The Theology and Philosophy of Production in Worship

What is the purpose of production in worship? Why do we have lights, sound, and video in our services, and does the Bible have anything to say to inform us of their intended use? Even the most simple churches have to make decisions about how bright the lights are, and how loud the sound is. In this month’s episode, I interview the only man on planet earth with a PhD in the Theology of Production. Dr. Josiah Way has some Biblical insight for us to help us understand both the purpose of technology in worship, and how to make sure we are using them to effectively communicate the gospel, and not distract from it.

Check out Dr. Way’s NEW BOOK and PODCAST on the Theology of Production.

SEE ALSO: 7 Principles To Improve Your Church’s Sound

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Alex Enfiedjian 00:09 Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the worship ministry training podcast, a monthly podcast for worship leaders to help you excel musically, theologically and pastorelli. So today we’re talking about the theology of production in worship. You know, in modern worship production touches almost every part of our services from the sound to the lyric slides to the lighting to the video elements. And yet, not many of us have given much thought to both the what and the why of production. But thankfully, On today’s episode, I have the only human in the world with a PhD in the philosophy and theology of church production. Yes, it’s actually a degree. Dr. Joe a is on today to help us understand the role of production in our church services. So be sure to pass this on to your techie friends in your life. Speaking of production, I want to share five ways that I use Planning Center to serve my production teams. Planning Center is our recommended product this month, and I use it specifically in production in the following several ways. Number one, we schedule all of our production volunteers on Planning Center every week, whether they are audio volunteers, lighting, camera operators, stage crew, or even CD duplication people, yes, our church still gives away CDs. Number two, there is a stage layout feature in Planning Center, where you can show your audio team where everyone is supposed to stand on the stage and what inputs are supposed to be there. So I put all this information into Planning Center on the stage layout form every Tuesday morning, so they can start making plans and getting a mental headstart. The third way I use it is to put specific notes into the notes section so that the lighting people know what color the background sides are going to be. And the camera operators know who’s singing which song or if there’s a guitar riff we want them to capture. And then the final way that I use Planning Center for production is to put the song sequences into the plan, because pro presenter can automatically link to that plan and import the lyric slides into the correct order into pro presenter. It’s amazing. So Planning Center is completely free to try for 30 days, and plans start at just $14 a month, you can check everything out at planning dot center, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Alright, let’s jump into our interview with Dr. Joe way. Hey, everybody, I’m here with my new friend, Dr. Joe way, who is the only person in the world to have a doctorate degree in the theology of production for worship. Wow, you’re the only person in the world how do you feel Joe?

Josiah Way 02:27 You know, it’s

Josiah Way 02:27 a little overwhelming. I mean, I’d literally wrote the book on church production. Yeah, you’re a loner. Welcome to being a tech guy. Naturally a loner,

Alex Enfiedjian 02:36 oh my gosh, Joe, you have several 1000 worship leaders probably listening to this episode. And I’d say most of them are either over their audio, video, lighting, media booth stuff, or they work alongside of someone who is over that stuff. What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna encourage the listeners to take this episode and pass it on to whoever’s in charge of their lighting and, and video and tech and all that stuff. or listen together with that person, listeners, please take this episode and pass it on to the technical people in your life, because I think they’ll be helped. But Joe, you’re talking right now to worship leaders, and hopefully their tech people. What would you tell them about the role of production in worship and their individual role as technical artists in the church?

Josiah Way 03:23 You know, a little The story is, I was a TD at a church, right? One of the guest musicians, as we were meeting for prayer, asks my associate TD back there, what instrument you play. And he says, Oh, I play the soundboard. And I thought that is genius, right? Because you are part of the band. And it’s so amazing how people think that there’s the worship band, and there’s the tech team. But yet we’re all integral parts in the creation of the worship experience, right? So to be able to view yourself, as you know, an integral instrument in the creation of worship is just extremely important. And that’s really why I wanted to do this because you know, that the tech team, we have this image of us as the guys who don’t like to talk to anybody who the Department of No, we sit in the back, close our door, don’t talk to me. And I’ve got my you know, focusing on my piece of equipment, and that’s probably right, sadly, but maybe because we haven’t realized how important we are to the actual production of it. Why don’t we actually put on the setlist right we have a piano player, guitar player, three vocalists, a lighting player, we have a soundboard player. Those are just key aspects. And that’s really what I hope that production people can start to view themselves as

Alex Enfiedjian 04:46 Yeah, I love that because I always tell our technical artists that they are worship leaders. I’m like, we can’t sing without the lyrics on the screen or we can’t sing without the band sounding good. I mean, we can but it’s enhanced. announced by the technical art right? And so I always tell them, you’re not just a button pusher, you are literally a worship leader, and you’re part of leading the congregation and worship. So I love that. How would you encourage them? If we’re going to aim towards being one team as worship and tech? What are some things we can do to actually bridge that gap and kind of help it? You know,

