Welcome to my 500th post! It sure seems like a lot of posts when I look back over the past year and a half. In reality, I suppose it’s not a huge amount, but still – it’s a milestone. Most people would have given up on this sort of thing long before the 500-post mark. I’m surprised I didn’t. I guess I haven’t been as consistent in my posts; I used to write at least one a day. But I guess I also didn’t have much of a life, and now I do. Maybe that’s it. Or maybe I’m just lazier. Who knows? All I can say is that I don’t plan on giving up on this blog anytime soon. Things are just starting to get good. After all, university is just on the horizon for me, and with every major change comes great journal entries. Right now, things are just on the borderline of monotonous, but soon things will be shaken up like a blender in a tornado. Or a milkshake.
This weekend was pretty interesting, I suppose. I had a lot of fun, though I wasn’t sure whether I would or not. It was a pleasant surprise, then, when I did. On Friday, I worked, so that wasn’t too exciting. It wasn’t too busy, though, so that was fine. On Saturday afternoon, I headed down to the church for about 4:30 PM to head up to Kitchener for some paintball action with my youth group. It’s great having a youth pastor again. He seems to be fitting in just fine, and the leadership is a welcome change of pace. I mean, it’s not like Kim and Scott weren’t doing a good job of things, but that was simply their volunteer position. It’s different with an actual youth pastor. He’s paid to make youth great. But anyways, we headed up to a place called the Paintball Arena and played for about two hours. It was pretty fun. There were buildings and fake wooden bushes set up, with plenty of places to hide behind. It was very hot in there, though. The place wasn’t air conditioned, and when you’re running around in a muggy place with a jacket on, the sweat starts pouring out like a waterfall. My shirt was soaked afterward, so it was a good thing that I brought a change of clothes with me.
Overall, the paintball thing was pretty fun. I’ve never played before, but now I can say that I have. I might just have to do it again sometimes. The place we went to, though, wasn’t exactly the greatest. I’d rather do it outside somewhere, and with better quality equipment. The guns were alright, I guess, but the pressure was turned way down on them, so that the paintballs basically lobbed up in the air. It was hard to hit people. And even when you did, the paintballs themselves weren’t that great, and most of them never even exploded. I got hit in the back of the head on the first game, but I felt it with my hand and there was definitely no paint there. But oh well. It was still a lot of fun. Afterwards, we went out to Boston Pizza and watched the Oilers win on the TV there. Good stuff. The only downside to the day might possibly be that I hit a raccoon on the way back to the church. I didn’t kill it, though, because when driving back that way, it was gone. It was a massive one, though, and I had no chance of stopping or avoiding it, because it ran out right in front of my car – basically ran right for the left front wheel at the last second. I saw it a split-second before hitting it, and slammed on the brakes, but, well, it didn’t work. Thump. But oh well. There’s not much I can do about it now, right? These things happen.
Sunday was definitely interesting. There have been a lot of changes going on within our church, and many of those changes have been in regard to the worship team and soundmen involved. To be honest, I’m not sure that I like where my church is going right now in those aspects. Let me explain more fully, though, first. Sunday morning was a little hectic. I arrived to the church at about 8:45 AM, and then had to wait for a little while for the mens’ quartet to finish practicing. Then, it was Marleen on keyboard, Geoff on guitar, John-Mark on drums, Kim as a backup vocal, and myself on bass. In other words, three fifths of the Raddatz family, plus Kim and me. Pastor Jim has just recently appointed his wife to be the director of music – basically, just organizing the worship team each week and such. But while that is his prerogative, the fact is that they are still quite new to the church. It’s sometimes frustrating when Marleen will introduce at least two or three new songs each week. It’s hard for the congregation to worship when they first have to learn the song.
I’m not saying that I don’t like how Marleen leads worship. She can be a little erratic at times, but all worship leaders have that at times, and no one is perfect, either. The problem that I have with the worship team right now is that so many changes are going on with it all at once that there is no consistency. If Marleen isn’t leading worship, the only alternative we have is for the Shepherd family to lead instead – and they’re fairly new to our church as well. While their selection of music is at least somewhat closer to what the congregation is used to, the fact is that the people out in the pews have been thrown around from leader to leader recently. Before the Shepherd family and the Raddatz family came, we had Joey – a very talented guitar and piano player, but one that we had to ship in from somewhere else and pay to lead worship. That was to replace Pastor Lyndon when he left, because he generally led worship when he was at our church. It’s been hectic ever since, because there’s a degree of uncertainty. From week to week, I really don’t know who’s leading worship, nor if there are new songs coming up. I suppose some of that will settle down as Marleen gets things organized. She has said that she and the Shepherds are going to switch back and forth, and as the songs become familiar, the “new song” thing will calm down a bit.
