Behind the scenes with the tech team: on worship, events and weekly meal planning.
“Thank God it’s Friday.” TGIF, it’s a saying we all relate to at some time or another. It signals the beginning of two days of rest and relaxation, maybe a trip to the theme parks or a fun outside activity. For others it’s a time to dig into a hobby or DYI project. Usually it’s a time of respite, a time to unwind and escape from the demands of our weekly schedule. And of course, if you’re reading this then the weekend also includes church and joining the rest of your Northland family for worship.
When we’re gearing up for the weekend and looking forward to enjoying some downtime, there’s a team of folks who are also gearing up, but in a very different way. They’re the team whose weekend is spent preparing for and providing a worship experience that they hope lifts your eyes up to God. An enormous amount of work goes into bringing the wide ranging technical aspects of worship together but did you know that in addition to worship this team also covers ministry, community and large scale events? That’s right! With the weekend always around the corner they juggle the technical needs of every other event that takes place here. Everything from classes and studies to Seminole County meetings, Florida Hospital trainings and Passion Worship, this team of dedicated technicians flexes and stretches to ensure that every detail is covered.
Led by our Technical Director, Steve Groves, and Lighting Director, Brent Allan and including Kevin Hayes, Audio Engineer, Lighting Technician, Nathaniel Comeaux and volunteer Matt Fogle, I sat down with the group to talk about their roles, their camaraderie and their commitment to our church family.
It might not surprise you that maintaining their schedule can be challenging so I asked them how they do it! To offset the intensity and pressure that comes with their work the team approaches everything in a lighthearted and amusing way. A bit like you might imagine amongst a group of lifelong friends, their banter includes movie and song quotes, endearing nicknames and spending a lot of time together.
They have a rigid weekly meal schedule that includes McDonalds on Monday and a visit to the food court on Wednesdays. Steve says they are intentional about these meal times simply because if they don’t reserve that time it will get pushed back with another task or last minute item. He and Brent carve out time together as a team because they recognize the value of the interconnectedness it brings, helping them all stay on the same page and more than anything fostering cohesion and growing their relationships.
They shared many funny stories and rituals that had me laughing. For instance, they use cardboard cutouts of Star Wars characters to set the stage for the weekend and event placement. Llamas (Nathaniel) has different hats he wears for rehearsal that include a mini sombrero, a bowler hat and he’s even played drums during rehearsal wearing a T-Rex costume or Llama head, hence the nickname. They teased K-Fed (Kevin) about the recent weekend when shortly after Matt began preaching, K-Fed left his console to visit the mens' room. Upon emerging, he heard frantic calls in his wireless com pack. Pastor Matt's mic had failed and K-Fed's main job during the sermon is to provide a speedy fix! He sprung into action, but the only remedy was to go out on the stage and work with the mic pack Matt had on his belt. Of course then Pastor Matt, sensing K-Fed's discomfort, invited him to remain on stage for a while to soak it up. So K-Fed experienced the double nightmares of not being at your post when equipment fails, and having to appear AND BE MENTIONED on stage in front of the congregation. That's about as embarrassing as it gets for the these guys, and his fellow techs howled with laughter as K-Fed recounted his harrowing tale.
What was evident during our time together was their absolute love for our church and the people who make up this community. They regularly invite others to be a part of the work they do. The rely heavily on volunteers and as experts in their field they impart a great deal of knowledge to them acknowledging that someone once did that for them years ago. Not only do they pour into their volunteers with the details, they pour into their lives as much as possible. They create time and space to hang out with each other and with those who serve on the tech teams.
Wrapping up our talk I asked them what they would want you to know about their role. Their answers were diverse but a few themes resonated through them all. They look at their work as a unique expression of worship, despite the load they consider it a privilege to serve as they do. Mostly, they have been changed by the relationships they have with each other acknowledging God has used those connections to transform them and others in our congregation.
There are many opportunities to experience their work. Check out our upcoming events at calendar.northlandchurch.net and be sure to join me, Steve, Brent and the whole team every weekend at worship. You’ll be glad you did!
“I am always amazed at how the technical team sets up for our musical team before services. They arrive much earlier than the rest of the team and have every piece of equipment prepared and waiting to be put to use. Every time we have a guest musician, we get comments from them of never experiencing the level of professionalism and servant hearted preparation demonstrated by this team.”
“I joined this team when I was just 10 years old and it has transformed my life. Steve Groves and his leadership is largely responsible for who I am today and I’m forever grateful. Steve has created a team environment full of unity, comradery and humor. I can’t imagine the Northland Tech Team without Steve.”
“I think of these guys as ‘MacGyvers’ (you know that old TV show where the main character could fix anything, or fashion whatever tool he needed out of something like pocket lint?) I have seen them in emergency mode with crashing instruments that they are repairing while simultaneously operating worship services, all unknown to congregants. Oh yeah, AND they create an amazing environment every week that helps us engage with our Savior in Worship.”
"I am so thankful for the technical team's faithfulness week in and week out! They are some of the most delightful and hard-working people I know, and I am so glad that they choose to use their giftings to be behind the scenes worship leaders. We love our tech team!"
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