The {Team} Behind the Curtain

By Donovan Drake, Media Director

Donovan Drake, Media Director

In 1939 MGM released a movie that would help cement color film’s place in history and would become a household staple for decades. That movie, based on the book by Frank Baum, was The Wizard of Oz. In addition to many other contributions to popular culture, it is credited with coining the phrase “the man behind the curtain”, a phrase that has become synonymous with working behind the scenes. I suppose that in many aspects, especially nowadays, the AVL Team is that man behind the curtain both at Faith Bible Church and for churches all over the globe.

The Lion, The Scarecrow, and the Tin-man

I was recently having a conversation with a close friend who is very active in his own church and has always had a general knowledge of what AVL did in the church. He recently took it upon himself to take the next step in service and in a fit of insanity joined the AVL team. The whole reason he was calling was to tell me how he had no idea how many moving parts had to happen perfectly in sync to make a church service happen well. He was both terrified of the responsibilities and excited to get to use his time and talents to help make the service possible for the congregation. Thinking back on the conversation, I realize that, in a way, we are victims of our own success (more on that later).

So who are we? Notice I said we. Contrary to popular belief, there’s no way I could do five services a week and support the needs of the ABF’s and countless other ministries without the help of a dedicated team of volunteers who spend hours every week setting up, configuring, and rehearsing to ensure a distraction-free worship service. We, a lot like Dorothy’s travel companions, are from all different backgrounds, ages, and skill sets. Romans 12, among other places, lists the spiritual gifts given to believers and states the responsibility of believers to use their gift to help further the kingdom. As a Media Director, my job is not to just fill positions with people because I need help but to create opportunities for people to serve God and the Church with their time and talents. Some of us are better at computers or some have an ear for music but for the most part we are just normal people who realized that the only prerequisite for this quest is a heart for serving our Savior.

The Yellow Brick Road to Excellence

While we were talking, that same friend made the confession that he had realized the only real barrier to volunteering before was that he was just afraid of messing something up. The reality was that with good shepherding there is very little to actually mess up. Sure, there’s always the possibility of missing a mic cue or lyrics slide but that just happens sometimes and we move on and try to do better next time. Training can be taught, techniques learned, and methods shown but a willingness to learn and drive to excel are truly priceless.

When I was a lighting designer for a theater I used to joke with our sound guy that he could do the best job he’s ever done and no one would notice because that’s the point. The better he did his job the less people would notice because the only time people notice is when you’re having technical issues. In churches, technology is just a tool, not the main attraction. Our job in AVL is to help communicate a message as distraction-free as possible. Now there’s a whole lot that goes into that technically speaking but after it’s all said and done the technology should just melt into the background leaving God at the forefront.

The greatest compliment I’ve received in my career so far came from my previous Senior Pastor in Texas. We did stage designs that coordinated with the sermon series and displayed (usually in a somewhat abstract way) the core message through visual means. He said he had church members come up after the service and thank him for having the stage designs because it communicated the message in a way they never thought of but will be able to remember for the rest of their lives. That’s the reward. That’s why we do what we do and ultimately why anyone does church work – to allow God use our unique gifts, talents, and perspectives to impact the lives of those around us for His glory. The fear of pressing the wrong button should never stop us from serving because chances are somewhere out in the audience there’s someone needing to hear or see this message from your perspective before it really clicks for them and that is why we signed up for the {team} behind the curtain.