Josiah Way 05:20 it’s one thing to say, okay, we’re all one team, we’re all one. But it’s another to understand the needs of the people, right? And tech people are just different, right? We get into it, because we don’t want to be the spotlight. But yet we have this ability to take and create, to get right into the Bible is that not exactly what the tabernacle is? Right? The fact is, you have two people in bezaleel, and the holy AB, who take these miscellaneous pieces of wood and linen, and create an amazing place of worship, they take what would be a tent and turn it into a sanctuary. And that’s done through an artist with a creative sense, because they can craft an experience. And that’s exactly what’s happening with modern production. Today, we’re crafting exactly what the person is going to choose whether it be with lighting, or the sound of sake, the sound guy, right, exactly as you were saying, he has the ability to make it an awesome experience, or make people’s ears hurt. And I think that’s exactly where we if you know, you’re a worship leader, you want understand that they have a creative ability and a knack, that rarely do people have, that’s what your tech person really wants you to be able to trust him and go, look, I know how to take these 20 inputs and make something special out of it. That’s how you start to make them one team and realizing just as you’re going to trust your guitar player, your keyboard player to have a skill in their craft, we need to build a trust our lighting guy, our sound guy, to know that they develop their own skills, even if the personalities aren’t necessarily the same type. And I think that’s really how we start to draw the line. Because usually, it’s the personality types that are different.

Alex Enfiedjian 07:06 So you’re saying the worship leaders, and the tech team can become one, but only really, if the tech people are improving their skill are showing that they’re trustworthy of like, because as a worship leader, I’ll just speak from the stage perspective, if I don’t trust the sound guy, I’m nervous. I’m like, hey, there’s that like piano part right there? Are you turning that up? Or, Hey, I just want to make sure that you’re turning her up for her solo, like, Don’t forget, like, if I can’t trust my sound guy, then there’s immediately like a barrier between us. And so that’s what I love about like, our current sound, guys, Stephen Clark. He’s amazing. don’t hire him from us, everybody. But I trust him so much, because I know he’s like constantly working to improve his skill set. You know what I mean? With that in mind? Like, how would you encourage the technical artists who are listening? Like how can they improve their skill set,

Josiah Way 07:54 I don’t want to, you know, bash on the production team, because that’s my side, right? I’m protecting my team. But let’s be honest, I have been in the back of the booth, where everybody’s worshiping up on stage, they’re doing rehearsal, and we’re in back on our Facebook page, we’re just talking, we’re not developing those skills. Now you have a different level of professional, you know, professionalism, where maybe where someone is going to develop that. But that’s where as tech people, and if I want to make a plea to tech people, if you don’t take your craft seriously, don’t expect anybody else to. And if you’re not, they’re saying, hey, I need you to give me a solid multitrack. So I can come in tomorrow after rehearsal and be working on this. And I can polish it. And I can practice this mix. Now you’re an artist. And that’s the biggest difference.

Alex Enfiedjian 08:43 Yeah, cuz I do see a lot of tech people especially seems like in smaller churches, it’s like, I don’t know how I got put here. I don’t know, I’m just here. And I don’t really want to be here. I don’t love it. I’m just like filling a seat. You know what I mean? And you’re saying, You’re elevating the tech role. You’re saying the tech role is literally the translation between what happens on the stage and what happens in the pew. And we should be getting better as technical artists, to crafting that experience. Everything that I do, as a worship leader on the stage goes through the tech person’s hands. Like I always say that the only person more important than the audio engineer is the Holy Spirit. You know, I mean, like the audio engineer is the most important person in the room because everything I do goes through their hands through their interpretation of what we’re doing and through their mix. And like they can either harm what we’re trying to do or help what we’re trying to do. And I think there are some people listening who, maybe they’re in that mind space, where they’re like, yeah, I’m just here. My worship leader gave this to me to listen to and my encouragement to that person is either if you don’t like being back there, then like, get out of the way and let the Lord bring someone in who wants to be there and who wants to improve because they see the importance and value of that role, or even better would be to kind of repent change your mind, about how you view your role and say, Man, I I’m going to take this seriously because what Dr. Joe just said is that literally, I am the mediator between the pastor and the people. And I need to be as excellent as I can be in that crafting calling. So

Josiah Way 10:12 think about how awesome is that? And I don’t think a lot of tech people realize that. So how many actual tech people realize how important their role is, and that you are one of the very few people who has an actual tangible way of impacting lives. And they’re the pastor, there’s the sound guy, probably the lighting guy. And the guy who’s gonna put the slide up when it’s time. That’s rare. You know, once the park cars are parked parking guys done?

