Keith insists that technological expertise can undermine passion and community if we’re not careful. “Everybody got carried away with technology… they were all in their little pigeonholes and cubicles. …This idea of separation is the total antithesis of rock and roll, which is a bunch of guys in a room making a sound and just capturing it. It’s the sound they make together, not separated.”
I know I’m taking a big leap here, but that’s what makes a great church. People in the same room, hearing and capturing the creative sound of the Holy Spirit, then responding with passion, unity and a common voice. That beats technique and technology every time.
When Excellence Gets In the Way of Authenticity
As I said at the start, I’m not against doing things with quality. Or good technique. Or technology. And I’m definitely not in favor of poor preaching, lazy worship or haphazard church administration.
But when we always insist on technical excellence, we can
- stifle innovation
- punish creative mistakes instead of rewarding them
- promote pride
- create a two-tiered system of haves and have-nots
- turn potential disciples into permanent audience members
Sometimes ‘God deserves our best’ can serve as a cover for our pride. God also wants and deserves our second best. And our worst. And everything in between. Those less-than-perfect moments are where the Holy Spirit often shines the brightest. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)
It’s not that I can’t worship along with world-class musicians using high-quality video and lighting. I have.
But I’ve also grinned like a Cheshire Cat watching a nervous teenager trying to play guitar in front of the church for the first time. And I’ve been moved to tears of gratefulness as a stay-at-home mom overcame her stage fright to speak with a stuttering, trembling voice about how her church family prayed, worked and counseled her alcoholic husband back to sobriety and responsibility again.
Their lack of performance quality didn’t hinder their message. It made the moments a little more real.
Sometimes it’s the lack of technical excellence when we offer our second best that creates space for creativity, innovation and passion to grow.
One of the reasons I love small churches is that our needs are more apparent. An obvious gap in technical expertise can show me where I’m needed. I can help. I can make a real difference.
And I don’t need to feel embarrassed about messing up as I’m learning how to do it, because these people know me and love me. Not in spite of my imperfections. But because of them. Because I’m trying. And because we share our imperfections with each other.
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