Can’t Sleep

<< This post first appeared at http://churchtechleaders.org >> 

It’s just after 2 am and I am awake. I had gone to bed just fine and slept for several hours. My wife woke me and then I just could not get back to sleep. I tried taking a long hot shower. However, my mind was filled with thoughts of Easter.

Several months back our lead pastor had come up with a very creative idea for this year’s Good Friday & Easter services. Initially the ideas all worked just fine in my quick planning and we were on our way to what could be a very engaging service. We enlisted an artist in the church to help get the idea rolling and to take care of the artistic element. I was excited.

We scheduled a meeting of the minds to flesh out these great ideas. Prior to this meeting I spent time thinking through the logistics and a few key elements failed in my layout. I had drawn out the elements in scale, and the key stage element we based this plan around is several feet to tall for the venue we were going to be at. Because our Worship Center only seats 700, and we don’t want to do 8 services, we rent the local performing arts center that seats 2400 and only do 2 services. The theaters proscenium height was 25′ 11″. Since we must do IMAG in this room we are flying a 12′x20′ screen. This encroached into the vertical space we needed for the other element, which also needed to be centered.

I came up with measurements on a smaller version we could build that resolved the problems. No one, including myself, was as excited for this new solution as we were for the original one, but it worked. Planning continued. The artist and video editor started working on their details, the Worship Pastor started laying out the services, and I went back to the other details of doing a large off-site event.

That meeting was several weeks back. My mind was not at peace with the new plan, even though, logistically it resolved our problems. On The day before this long sleepless night began, our Worship Pastor had emailed out his idea for the music that would be the audio background to our special service element. It was a great selection.

But I was not at peace. This is what kept me up this long night. The message we are sharing is far larger than my compromise was. In a 2400 seat auditorium this element simply lacked the punch and impact that we all knew we wanted. The music was outstanding, the artist’s plans were fantastic, and in my mind I could see great promise for great lighting to bring it all home. But that element was still just… small.

For the next several hours I sketched, listened to the music we selected, prayed, closed my eyes to visualize, and repeated those steps several times. I went back to bed, then, ran back downstairs to my computer, then back to bed. It was on my third attempt to sleep that I believe God was finished building anticipation and revealed the solution to me. I sprang up from my bed, back down to my computer and fired off emails to our Worship Pastor and the Technical Director at the Theater.

The following morning (just a few hours later) I went through the idea with the venue TD and he agreed it would work well, and even he liked the idea. The solution was actually quite elegant and will be uncomplicated to initiate during the service, which will help it in being executed successfully.

I had given up on a better plan than my compromise. I moved on, and let the ball drop and sit on “ok”. I am thankful that God had better plans for His services. He poked and prodded me until I got it. I had not prayed about the solution until this long night, I just powered through and “fixed” the problem to make it work.

My advice to myself, and you: Pray! If I had prayed, spent time thinking outside the box, and had not given up so easily I may have had a full nights rest!

Wyatt Johnston serves as the Tech.Arts Director at Fellowship Bible Church in Topeka, KS. Since age 11 he has been behind the scenes serving the technical needs of church, broadcast, and theater productions. Married to Jeanine, they have 2 children, David and Sarah. Wyatt enjoys amateur photography, target shooting with his bride, and playing with his children. Wyatt can be reached at wyattjohnston.com, me@wyattjohnston.com, or @wyattjohnston on twitter.

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