Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What Would Happen If....?

Once again last weekend we were at a conference in a town over an hour from home. A very small one, as far as attendance goes, but we were one of three worship teams invited. Our slot was the Saturday afternoon session.

There were a few minor glitches, like when we found out that the songs we had emailed to them, upon their request, somehow didn't get received. (The guy admitted he probably deleted the email without looking at it, not realizing what it was.) This was important, because the organizer wanted all the song lyrics displayed via PowerPoint. So there was a bit of a delay while we all scrambled to get it together. Fortunately, I Hubby had brought my laptop with all the files, so the situation did get resolved reasonably quickly.

Also, they had a "changing of the guard" with the sound guys, and the sound guy who helped us set up, was not the sound guy who was running our sound, which ended up with a confused situation where we on stage thought we were doing a sound check, and the guys in the sound booth-- well, we have no idea what they thought they were doing. However, we did eventually get up and running.

In spite of that, we thought the music went pretty well, and we actually enjoyed doing it.

But I noticed something interesting. Something that has been around a long time, but I never really noticed.

There is a mindset in these kinds of conferences that goes something like this: If the meeting starts late, for whatever reason, or is running a little late, the worship team gets cut short. No matter if they've driven many miles, and spent hours preparing music, and practicing. The speaker NEVER gets cut short. In fact, the speaker can prettily beg for more time at the end of an overtime service, and always get it. No matter that it means the whole conference schedule then gets put out of whack. Which means the worship team at the next session gets cut even more short. Because, what's important here?

I guess I can't really answer that. After all, I am admittedly biased. I'd love to see the worship teams get a little more respect, partly because I'm on a worship team.

But aside from that, just think about it. What if our general mindset was different? What if it were the other way around? It might look like this:

The worship team gets to finish their music set, no matter how long it goes.

At an arbitrary spot in the speaker's message, the meeting organizer stands up and says,

"Well, thank you, Mr. Special Speaker, we are so blessed by what you've been saying, but I think we really need to cut this short and turn it over to the worship team now and get into what God has for us during ministry time."

Afterwards, there is a special offering taken for the worship team, in addition to the honorarium. The speaker gets a token amount to cover gas money (or nothing).

Actually, I wouldn't want it to be that way. That's like thinking white people should be enslaved for a few hundred years to make up for black slavery. Ridiculous, and unhelpful to anyone.

But I would like to see more equal respect. Especially when you consider that the music team probably has more money, time and commitment into the conference than the speaker. The speaker just has to show up with his notes (which I'm sure take lots of time and thought-- I'm not saying there's NO effort involved). The music team has money and time invested in instruments, sound gear, practice time, planning of song lists-- as well as travel expenses, just like the speaker.

And while we're at it, I think we could include sound guys, or "technicians." (Although, truthfully, most Christian organizations, at least around here, have not attained to the level of technicians, and just have "sound guys.") The sound people put in a lot of effort as well, and it would do well to at least recognize their work, and if they come from somewhere else just to run the sound system, I think they should be reimbursed.

Now, I'm not decrying the benefits of volunteer work. It's wonderful, and we've done a lot of volunteer (read: unpaid) music, and been blessed, and been a blessing.

But who ever heard of a "volunteer" special speaker? Hmm?


PrayerMom said...

I don't think most people know how much work goes into setting up a band--that's true. I spent some time after church last Sunday helping wrap cords as I talked to the drummer, and I was one of several people helping tear down.

This reminds me of a story in some notes from a band on their experience playing for a Christian network. The heads of the network rode to the event in a limo, while the band was given a van with no air conditioning during the hot part of a southern California summer. I think that would make it harder to put out something that sounded good, and wouldn't be in anyone's interest.

Unfortunately, the draw for events are the speakers, so they tend to get the biggest show of consideration. Ideally, consideration should be universal, but that isn't always the case.

GuitarGeek said...

Yeah... and then we hear that "confusion" was discerned to be over our family... yeah. It helps if the person(s) in charge actually introduce themselves and give us an idea what's going on when we walk in the door. It also helps if the/a/any sound guy can be found, and if the handwritten schedule isn't in runic.

Aye, well, next time you do a conference with 2½ hour speaking slots don't invite me. It's against my religion.

carrie said...

I'm with ya...I'm hearing ya. I know what you are saying completely!!! *hugs* and I can honestly say for our youth ministry the band NEVER gets cut short ;)

carrie said...

ohhh I just read guitargeek's comment...I am SOOO sorry it was THAT bad...but I'm LOL'ing at "don't invite me. It's against my religion" hehehehe!!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

That does seem unfair. In our church everything is volunteer and no one gets paid for anything. But that means everyone is out when it comes to gas money. =)

carrie said...

Happy Mothers' Day!!!!!!