Worship Leaders in all kinds of churches. I know because I have asked this same question many times in the past and still do. What I have found, is that there is no magical formula for this. Some things work well at one church and flop at another. I have tried many things as a TD, most have gained me zero volunteers, but my current model seems to be working.

For the last 2 years, there has been a “Join the Tech Team” slide in the pre/post announcement rotation. From that I think maybe I have had 2 people contact me, neither joined the team. We created a video story of one of our key volunteers (See it here) which went over really well, but did open the flood gates of volunteers. What I began to see was that to get people motivated to serve on tech, I needed more than a commercial – we needed a personal touch.

Much like inviting a friend to church, I began instilling in our current team that similar to a doctor’s office: referrals are our best recruitment tool. Someone is much more likely to come to church if they are asked, same with serving, a personal touch goes a long way in getting people in the door.

I encourage our team to bring people with them. I’ll put a headset on them, or even put them to work on an open position. People experiencing the behind the scenes for themselves and realizing it’s not as scary as it looks from the audience’s perspective. New people will believe the a current volunteer who says it’s easy than a paid tech guy. There is that assumed idea that of course I find it easy, that’s my job.

This is what I have found that works for us. I still leave the bulletin asks in every so often, I don’t want to give up the print real estate. The pre/post service slides are still running each week too. Every church is different so some ways may work better for you than at another church. You can’t go wrong with becoming more personal though. So get out there and start trying new things.

What are ways you recruit?

What hasn’t worked in the past?