The Sacrifice of My Pride

My name is Martha Shafer and I volunteer on the weekends by leading a production team of about nine people at the Broadcast Campus of a seven-campus church. I serve twice a month for about two or three services in a weekend. In normal business hours I’m a middle school teacher. Those crazy hormonal lovable nuggets are just the balanced diet of crazy I need for preparing my heart for the weekend services–– mostly because they’ve taught me that it doesn’t matter how much I prepare or how confident I feel, I’m going to totally botch it by the end of the day.

In the world of church production, my screw-ups range from forgetting to set the marker for the beginning of the sermon (so the other campuses have a starting frame) to getting a nice friendly reminder from our speaking pastor, “Hey if you guys don’t start the countdown clock soon, I won’t ever stop,” Mid-service. From. Stage. [Insert a gif of me beating my head against the table]. Church tech leaders already have a reputation for nerdy perfectionism. Throw in a stressed teacher with crippling anxiety and you’ve got yourself a train wreck waiting to happen.

Lucky for me, God LOVES using broken people. It’s everywhere in His Word. Jesus came to rescue the sick, not the healthy (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31, Matthew 9:12). He dines with the thieving tax collectors (Mark 2) and lifts up the poor uneducated fishermen (Matthew 4). Paul BOASTS gladly in his weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12) so that the power of Christ can be made known. In 1 Kings 17, God took away Elijah’s ability to provide and drove him into the wilderness, in a drought, to teach him dependence.

I try my best to prepare for every weekend. Arrive early (check). Meet with pastors and worship leaders (check). Write reminders to start recordings, set video markers, (check, check). I desperately want to make the service as distraction-free as possible. However, at some point I have to let it go and trust that God is going to move where He wants to move and no one (not even I) can stop that from happening. When I’m making mistakes or when my team is making mistakes, we’re now in perfect position for God to show His sovereignty.

On the flip side, the Bible is also full of instances of God shaming the strong (Genesis 11, 1 Corinthians 1:27). If I don’t start in humility, you better believe it’s coming because dependence on God is the goal. We can’t do it without Him. Recognizing that and embracing it, hands open to the sky, “Lord, I’m going to make mistakes today but I PRAISE You that You aren’t held back by my weaknesses. That You’ll show how powerful You are by moving in spite of my failures.” It gives me clear eyes to see the truth of my place before God.

Every week, before the service, a group of us pray that we would be less and God would be more–– that we wouldn’t obsess over our own individual pieces of serving. You’ve heard the prayer before, “Remind us that it’s not about the band, or the lights, or the video…” You’d think that the character traits of submissiveness and humility would get easier with time, but it’s a sacrifice of my pride every single week. In a position of leadership on the weekends, the best I can do is be honest about my faults and ask for prayer from the people I serve beside, praising God for those bold enough to encourage me in truth.

“The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.” - Judges 7:2-3

Let’s be honest. If I look at the facts, I want an Assyrian army… the one that never loses, always conquers, always wins. But if I look at the Bible, I see that the Assyrian army is no match for God, who wants us as dependent on Him as possible so there is no doubt who is the one that saves. I want everything to go perfectly, but at gut-check time, I want God to move mightily through me, and he’s only showing up if I’m ready and willing to depend on Him. I get to sacrifice my pride every week because I know what God can do through my weaknesses.

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