Alex Enfiedjian 10:45 Yeah. Again, if you guys aren’t hearing it, like the value of the production role is just massive. Now, you kind of hinted a little bit around this, how would you define production? Like, what is production in the church?

Josiah Way 10:58 It is the translation from stage to congregation, right?

Josiah Way 11:02 I mean, I always

Josiah Way 11:02 draw this image Christ is the mediator between God and man. Well, the production booth is the mediator from stage to congregate, right? It’s physical equipment. As soon as we have a beautiful big auditorium, like you have here, and you put a microphone in front of somebody, you’ve now said, I’m going to put something between my message and your ears as a congregant. And their role is to be the mediator of that. And that’s where that responsibility is, and I think that’s where they also need to take responsibility and to recognize what I do matters, because I’m the translator, you know, just as you said, whether it’s good sound, bad sound. Once you’ve miked it, you’ve decided, I’m going to do something with it. And now they have to be able to translate it in the best way to make it pleasing for the person who’s gonna end up taking it in whether it be the message or the worship song.

Alex Enfiedjian 11:57 Yeah, and production, it’s the medium that carries the message, you know, it’s the transmitter through which the message is carried. And, you know, bad production can get in the way of the message and good production can enhance the message. So for our listeners listening, how can they decipher what is good production? And what is bad production? What’s enhancing the message and what’s getting in the way of message because I see a lot of light shows that churches and it’s like a strobe light. And you’re like, Whoa, that is really distracting. So what does good production look like? And feel like? Well, there’s

Josiah Way 12:31 the million dollar question, isn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t argue about that? And isn’t that really the, you know, the when is it turn into entertainment? versus when is it a worship thing? And here’s the thing we all know, and it really has to do with I think, the taste and understanding the purpose, it is so easy, just because the light can strobe doesn’t mean it should stroke, right? And are you actually complimenting the message. And that’s really where I look at is if you realize that your role is to be the mediator of the physical message? Are you going to make it so that it’s pleasing? Or are you going to make it so it’s distracting? And that’s where we want to be able to understand as a tech person in the heat of it, let’s say, and I know I’ve got a bridge coming up, that’s just going to rock. Well, if I turn it into a light show, have I made the focus of everybody? Well, this is great. Or if I said, Okay, I’m focusing this up to God, can I now make everyone focus on the truths that are there and I think that gets lost. And I’ve always seen a lot of, you know, splits, just take the lighting guy, sorry, lighting, guys, I don’t want to pick on you, but I see this a lot. where they’ll have a list of this is the intro and there’s this verse, chorus, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, side, worship leaders bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, bridge, and then chorus, right, sorry, double chorus, and outro. And every time I see this, they’re like, okay, I can do more lights here and do more lights here and be more lights here. Well, let’s look at this, you know, theologically, what’s usually being said during a bridge. Right? Yeah, it’s the height of a song. But maybe there’s a lot more theological truth we should focus people on during those times, then being able to show how great of a production we can make. And that’s where I believe people are going to be able to say that what’s pleasing, and that’s where it’s good production, because there’s nothing against if you’re a small church, and you can only afford eight lights, you can still use them well, and you can use them poorly versus the same guy who’s got 120 lights, you know, and I think sometimes when it’s the more it’s the worst, because it’s easy to get distracted from. What’s the truth of the lyrics and are you even as tech people, how many times have we actually listened to the songs or are we Just putting them on slides and making sure they’re up on time. You know, and I think that when we take our art should always supplement the gospel message first. Yeah,

Alex Enfiedjian 15:12 I think a lot of people chase after production, like, maybe I’m over generalizing. But it seems like tech people tend to just like gravitate towards tech, because tech is awesome. And they make it the focus. And they chase after that. And they say, I want to make it like, the XYZ stadium show that I saw, you know, at the passion conference where there’s 50,000 people in an arena, and there’s all these lights and like, huge screens, and it’s like, Yeah, but maybe that’s not enhancing it in your local congregation, you know, maybe it needs to be more subtle. Like, I remember hearing the Bethel lighting guy talking about the way he approaches lighting for a Bethel concert. And the way he approaches it for a church service. And he said, If you saw our church service lighting, you would be like, shocked at how simple it is, you know, because they don’t want to take away from the gospel message in the songs, you know, they just want to light it nicely light it tastefully and not be flashy. I remember someone else said, they’re visiting our church. I knew him from a long time ago, and he was visiting. And he was like, Yeah, I checked out this other church the other week down the road. And he’s like, it was literally like a rave like not, you know, I don’t know how he knew what a rave was like. But it was like all these like, he was like flashing lights and like strobes and, okay, that’s maybe going too far. I don’t know, what are your thoughts? Well,

