Should I even be here? Part 2 of three parts

Should I just give up being a Technical/Production Director all together?

By now, you are either excited about the place you are at or maybe just confused by it all or maybe you are completely defeated. For those of you who are discouraged and are saying to yourself, “What do I do now?” Don’t give up! For those who just know that they have been called by God and excited for what your church is about, you may be still asking, “So why am I still so burned out?” For both groups I want to encourage you with a few lessons that I have learned from asking all these questions of myself and seeking those answers out not only from wise people in my life, but also from my favorite author. Marcus Buckingham is one of the leading experts in the area of personal strengths and how to identify your strengths and use them in the work place. He has written a number of books on the subject. (Now, Discover Your Strengths, Go, Put Your Strengths to Work, and Standout) I’m not going to try to explain it as well as he can. Go out and read the books for yourself or YouTube Trombone Player Wanted (a short video series on strengths.) But here are a few highlights that have helped me.

Strengths

A study was done on American workers and was found out that only 2 out of every 10 people said that they have a job that plays to their strengths every day. Two out of Ten! What that tells me is that 80% of people said that they go to work every day and are exhausted, unfulfilled, and depleted by their job. Now tell me, is that how you feel after you get home from your church? Exhausted, unfulfilled, and depleted! Now I get there may be moments of pure exhaustion, where you leave nothing behind. You’ve given it your all, and you are tired. I’ve been there. Coming off of a Christmas week where we had 14 services over 3 campuses in 4 days. Over 12,000 people heard about Jesus. Did I mention, I was tired? But in those moments I’m pumped, I’m excited and I come home ready to do it again. I can’t even fall asleep at night, because at the end of the day, I know that I had a hand in what God just did, and I was able to use my God-given strengths, gifts, and talents to further His kingdom. “We get to do this!”

So, what is a ‘strength’? Is it simply something you are good at? Maybe, but there is more to it. Marcus would say “it is something that makes you feel strong.” You may be great at something, but at the end of the day it makes you feel weak and depleted. Your strengths are something that you are naturally good at AND when you are done you are invigorated, strong, and excited. That AND is very important because you need both sides of that statement to be true. We all have things that we love to do and get excited about but we aren’t very good at them. What do we call those things? Yep, hobbies. I love playing golf, but I suck. No one will ever pay me to play golf. In fact, they may pay me to just stop and get off their course. Strengths require ability plus excitement. In these areas of strength, you become more productive, you seem to be more focused, you’re in the zone, and time seems to just pass you by. Can you think back a week or so and pick out these moments? Try it! Maybe these things are your strengths.

And right now comes the question, “Are you telling me that every part of your job is filled with strengths? Aren’t there parts of your job that just drain you?” In a word, yes. “There’s a reason they call it work.” But what I’ve tried to do over the years is to replace the parts of my job that I am weak with the parts that I am strong. For example, I stopped training new volunteers. In fact, I rarely even interface with them at all. I have found that I am no good at taking someone who knows nothing and teaching them. What I am good at is once they have learned the basics and are showing some potential I am great at taking them to the next level. So a few years ago I started hiring some of my highest potential young volunteers and have poured huge amounts of time into them. Most of them now know way more than I do. Some have moved on to bigger and better things and others I have promoted to be some of my key staff members. One of the other things I am weak at is scheduling volunteers. That drains me more than most things, so I found a few people who love doing that. They love, not only scheduling people, but tracking their days to make sure they are not working too much. I also do not have a huge nurturing or mercy gift. I do these things when I have to, but once again, it depletes and exhausts me. So I have found people that just want to love on others and I have put them in charge of volunteer appreciation. On weekends, I don’t operate one piece of gear, unless 2 or 3 people don’t show up. I love it!

So what do I do all day? I am a Connector/Pioneer (results from The Standout). I love putting the right pieces together without looking at the instructions. Whether it’s putting the right people in the right places or figuring out how to solve a problem, that’s where I’m at my best, and that is when I feel strong. I love empowering people to take their ideas and run with them without knowing the outcome. “Let’s try it, and see if it works” is my motto.

Start doing more of what you are strong at and less of what you are weak at. “Yeah right”, you say. “I can’t just stop doing things that my church needs from me.” I need to take one for the team and do my job. That is what my church needs from me.” What if I told you, that is the last thing your church needs from you. What your church needs from you is to use your gifts, strengths, and talents and for someone else to step up and use theirs where you are lacking. You see, if everyone in your church (staff and volunteers) would start thinking this way, you will finally be acting as one body. Stop trying to be a hand, when God designed you to be a foot. Sound familiar? (1 Corinthians 12)

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Jacob Barbour and his wife, Kristi, have two beautiful little girls. They are lifelong residents of Southern California. His life journey has taken him from what he thought God wanted, which was to become a youth pastor, to being the Production Manager at a church of 10,000+ regular attenders. He has served at High Desert Church for thirteen years, two of those years as Front of House Engineer and the other eleven in his current role as Production Manager. Jacob is in charge of all Live Audio, Video, and Lighting equipment and personnel. He oversees two full-time and ten part-time paid staff, as well as over 100 volunteers, over three campuses. “My passion is helping people find out what their God-given strengths are and helping them leverage them to grow their local church and further the Kingdom of God. I also have a heart for helping churches find their way when it comes to implementing technology into their worship services. Whether it’s adding their first sound system and projector or expanding their campus to High Definition, it always helps to be able to talk to someone who has already walked that road.”