Testing 1 • 2 • 3

Testing 1, 2, 3. Testing 1, 2, 3.

I say these magical words nearly every weekend.

In an effort to set the audio levels of my wireless headset microphone, the sound tech and I go through a ritual affectionately called “Testing 1, 2, 3” in which I casually stand on the platform of our pre-service church auditorium and say repetitive comments while he/she attempts to make me sound better than I actually do. I keep asking that they put more bass into my voice so I don’t sound like I just entered adolescence (to no avail)!

The goal of our exchange is mult-faceted. First, we want to discover if the microphone is EVEN connected. Often, other ministries will use equipment and forget to plug the cable back in. Secondly, we want to set the levels appropriately. It’s always unfortunate when we forget to soundcheck and my first words are with a room full of people. Invariably this will include a deafening “Good Morning!” or worse yet, awkward silence because it’s not even on! So, setting the appropriate levels is important. Lastly, we are are on a hunt for what we call “sound system demons.” Every church PA system has them. If you’re a pastor/leader or a sound technician then you have faced those demons head on, with a mixture of both success and failure. These are those oddities that enter into a sound system without welcome. Call it feedback, call it poor wiring, call it a bad cable, call it whatever you want…it’s the “sound system demons” and they don’t need a “be healed,” they need a “COME OUT!” During a church service we want to do that which is helpful, NOT hurtful. Nothing quite messes with the presence of God like microphone screeching (ie: the witch from Wizard of Oz…I’m melting! I’m melting!).

Is it connected?
Is it appropriate?
Is it helpful?

Testing 1, 2, 3.

As a leader, I think it’s important to have a forum or outlet to test out ideas in order to discover if they truly connect and if the material is appropriate and helpful. Recently, I took a group of pastors and leaders through a 4-hour training course of ideas, objectives, and musings that I have been growing into over the years. My heart is to resource leaders with concepts that are being developed in my heart and life. I don’t have it all figured out. I’m still wrestling. I’m a work in progress.

Testing 1, 2, 3.

Hopefully the material that I share will be radically different over the coming years, because of the way the Lord is birthing “new and living ways” within my soul. Hopefully it will morph in order to foster greater connection. Hopefully it will morph to be appropriate for various groups and needs. Hopefully it will morph because I want it to be helpful.

Testing 1, 2, 3.

What are you testing out? What ideas do you have that need to be given voice? Don’t wait for it all to become perfect and polished. Go for it. See if it connects. Tweak with it until the appropriate levels are discovered. Speak it out and see who is helped along the way.

One comment

  1. johnfehlen says:

    I would add a great blurb from Mark Driscoll as found in a recent interview for RELEVANT Magazine to support my “Testing 1, 2, 3” blog post:

    RELEVANT: Do you regret any of your former statements?

    DRISCOLL: Oh my gosh. I have been preaching and teaching now for 13, 14 years. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, he says it takes 10,000 hours of something to become an expert. Preaching and teaching, I’ve gotten in about 10,000 hours. I’ve published I don’t even know how many books, blogs—it’s a crazy amount of content. If I could hit control-alt-delete and go back and do like they used to in Men in Black and just hit a button to make certain people forget certain things, that would be awesome.

    My hope, my prayer, my goal is to do better, by God’s grace, to learn, to grow, to be sanctified and mature—to be less shock-jock and more Jesus-centered. I’m turning 40 this fall, so I can’t get away with, “Oh, he’s young.” I’ve got five kids, I’m not young anymore, I’m a tired old man. But I’m hoping God gives me enough years, maybe 30, 40 more years of service, that when it’s all said and done, I will have had enough time to correct some mistakes I’ve made and learn how to more clearly articulate some things I believe. So I’m trying to learn as I go.