Josiah Way 16:24 here’s the thing, he came back talking about the flashing lights, not about the message he got. Right. That’s where it comes from. And there’s again, I don’t want to take away from and I also look at, okay, we have Nam here, which is the highlight of every audio guy’s career, okay. So they’re gonna go in your tech guy who got finally his one show a year approved. And he’s going to fly out there. He’s going to see, you know, every console on earth. And he’s going to come back to you and say, Oh, boy, look with this could do what we can do with this. What can do with this, we did this. Because who doesn’t want to play with it? When you can go to a mega church? And you see the toys they have? And you go, oh, we’re going to be better? If? Well, yes. I mean, are there things that make that console? The reason it costs $100,000? Absolutely. But maybe it will be better if your heart for serving the people in your team

Josiah Way 17:21 is a little better.

Josiah Way 17:22 Maybe if that $1,000 we spent to send you to Nam was spent on buying lunch with your team, and you develop them and make them then want to grow their craft. Now when we send you to Nam, because your heart is on how we can help the people the church, trust me, you’re going to probably come back wanting the console. That’s half that amount, but it’s going to serve your needs.

Alex Enfiedjian 17:44 Yeah, so put the people over the tech, right don’t chase after the tech chase after what God cares about which is, which is the people, I wanted to talk about theology of production. And I’m sure the listeners are like, Can you guys talk about that already? So here we go, you know, you’ve done how many years of research was it four years or years? So I’m going to ask you to synthesize four years of research into maybe five minutes of, you know, you studied three primary passages, as you looked at, you know, what does the Bible have to say, to inform our production, right? maybe share with the three passages that you looked at? And kind of the key takeaways from each one. And so that our listeners can keep those things in the back of their mind as they approach their production at their church?

Josiah Way 18:26 Yeah, absolutely. So when I sought to do was this is you hear a lot of tech people always say, well, this, you know, technology. God has it in the Bible, and it says in the Bible, about serving and good art and like, now I sit there and go, Okay, great. Tell me where no one can ever answer where. So what I sought to do was, I’m not saying you’re wrong, the technology is there, even though you can’t open the Bible and find the word. Here’s where it’s going to be. And I looked at three different passages. The first was, were the exodus chapters of the construction of the tabernacle. And it’s interesting because, gosh, I believe it’s 26 times give or take the word skilled is used. And we often just think of this tent they got done, you know, but we don’t realize that there’s more that’s to be said, right? In that construction. It’s not just about the fact that they had the ability to do it. God called for certain key skills, he called for one, the ability, the knowledge, the wisdom. To me, the key part is having the Spirit of God which is very interesting here. And I think there’s a very key takeaway is that the very first time in the Bible that someone was filled with the Spirit of God was the tech director. All right, we don’t get that till the end of Exodus. How many biblical patriarchs do we go through until we get to someone who’s filled with the Spirit of God?

Josiah Way 19:54 Right, it’s not said of a lot of people until they’re and so that’s key to me is that there was One thing that was special God wanted in the creation of the place of worship of him. And so the person who was called to do that was not just the dude who knew how to move the knob, or knew how the acacia wood would cure over time. He was a guy who knew God, who served God’s purposes, who had knowledge of craft wisdom of how to do it. And then to me, the sixth key aspect was that they’re also the only ones who are then known to be teachers. So it’s not just about knowing your craft is about passing it on. This is a question, do you tech directors? Are we passing that along? Are we actually developing our teams and investing in our teams? Because that’s one of the key aspects that God’s calling us when we’re creation, his place of worship? So that was the first thing is okay, what are the tangible skills needed? The next thing I looked at was Hebrews 212, and 13. And it was one of those kind of interesting passages that something is interesting going on here, where you have the talking, and kind of the conversation between God and Christ. And what’s happening is that God is there in the midst of the congregation, right there in the midst of them with them praising God. And I thought, well, that’s really interesting. He’s not just a mediator between he’s a mediator with. And I think there’s a very key, you know, thing to understand. And from a tech person, I realized, wow, kind of, as we already just talked about, you know, you are the ones who are there with the pastor, with the worship team, giving that experience directly to the congregation, you are, you know, serving Christ’s role physically in that way. And you are completely filling the image that we have of him in that location. And that’s realized, okay, so now, that’s the second pillar of the theology is, you know, one. The first is, what are the tangible skills? Second, is what is it look like when you’re actually doing it? What was the why there. And then the third I look at is our famous worship pastor key verse, right, with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, right. And so I looked at that, because I thought, there’s something also interesting going on here. And though we think of it often as worship leaders, and it’s great that I’m on a podcast with worship leaders, because I’m sure you quote that all the time. But it’s interesting, if we look at that verse that it has a lot more to do with the production of, because it’s is within the put on, put off section of the pistols, right, which is where they’re gonna take Colossians or Ephesians. And that, right, and so what we see is, we are filling the congregation by doing these things, right. And it’s not the doing of those things that does it. So and therefore we have to realize then as a tech person, that the purpose of our role is therefore to fill the congregation with the Spirit of God, right. And to be able to or the message of God, and probably a better translation of that. And so that’s really what I was looking at is okay, going back to what we first talked about, okay, yeah, you can be the guy who knows how to push the buttons, but are you now connecting it back to the people, it all comes down full circle to one another. So I can do my sound. And I can do a great mix, for whom, for one another.

