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Lessons Learned – Guest Speakers

I learned a great lesson this past weekend. We’re in the middle of our summer series at church called the “Summer Spectacular.” Our senior pastor is on a sabbatical to celebrate his 15 year anniversary. Because the church still goes on in his absence, he asked a bunch of his fellow pastor friends to fill in. We hit the ground running with these speakers a few weeks ago, and I love the energy, and fresh perspective they are bringing!

When my pastor preached, those of us on staff and the volunteer team know almost exactly what he is going to say weeks ahead of time. He stands in basically the same spot and we know what vocal cues to listen for to advance slides or anticipate changes. Not that his style is bad by any means, but we’re accustom to it because he’s our pastor. We’re only getting to meet our guest pastors hours before the service.

This past weekend we had Mike Breaux, Pastor of Heartland Community Church in Rockford, IL as our guest pastor. He was funny, challenging (sermon-wise not to work with) and an all around genuine guy.

Mike Breaux preaching at Northview Church

Mike Breaux preaching at Northview Church

I thought I had crossed off all my check marks preparing for Mike’s arrival. I had his mic and backup mic ready and tested. I knew he wanted a tall pub style table versus a podium and that he didn’t need any special AV hook up on stage – Easy right? Well, I learned I needed to add something else to my list for future speakers.

We use a large TV on a rolling cart as a display for the pastor’s notes. That way we don’t have to go full screen on the I-Mag, which takes away the image of the pastor for the video venues and campuses. Instead, we do a two shot with the camera and show the TV with the scriptures or illustration on it.

Example of Two Shot - showing TV with Scripture on it.

An example of Two Shot – showing TV with Scripture on it.



Our stage has spike tape all over it, marking where the vocalists stand, where the podium is supposed to be placed, and even where the TV is to be parked. We even spiked the table slightly to the left of where the podium would go.

Pastor Breaux took the stage, and I quickly realized I had not anticipated that he would favor one side of the table over the other. I made an assumption that he’d stand on the right side of it. This made the TV useless for our purposes of using it with I-mag.

Luckily, no one lost their salvation or their job over it, and my rock star team made the adjustments for Sunday morning.

Having all these guests come in are a great way to keep things fresh for our congregation. But it also keeps us production guys on our toes. Two weeks previous the pastor went off script and called for a video out of order, for a group that is used to reading a script, we put up the wrong video. The video director assumed the service director was just calling the wrong number video. It was like a scene our of a cold war movie where the missile silo operators struggle with the orders to launch.

Mistakes happen and we roll with them, 99% of the time, no one in the audience notices them. If we can learn from them and be better in the future, then there is no sense dwelling on them.

What is something you’ve prepared for and then realized after it was too late you forgot something?