Anyways, for the Sunday morning service, we had about half an hour to practice. They had a practice the night before, but I wasn’t there because of paintball. I don’t think they really knew what they were doing either, though. We had only four songs to go through, and yet we were still rushed. In spite of that, however, I think it turned out not too badly. It was alright, anyway, musically speaking. Flash-forward to Sunday night, though, and things went a little haywire for a while. I arrived at around 4:00 PM, because the youth were leading worship for the main service that night. Jordan ended up not being able to come, and Julie never showed up either. So, it was Geoff on electric guitar, Kyle on drums, John-Marc singing, and me on acoustic guitar. John-Marc got all the levels set up on the sound board, and everything sounded great. We got songs together, and things were going wonderfully. Then the sound guy showed up. Kim arrived and decided to help out with singing, which was greatly appreciated, but because of that, the sound guy decided to go and change all the settings. Suddenly, Kyle lost everything in his monitor. Then people couldn’t hear themselves anymore, etc. etc. Kyle got pretty ticked off about it, because everything was set up fine, and then he went and changed it all.
Then we went to pray. We headed off to the library, with the majority of the worship team fuming about the whole thing, and once in the library, there were some choice words shared. I sat there and took it all in, just holding my tongue. The pastor walked into the room, and I think he could smell the attitude from about thirty feet away. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that it’s sure hard to pray with a bad attitude. But I wasn’t really fuming that much. I still had been able to hear my guitar, so I didn’t have a problem. I offered up a silent prayer of my own, just asking to help us get it all together and just go with it. Like it or not, we still had to go up on that stage and play, and I’d much rather have people on stage who are truly worshipping so that the congregation can do the same, than have a bunch of angry people up there. Anyways, we walked up on stage and started playing, and the attitude fell off like scales. It sounded great, and other than the fact that I forgot to turn on my guitar until halfway through the first song, things went wonderfully. The moral of the story is that bad attitudes don’t do anything but make things worse.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the problem shouldn’t be corrected. The drama has been going on for months with the whole sound issue. John-Marc is an excellent soundman. When he is back there, things sound wonderful. The only problem is that he changes settings in order to make it that way. The guy in charge of sound at our church, however, is not really open to suggestions. John-Marc has been told – indirectly, of course, as these things often are – that he is not supposed to be touching the sound board, since he is not properly trained to do so. People have been working on approaching the proper people about the situation, but as for now, basically, he does sound for us at youth, and then has to go and change things back to the way they were so that he doesn’t get in trouble for it. The whole situation is ridiculous. Yes, there does need to be someone in charge of sound. That’s important, to keep things organized. However, the guy that is currently in charge of sound has a specific way that he does things, and he doesn’t allow anyone to change that – even if it makes it sound better. The way I see it, does it really make a difference whether something is set one way as opposed to another way if it sounds better? Isn’t making things sound as good as they can the purpose of having a sound man? Hopefully, someone will see the sense in having John-Marc at least “properly trained” so that he can do sound for us, either at least for youth, or for the main service as well. Things just sound so much better when he’s back there.
Anyways, with that said, I understand that I’m simply just a third party in this whole thing. The powers that be have decided on certain things in regard to both the worship team and the sound team, and all I can do is hope that things change. It really is quite counter-productive when people are not satisfied with the way things are going – especially when they’re part of the worship team, and their dissatisfaction is with the worship team. The best thing I can do right now is just to be willing to play my bass or my guitar, and then do so as best as I can so that things sound as good as they can. As for anyone else, there is nothing I can do about them. I can’t make people sound better, or be better musicians, or have better attitudes, or even hope to convince them to change their attitudes. Ultimately, the fact is that I’m leaving for Waterloo at the end of the summer, and I’m going to be finding a church up there anyways. I’ll endure this for the summer months, and hope things change – and if they don’t, well, then perhaps it’s best that the people that don’t like the way things are should be leaving anyways. Then, someone content with how things are can do things their way, and I can hopefully find a church that I fit into and can use my gifts to help them.
But that’s it for today. I’m going over to John-Marc’s house with some other people to watch the hockey game. I can’t say that I’m really all that adamant about one team winning over the other. I’ve basically chosen the Oilers just because they’re Canadian, but I don’t have any real strong desire to see them win. Once the Leafs are out of the playoffs, I really don’t care much anymore. I just want to see who wins, and hope that it’s a good game. So with that said, I’m done for today. Have a good one.