Alex Enfiedjian 23:37 That’s huge, because like, that applies to everyone listening. So when our ego is in the way, we want to make it about us. So whether you’re the electric guitar player, trying to show how awesome you are, or you’re the drummer, trying to show how fast you can do your drum roll. Or you’re the lighting guy who’s trying to make it super flashy and cool. Or if you’re the sound guy trying to make it super loud. All of those people in those examples are not doing the one another thing, they are doing the self exile tating, you know, exalting. And like when I think about even our sound guy, Steven, when he mixes for a Sunday morning, he doesn’t mix it how he wants to hear it, because he would like it to be a little bit brighter. And he’d like, you know, to hear the snare a little more. But he’s mixing it for the people in the room. And he’s going, I’m going to make it a little warmer, I’m going to fill the bottom, I’m not going to be super loud, so that they can hear their own voices, like he’s mixing it for them to be able to sing to one another and sing to the Lord. And that’s the approach we want to take right in production is like, first, like you said, filled with the Spirit. We’re doing it like by the Spirit by the power of God with skill with wisdom. The second thing, what was that we’re mediating, right? You’re the physical mediators between what’s happening on stage and the congregation right? And then you’re doing it to help the congregation sing to one another psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, right. And it’s like Okay, if that’s my role, I think I can do that, you know, like it gives it, your dissertation really gives it legs, like, it’s like, I can see how to do what I’m called to do. This is what I’m called to do it kind of, it’s a job description, you know,

Josiah Way 25:14 so to speak, you know, and it’s funny too, because I think even just relaying this to worship and tech, it’s interesting that we have the phrase, psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, right? Because these are all three words throughout the Bible that all are used in synonyms for one another. Yet, they’re also used against one another, they all have their own individual terms, and even realizing that say, Take Colossians and Ephesians. They’re both written specifically for Greek audiences. They also have we all we think of, we hear the word Psalms, and we think, you know, Old Testament, right? Well, not if you’re hearing this, you’re thinking of, you know, somos, you are, you know, your various types of hero were of letters and things like that, and the hymns that would have been to the gods or the kings and you realize, okay, there are multiple layers on the way these terms are used. So what’s the takeaway? The takeaway is, there’s no right or wrong way. There’s all different ways. So when you say, Okay, how should you use your lights? Should they fly around everywhere? Should they become Yes, they should fly around everywhere. They should become? Okay. Should I have three guitar solos or one guitar solo? Yes.

Alex Enfiedjian 26:32 Yeah, that’s really astute. I mean, honestly, like the Bible doesn’t prescribe exactly how to worship as long as we’re worshiping in spirit and in truth, right. And so you’re saying, depending on the context, flashing lights might be awesome, and might help or they might not. And so it’s really being sensitive to probably the senior pastor, to the Holy Spirit and to the people that you’re serving,

Josiah Way 26:55 right? Yep. Well, that’s great, because I love how you just brought up that and john, you know, spirit and truth. And it’s funny, because I was I almost went for four verses. And I was gonna add that one in as a fourth. And I did decide not to, because there is a lot of literature on it. So I stuck with the three that there’s almost none on. But it’s interesting that when we look at spirit and truth, when we talk, you know, Christian ease, we use the word spirit for God, we use the word truth for God. But in that verse, they’re both lower cases. Right? So what does that mean? Well, maybe it means it’s a spirit of us. It’s where is our heart? And are we true to our craft? Are we true to the people we’re going to serve? And that’s how we’re doing it in spirit and truth for God, because it comes right back to one another. Write, and then because if we are doing it inwardly, and we are we know that we’re changed inwardly, our actions, then outwardly, will serve the purposes God wants to be served in during that worship experience.

