Yesterday, I was in the booth, but not running sound. Instead, Worship Pastor ran sound and I was the computer person.
We use a presentation software called ProPresenter for all of the media we show on our screens. This program was developed specifically for use in church and is in (what I perceive to be) a constant state of development (or we could say improvement, as is, I suppose, most software). Having become the de facto ProPresenter person at the church for what we do on Sundays, (and due to the fact that we, again, use it for everything), I’ve had a great deal of quality time with ProPresenter, have spent a great deal of time troubleshooting Pro, and have also spent a relatively small, but regular amount of time on the Pro user forums.
While we use ProPresenter, it’s not all that important for Computer Person to have extensive knowledge of the software. In fact, it’s as easy as hitting an arrow button or clicking the mouse to the next slide of song lyrics, to start a video, or to show an image. Due to the multi-room thing, there are a few other buttons that need attention, along with a couple of countdowns. However, in my opinion, being the Computer Person is one of the easiest, hardest (and generally under-appreciated) jobs we have on our team.
The actions of the Computer Person are the easy part, but there are other aspects of the job that make it pretty stressful. Consider: in this aural tradition of worship that has emerged as common practice in evangelical churches in the past 15 or so years (or the modern age of whatever-you-want-to-call-our-non-hymn-book/notation-based worship using instruments often associated with secular music, please don’t say “contemporary,” please?), an entire body of worshippers is somewhat dependent upon the words on the screens to participate vocally in worship (that, combined with the simple and repetitive, or “easily accessible nature” of this music, and all of the praise and worship music they’re probably buying and listening to, but that’s a different post). At our church, this could be anywhere from 150-600 people at a time… no pressure, right?
Today, although my primary responsibility was computering, I was having trouble letting go of concerns of Things About to Happen, and found myself focusing on those Things rather than the Things Happening. During the song immediately following a video piece, I noticed we were almost through the first verse of a song and there were no words on the screen. I thought, “Why are there no… AUGHHH!!” when I realized, I was the exact reason there were no words on the screen.
At that point, it didn’t really matter if I knew what was going to happen ten minutes later, nor did it matter if I knew how to insert a prop or edit templates in ProPresenter; it was the simple matter of pressing an arrow key that was the Important Thing. For the record, I think I did better in the second service, but in any event, it makes me REALLY appreciate the folks who serve as Computer Person every week.