ChurchSoundcheck.com

It's Not About the Gear

Transcribed by Curt Taipale

A few years ago we held one of our ChurchSoundcheck Church Production Conferences in north Texas. Our friends at Cross Timbers Community Church in Argyle, Texas, graciously and excitedly offered to host our conference. And we were so blessed when we learned that their senior pastor, Toby Slough, had requested the opportunity to speak to our audience.

What he shared during that moment was encouraging, uplifting and a major blessing to all who attended. So the following comments aren’t from me this time, but straight from the heart of Toby Slough, senior pastor of a church in north Texas that is experiencing tremendous growth. Once you read these comments, you’ll understand why.

We are glad that you are here. I appreciate you being here. We consider it a privilege and an honor to have you here at Cross Timbers Community Church. I want to say to you this morning as a senior pastor – I assume there are no other senior pastors here, right!?! Because this intimidates the dog out of me. You can’t swing a dead cat in this room without hitting a tech guy. I saw all of that gear in here, and I can’t enter into that world. I don’t want to enter into the world in which you enter because it scares me to death.


But I want to spend a moment here this morning sharing with you how important what you do in your ministry is. Because I believe it is very easy for any of us, whether it’s a children’s pastor, technical director, music pastor, or teacher in a local church to lose sight of what we’re doing. I believe with all of my heart that what you do is not simply turning a knob or adjusting a light or putting together a video. What you do matters in people’s eternity. I believe that you are part of a divine plan of Heaven coming down in the lives of people who don’t know Him.


You know, in the little three and a half year history of Cross Timbers Community Church we have literally watched thousands of people come to know Jesus Christ personally. And I want you to know that the message that we present here is much more than me standing on the stage with the latest mic sharing the word of God. Here at Cross Timbers, the message comes through in videography, in movie clips, in setting the tone and mood in lighting as our team leads us in worship. And it’s in those moments that people come to know Christ.


One of my favorite stories of many stories here at Cross Timbers is from a day when we were showing a clip from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I noticed as we were showing the clip that there was a guy in the congregation who got up and walked out. And I really thought that maybe he was just a religious guy who didn’t like us showing Indiana Jones movies in church. And I thought, oh well, we get those every week.


But as he walked out, I noticed one my friends walk out to meet him. We were showing the clip, remember, when Indiana isn’t sure how to get across the gorge, but as he steps out the stone bridge appears. We were preaching on faith that day, and what it meant to put your trust in Christ.


After the service, my friend who had gone out to meet this gentleman came over to see me and said “Hey, did you see that guy who walked out in the middle of church?” And my response was “Yeah, what did we make him mad about?” And my friend said “I just prayed with him to receive Christ out in our lobby today!” Because he said, “When I watched that clip up on the screen, I finally understood what it meant to give your heart and your life to Jesus. That it’s stepping someplace where you don’t know where you’re going.”


Now, if our creative team hadn’t come up with that idea, he would have never heard the gospel in that way that day. But I want you to know that our creative team coming up with that idea wasn’t enough. If (technical director) Craig and his technical team hadn’t put that together with excellence, if the sound wouldn’t have come on, if the people wouldn’t have been able to see it, he would have missed what God’s plan was for him that day.


See, what you do has Kingdom implications. And I count it a privilege and an honor to call some of the guys in this room today my partners in the gospel here. I saw the guy who puts all of our slides together in here this morning, and I stood at the back and I thought about the passion and the creativity that he brings to help me present the gospel every week. I see the guys who run our lights – guys who have given inordinate amounts of time so that people can find Jesus Christ.


We’re partners here in the ministry that we do. And my job as the pastor of this church is to remind them as I want to remind you today that it’s much more than turning a knob. It’s about being involved in the business of helping people find Jesus Christ. I want you to know in many ways, I envy what you get to do. And I want you to know why. I envy it because as a pastor, as the most high profile person in the church, I get way too much of the credit and way too much of the blame.


There is a grand tendency in my heart that when it all works – you know that day when it all works and as people are moved and lives are changed – to begin to believe what people say about what a great pastor I am, what an inspiring teacher I am. And I begin to understand the wisdom in the words of Christ when he said you do it for the applause of Heaven, not the applause of men.


And I want you to know that there are many times I wish that God had called me to a ministry that was behind the scenes, because there is tremendous opportunity to be like Christ when you get it right and nobody notices. Do you hear what I’m saying!?! I mean that is the ultimate in what Jesus talked about in the Sermon on the Mount. It is the opportunity to receive all of your affirmation from the Lord alone and that be enough.


I know that many of you in this room are underappreciated. I know that many of you have pastors and leaders in your churches that are trying to tell you to do things that they know nothing about. And I know that’s frustrating for you.


I know there are many times that you’re thinking, kind of like Curt kidded this morning “Why would you be goofy enough to go on a church staff and do what you do!?!” You do it because the Kingdom matters. And you do it because ultimately you understand that you’re living for an audience of One. And then when you do your job with excellence, that the Lord is pleased. And that’s enough.


So I want to pray that for you today, as you sharpen your skills, that the Holy Spirit would impress upon you the implications of what you learn. It’s not about wowing anybody. It’s about clearly communicating the greatest message that’s ever been taught.


Lord, I thank you for these men and women in this room that give themselves behind the scenes to making Your message come alive in the hearts and lives of people. And I pray, Father, that from the throne of Heaven today would come comfort and encouragement. I pray Father that you would speak and minister to hearts in ways that only you can. And I pray that you would give these men and women a grand vision of what they’re about. That it’s not about mics and wires and slides and all of that, but that this is about sharing the greatest story with a world that needs to know you. And I thank you Lord for an opportunity to receive our affirmation from you alone. I pray Lord that in what we do, and in who we are, that you would be pleased, that we would make you smile Lord. I thank you Lord for loving us more than we could ever hope or imagine, and I pray that this would be a wonderful time of ministry and learning together. It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray. Amen.


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