Alex Enfiedjian 27:55 Yeah. And Andy Stanley would say how we love one another is how we love God, like, Oh, I don’t love God very much. You know, I love myself a lot. So I want to talk a little bit about you know, because in your book, or in your thesis, which is now a book, which we’ll talk about at the end, you talk about, like, where we’ve come from, you know, and like, the technological era that we’re in and how it’s like, people are bristling up against it. They’re like, Oh, like, you know, the, the more conservative people like, technology is horrible. And the more you know, the young contemporaries are like,

Unknown Speaker 28:29 technology’s the

Alex Enfiedjian 28:30 best, you know, and it’s kind of like the bar hymns. They used to be bar hymns played in the bar, and we just took Christian lyrics and put it on that and like, I’m sure that got flack. And then it became accepted. So now hymns are like, oh, they’re no longer Barre hymns. Now, hymns are the way to go. So we’ve come a long way in churches changed kind of like what you said, there’s no static way to do church. But as we have introduced technology, because technology is a new thing, electricity is like 100 years old, can you believe it? That’s crazy. As we’ve stepped into this new territory of like moving lights, and projectors, and big screens and dark rooms and all that stuff, loud, pa is, where do you think we may have gone wrong in that process? And what are some of the negative effects of what we thought were good ideas in the past? Well, I

Josiah Way 29:19 can say that where we went wrong, is the fact that we instituted something we weren’t prepared for or qualified for. Right? It’s one thing to see a Hollywood, you know, film. With all due respect. These are professionals who understand the craft, and then you get a church who says, Oh, I want to do that. And they bring it in, and they do it poorly. And I think that’s really where where was the worship war, it was done in the fact that we’re bringing in technologies that we probably shouldn’t have done yet till we built up the ability to have done so. And I think a lot of that church tech people wanted that they see their buddy, who’s a roadie, dude, you know, for a rock band using all this stuff and like, Oh, well, we’re playing the same style music. So maybe I need the same gear. And now I need to do it in the same style. Well, we’re not serving the same audience. So maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the same style. We’re here to serve God and one another, not serve the paycheck of the promoter. Right, there’s a big difference. And so I think that’s really where we went wrong. Because if you go back from the very beginning, and I, I, you know, I’ll take a little bit of a soapbox here for a minute. And if we go back, and you hear people say, I don’t like your lights and your loud music and your loudspeakers, and that, that bass kick drum that I can feel in my chair, you know, I don’t like that, because it’s not how the church did it. Really, because I had a lot of Bible verses that tells me it did. Well, I’ve got I got more Bible verses telling me they used to do it that way. And then they stopped doing it that way. And now we’re back to doing that way that I have ones that said they never did it that way. Are you talking about like clanging cymbal? Absolutely. playing and singing loudly? And why? Because it was an outpouring of your heart. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t times where you’re quiet. And you’re in prayer, right? Again, it’s not which one it’s all of them. And so I think what happens is when people say, Well, I want it the way it was, Well, that’s because that’s your comfort zone. And, you know, I even I have a quote in the book where it was like, here at our church, we do it exactly as it was done 30 years ago. Great. So you’re assuming that 30 years ago was the pinnacle of all things? And then what happens is a lot of the traditionalist will tie that back to, because that’s how the early church did it. Really, because we have zero record of how the early church did it.

Alex Enfiedjian 31:48 Yeah. They probably met in a house. That was probably no guitar. Yeah,

Josiah Way 31:52 we have no record, right? It’s just an idealized idea of what it should be. And also, okay, let’s look at it this way. What will it be? What will we be doing in heaven, I got more verses Tell me, I’m going to be jumping for joy and screaming and having that I have anything else. Right. And so I don’t want to turn around mean that say that now means we have to do louder. That means that means that you should turn up the volume, because again, it all comes down to a being appropriate for what you’re trying to achieve. But I think we can maybe rethink what we consider tradition, because all those things were challenged. I mean, even if you go back to the iconoclasts, and when you would kind of going away from the Catholic Church. And I mean, let’s just be honest, if anyone knows how to do good artists, the Catholic Church, who doesn’t go on vacation somewhere and go visit a beautiful Cathedral, right? They know how to do art. And yet we have a time in history where we wanted to destroy that. And maybe we weren’t against the art we were against, you know, obviously what it stood for? Well, let’s apply that today that people who are going to say we shouldn’t do, maybe if we presented more that we actually stand for, and that’s a presentation of the gospel, they would be less opposed to the way we’re doing it.

Alex Enfiedjian 33:15 Which, you know, that’s kind of scary, because for me, that means that the way and shape that church and worship happen in the future might be very different than my tastes. When I’m 60. It might be like techno music, and I might be like, this

Unknown Speaker 33:28 is the devil.

Alex Enfiedjian 33:30 This is the devil’s music, you know, and I just like, but your point is, God gave no prescription for how to do it. Just Let’s be open to doing it in a tasteful way that helps enhance the message and is relevant to the culture that is so desperate for it.

