Last week was one for the books at fresh life. By that I mean the record book of how many technical things can possibly go wrong in a week. I think it was written by a dude named Murphy. I hate that guy. It would be hard to try and come up with more things that could have gone wrong.
Here is a snapshot:
While preaching at skull church my mic went out briefly and came back on with some terrible feedback that continued for what seemed like forever. What I didn’t know was that whatever had happened also took out the live radio broadcast. The webcast also crashed at some point in the night as well. And our system that sends txt msg questions, that come to my skulpit, to the screen went down. This weekend, I was supposed to preach the 11 o’clock at the Strand but, due to a series of events, they moved me to the Liberty at the last minute. I was supposed to be piped live into the Strand but they had to resort to a video backup because, for the second time ever, our fiber optic feed freaked out. When the video backup was fired it first came up with only audio before (fortunately) coming on correctly and playing all the way through. Man, just reading that list stresses me out.
Stuff like this makes the hair on the back of my team’s neck stand up. Excellence is something that we value highly. I can’t see how we really have a choice about that. Our mission is to see those who are stranded in sin find life and liberty in Christ. Eternity literally hangs in the balance. Like it or not, that injects importance into everything. We simply don’t have the luxury of dismissing even the smallest detail as being trivial. The stakes are too high. Hell plays for keeps and forever is a long time. Even small things deserve our very best effort.
Coming out of a week like we have had there is definitely the temptation to be upset, to be bummed, to beat ourselves up and only focus on every single thing that went wrong. But we won’t. You can’t live that way. If you do, eventually you will end up in the fetal position under your desk mumbling, “Laces out, Laces out, the Laces were supposed to be facing out...” And that’s not good for anyone. You have to accept that if you are are committed to thinking outside the box and pushing the envelope; there are going to be bad days. Things happen. Computers crash. People make mistakes. That’s life. Deal with it; don’t dwell on it.
Instead you have to learn to focus on all the good that happened in spite of the problems. The people who gave their lives to Christ listening to a message with feedback coming out of the speakers. The fact that people were blessed who were ministered to by the Bible study and felt God as they took communion even though according to our runsheets everything took way too long to come out of the meet and greet. The hundreds and hundreds of people who signed up for small groups even though at two of the services the amazing small group promo video never even played. And above all, the fact that the Word of God cannot be chained! (2 Timothy 2:9)
I think it’s also important to be thankful for the hundreds of services a year that have gone by without major meltdown. All the webcasts that didn’t go whack, all the times the fibre hasn’t failed and the projectors didn’t show the blue screen of death. Thank God for the other thousand times that your mouse didn’t turn into a beach-ball.
I’m not saying that you are supposed to just be ok with things that go wrong. You shouldn’t be. We aren’t. I can assure you there will be meetings where the glitches will be analyzed and assessed. We will ask: Why did this happen? Has it ever happened before? What could have prevented it? Was it human error or just a freak–the devil is in the details– kind of a thing? Do we need to upgrade a system? buy new equipment? Retrain someone? Conduct an exorcism? And we will do our best in the future to learn from our mistakes and move forward. We will pursue perfection and seek after seamlessness. As I said, I believe that the urgency of the gospel requires nothing less than our very best efforts.
But at the end of the day if anything eternal is going to be accomplished it’s not because of us, it’s because of Him. It’s all about Jesus and what He did for us at the place of the skull. In our weaknesses His strength is made perfect. If you keep that in mind, you can keep your eyes set on heaven even in the midst of a technological week from hell.