Changing My Perspective


We recently installed a wide-angle security camera above our stage looking out into the seating to help with monitoring and counting attendance. As I came into my office on Monday morning, I found a large-scale print out from the camera’s image on my desk. It was an empty room, no special lights on, just work light throughout the room.

As I began to analyze the photograph from a technical perspective for angle, focus, and exposure, I was disturbed by how unimportant the stage was. I was a little appalled that the security team wouldn’t have more of the stage in the photo. It was all about the seats! Ugh.

Then God reminded me: He’s all about the seats.

On a Monday morning, a little more than an hour or so before anyone else would arrive, alone in my office, God knew that I needed a change in perspective. It’s all about the seats.

This started a thought-process for me that went spiraling out of control in my mind (I often have two hyperactive hamsters running opposite directions on the same wheel in my mind.) I glanced around my office and compared my empty house seating photo with the latest worship and church tech magazine covers and online images of amazing churches all across the country. I was struck by another thought: we care a whole lot about seeing and making the 6-10 people on stage look really cool.

Here’s a list of the questions that grew, and continue to grow, from this Monday morning moment. I hope you find them challenging and consider them for yourself:

  • Are the people hearing good sounds from the seats?
  • Is the sound singable? Can they hear what they are supposed to be singing?
  • Volume (dB) should not matter if people are singing and engaged.
  • Where is the subject for IMAG during worship? Do we need it?
  • Can everyone see what is on the screens?
  • Is the font easy to read from the farthest and closest seat?
  • Are we using lyrics like a karaoke party or as a tool to help your people know the words to sing?
  • How do the seats communicate to a video or online audience about what worship is doing or about?
  • Is our lighting encouraging people to be a part of the worship process or to watch and enjoy the show?
  • Do house lights make a difference?
  • Are visuals (motion or still) just pretty, or are they intentional, sacred, and leading people to worship?
  • What makes our facility different to the people than a performance hall or theater?
  • Is there a Holy communication in the experience we create?
  • If a church is healthy, does the number of people in the seats really matter? Is it just for our sanity… or worse, for our ego?
  • Why do we equate a church name with what the stage looks like, or what the worship team/staff is doing? It’s about the people.

I have indeed had a change in perspective. The seats are what should matter the most as we seek to be “bringers of the good news.” (Romans 10:14-15)

chriscrawfordChris Crawford is the Senior Creative Arts Director at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen, Texas. He transitioned into his current role in 2015 after previously serving as the Technical Arts Director at CCC. His previous experience includes serving as a Media Director, Graphic Artist, Website Coordinator, and Audio Intern at First Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas.

Chris is a freelance creative serving churches and ministries to better equip the Kingdom of God. When he’s not elbow-deep in tech and creative planning, Chris is spending time with his wife Kristin and their two sons Cooper and Caleb.

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