Josiah Way 33:46 Right? Absolutely. I mean, and here’s me negative tech guy coming out, you know, but there’s going to be a church for you and what you like, right? I mean, how many of the mega churches have six, you know, different venues going on at one time and one’s the gospel venue and one’s the traditional venue and one’s the rock and roll venue and right modern worship venue? Is any one of those right or wrong, their taste? As long as the music and the purpose is still focused on, you know, turning us into more light Christ. There’s no wrong in that. And so, absolutely. In 20 years, I guarantee you right now, you know, my daughters are teenagers. I don’t understand the things are listening to. And when that stuff goes in the church, I’m gonna find different church. That’s okay. Right? Because what’s gonna happen is they’re the ones who are now going to carry on that gospel. We’ve done our job and bringing them up. Let’s let them have it now. Yeah, yeah.

Alex Enfiedjian 34:44 We’ve talked a little bit about how the tech and worship ministers or worship leaders in the tech directors can work together. Are there more thoughts that you feel like you could share that might be helpful for them to bridge that chasm, you know,

Josiah Way 35:02 I think that coffee solves a lot of things. Amen. Right. It’s do we really connect? And I think that tech people are so used to getting direction? Can you do this? I need more of this, can you bring this? Can you bring this down? Will you do this? That’s the wrong slide, that we don’t ever just connect to them as people. Right? I mean, what if that was our relationship with our spouse? What if all we did was tell our spouse, everything we needed from them? How would our marriage look? You know, how many times do we or let’s say you, as worship leaders, ask what your tech team needs?

Josiah Way 35:45 You know,

Josiah Way 35:46 I mean, are they struggling with things in life? Is there a reason why they have a bad attitude?

Josiah Way 35:51 Are there things that have we taken the time to get to know them? And not just develop their skills, but find out who they are in their heart? And have we developed that in that relationship? And, you know, yeah, we’re in our worship rehearsal. And our job is to practice and therefore we’re telling them, I want this, I want this, I want this. But again, I come back to what if that’s how somebody treated you in normal life? Yeah,

Alex Enfiedjian 36:20 that’s so good. just care about people. Take them out to coffee, don’t always ask what you can get from them, ask what you can give to them. Those are really good thoughts. Do you guys have like a meeting, like your Saddleback campus where your tech team and your worship team or at least the worship leader, like put their heads together before service or anything like that?

Josiah Way 36:40 Absolutely. Everybody is in and this is one of our key values is one team, of course. But it’s a different one team, because it literally is everybody there. It’s not worship leader steps upside with, you know, me, as tech director, it’s everybody there. And making sure the needs are met. You know, we do something that’s fun. That’s called a call out where we’ll just anything that might have happened with somebody, we call them out and say, I love how you did this today. And I love how you did this last week where you did this, I that stuck with me. And that’s how we show that we’re invested in them. Right? If I can, you know, go to you and say, I remember how you did x, that means I was paying attention to you, you know, and that’s how we really then develop that. So we do that during our pre message or our pre service meeting. And we take the time to pray to go through the rehearse, you know what’s going to happen, any notes we might need to know. But also, it’s funny, because they’re very light. And the sense that we also trust, everybody knows what they’re doing. Right? There’s never a sense of you’re going to get this right. Remember, we’re going to transition to this, and then you’re going to get this. We got this we’re good. We good. You know. And so I think that’s where the key is, is that we know that we are volunteers know that we value them and trust them. And so we get the best from them. That’s awesome.

Alex Enfiedjian 38:09 Yeah. Is there anything that you feel like we haven’t touched on in terms of production, or the theology or philosophy production that you’d like to wrap things with?

Josiah Way 38:20 It’s funny, because I always come back to you know why I did this, you know, and it’s weird, because who would ever say let’s, you know, get a PhD in church production, and the theology of it. And I just keep thinking about the people who I have a heart for when I first came into ministry. And I came from the secular world, and I’m thrown in then, after being saved, actually, at that point for a very short amount of time. And I had my team come up to me and asked me to explain the message. And I’m like, well, you looking me for, there’s a pastor up there who knows this stuff, right? And I can then start to see their heart and how they were just so underserved, and you start to find this negativity that’s defined. And the thing is, that’s the image people have. But, you know, it’s also it seems to actually be true. And there’s so much hurt and anger, you know, being the overworked, underpaid, blah, blah, blah, right? And so, I just sit there, and I think, how can we take people who have a genuine heart and a genuine skill and invest in them. And so if, as a worship leader, I mean, my plea is to not see your tech as just one either a really expensive line item, or, you know, just those Planning Center things you got to fill and I know that’s probably pretty easy to do with certain positions like the guy who’s gonna hit the spacebar on pro presenter, or you know, the guy who’s just gonna hit the cue light You know, after you’ve already got it programmed because we do the same service flow every week. So we don’t really need to change it. Maybe it’s easy to just see those as, you know, little green checkmarks on Planning Center. And maybe we need to step back and realize these are people who have their own lives and their own challenges in life who might be hurting and going through things. And they’re just want to be there to serve, and how can we invest in them? And that’s really why I did this is to create a voice, you know, beyond just, it started as a journey to actually say, Well, what does the Bible really say about church production? And it turned into, you know, me connecting with a demographic of people who are, maybe they the images there of who they are, because they’re underserved, and under invested in. And, you know, I do still do believe that tech directors and our tech volunteers have a duty themselves. But, you know, we know that the worship team and the worship pastor or worship leader, are typically the leaders over all those ministries. And so if we can understand that, you know, we have a people that need to be invested in. And just as much as you know, the guitar guy who might be my best friend, you know, that we can get more out of them. And in their souls that need us as well.

