About once a month, I go on a quest for invisibility. It’s not an epic quest or anything, there are no damsels to rescue and the stakes are relatively low but it is something that I find deeply spiritually fulfilling and that I’d recommend to anyone with a particular set of skills.
The quest I am referring to is not something that just anyone could accomplish. You need to be a master of timing and rhythm. You must be able to follow a script AND adapt to changes on the fly. You need to be able to think on your feet. This is also not something that will bring you fame or fortune. In fact, if you are in any way gifted with these skills you will succeed in being the most invisible person in your church. However, if you lack these skills, or slip up in the slightest way, you will be instantly seen and possibly cursed by what feels like everyone in the building.
Of course, I’m describing the church video operator.
For the unfamiliar, church video operators are an elite group of volunteers who control what and when images are seen on your church’s video screens. We keep up with the worship band’s lyrics, queue the videos, and follow the pastor when they go ‘off script’ and change the order of the sermon slides without warning. In some churches, we are in charge of those flashing nursery numbers as well.
Video operators are on a quest for invisibility. Only the very best of us achieve this level of excellence. Ask yourself this: 1) Is our church’s video person good? 2) Do I know their name? Chances are if you answered “Yes” to the first question, you answered “No” to the second. If you answered “No” to the first, you probably answered “Yes” or “No, but I sure know that they look like!” to the second.
There are two things every video operator fears hearing during a church service. The first is “Next slide please.” and the second is the confused and sudden silence of a congregation who has stopped singing because the wrong lyrics are up. On our quest is invisibility, we measure success in exactly how invisible we are. Think about it, when is the last time you even thought about the video operator? I bet it was when they made a mistake, wasn't it?
Working video (or sound, setting up chairs, cleaning, or anything behind the scenes) is a great way to build humility, which is a spiritual discipline that is more and more in need these days. I spent three years in pastoral ministry, preaching from the pulpit close to 150 times. I loved it. I love preaching, I love teaching, I also love performing and being in front of a crowd. Being the invisible guy in the booth at the back of the church forces me into anonymity. It forces me to remember that the Sunday service is not about me or my skill; in fact, the better I am, the less my skills will be recognized. The worse I am, the more likely I will be known.
My point is that the quest for invisibility is a noble one and a worthwhile spiritual discipline. Many of us, especially extroverted people like myself, spend so much time wanting to be known. We want to be the "go-to” person for a given ministry or team, and as a result we don't spend much time growing in humility, growing in the knowledge that it's not all about us, or how we are seen by others, but rather how our Father in heaven sees us. After all, his is the only opinion that counts; isn't it? At the end of the day, I really don't care if all my friends and family thought I was a "Good Christian" after I die, all I care about is whether the Lord calls me a "Good and faithful servant." Isn't that all that truly matters?
If you, like me, want to go on a quest for invisibility, ask that person in the back huddled behind a computer. I guarantee there's room for another volunteer on the team. Just wait until the service is over, they're busy until then.
As a Biblical conservative, a cultural Liberal, a husband, a dad, and a pastor, I want to see the church act differently in the world. My big passion in ministry is to see how believers can bring the Gospel into the world around them while pursuing the lost art of winsomeness. It is what fuels me and drives me to write. Engaging culture with the truth of the Gospel in a way that is winsome, wise, and as Colossians 4:6 directs us: “seasoned with salt.” It’s my hope that what I say here helps you not only in your own faith, but helps you share it more effectively and fruitfully.
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