Alex Enfiedjian 41:29 Yeah, it all comes back to the one another’s like you talked about. I did have one, one final question that popped To my mind, which is like, let’s say there’s a church listening, that’s like, I don’t know, 150 people, they have a building, or they don’t, I don’t know. But they’re like, we just have a soundboard. And we want to grow in our technology. We want to grow in our ability to paint the beauty of the gospel in compelling ways through technology. But we don’t even know where to start. And I don’t know, how would you counsel a church like that? That’s listening?

Josiah Way 42:04 You know, and that’s common, right? I mean, this, the average sized church in the United States is about 80 people or something like that. Right, right. I mean, so that’s probably more common than not, you know, I’d say the best way to start is to find your person, right, find the leader that you’re going to call your tech director, your tech leader, whatever it is, at 100. person, church, I mean, sorry, tech, people who are listening, you probably shouldn’t pay that person. All right. But maybe they should be somebody who, who you can invest in and bring up a little different. I mean, if you’re a satellite church, have a big church or whatever. And, you know, there’s a different level expected. But if you are just this, you know, small church in some town, you know, find them and then invest in them, get them the training they need, send them somewhere, I mean, I would rather you send them to, you know, a church tech conference, you know, for $1,000, to show that you’re invested in them, and you want them to get the skills needed, then to spend $1,000, on a couple of lights. Because if you can develop them as a person, and let them know that, hey, this is your ministry, we want to get here, what can you do to do it, now they’re going to find the ways to do it. And there are a lot of great resources out there. But if you don’t get that one person to get into that world, you’re never going to get it right, you’re going to be dealing with the integrators who just want to rip you off for this and that and, you know, and you’re never gonna actually end up with the product you want. And vice versa. Let’s say you had the money, because someone nice wants to donate and give you a nice setup. You still need the team to run it. You know, so you I always say you start with the one guy, develop them, and then let him then develop his team. Wow,

Alex Enfiedjian 44:01 that’s so good. That’s so good. Joe. Joe. So you wrote this book, it’s on my desk. It’s called producing worship, a theology of church, technical arts, by Dr. Just a way, and where can people buy it? And I know you have a podcast too, if you want to share that as well to share where people can keep up with you online?

Josiah Way 44:21 Absolutely. Yes. So it’s producing worship, it is the as a redacted version of my dissertation. In other words, it’s rewritten for, you know, I say normal speak. So you’ll make it to third chapter but for you fall asleep much of the first chapter.

Alex Enfiedjian 44:34 Now, it is an academic II type book, correct? Yes.

Josiah Way 44:38 It’s in it’s along the lines of a book that would be by Carson or vanhoozer, or something along those lines. Absolutely. So it’s not light reading, but it’s great reading. And you can find it on Amazon. So yeah, so just search, producing worship on Amazon. It’s available both in paperback and Kindle. We’ve actually had a number of churches who’ve just bought it for their entire, you know, tech team Sandy You got to know that because again, you’re going to know the purpose behind it if your tech team is, is knows why I do this, and my actual role, you’re going to have a whole different type of volunteer. And so yes, I also do have a podcast, which is higher ed AV podcast. So actually, my normal nine to five is I do oversee all the technology at California Baptist University as a director of multimedia services. And so I do run a podcast that talks to other tech managers throughout higher education. And so you can also find me on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram at at Josiah way. So it’s the same one on everything. And you can find me there

Alex Enfiedjian 45:40 lucky. Awesome. Joe, thank you so much for the wisdom and the time, and I’ll link everything you just shared in the show notes. So thanks for the time today. Awesome. Thanks for having me on. All right. That’s all we have time for today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If so, please forward it on to a friend and a subscribe rate and review us in Apple podcasts. We would love that it helps us get in front of more people. Also be sure to check out Planning Center at planning dot center. It’s an incredible product and you will not regret spending the money on the service. God bless you guys and I will see you next month for another helpful episode.