Our church had the privilege of hosting the Refresher Women's conference last January 19, and it was an awesome event! Hundreds of ladies came pouring in and was thirsty for a refreshing time from the Lord.
Hold it a minute... Im here to talk about the music, not exactly the conference! I was working my head off! It wasn't particularly a refreshing time for me. I was exhausted.
My few consolation was 50+ ladies accepted the invitation of our speaker to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now, I am not sure whether they got saved because of a one-time prayer, as what happens in most of our church's large group gatherings, but I choose to praise the Lord in what He has done by using us to spread the Word of God and the Gospel! My other consolation is that our church had the opportunity to play with professional musicians, which resulted in a top-of-the-line musical experience for our attenders. Again, I will not be the judge if they really worshiped the Lord. I could only lead them into worship.
Okay, here's the sad part, I have to say this in fairness to being fair and giving a non-bias opinion. The topics were great and the speakers were very equipped and qualified to represent their topics but, the place or venue played an important factor in NOT being conducive to a conference. It was TOO dark, the stage was too high, and the seating was designed for short concerts and theatrical plays. Parking was a bad factor and also, during lunch, a place for ladies to eat was a sad nowhere. I admit, I didn't foresee that. It was a first for us, so now we know better.
Sound-wise, the original plan was to use only a pair of 100watt speakers to do all the load of a minimum of 5 instrument mic line-ins, eight vocal mics, and a CD-computer aux line, and two monitoring speaker systems (the stage was awfully big). Those speakers cannot take that load. Believe me. And to think we planned a big-time banner song with a majestic ending! A production like that required our major sound system... which is exactly what the praise team foresaw, and did.
Lastly, I really did this out of love and service to God and our church. And I had the privilege of being invited to lead worship, lead the band for rehearsals, and study a couple of songs with them. What happened is, that I was the sound man, technician, set up/tear down crew member, production staff member, driver (using my car, and our doctor's car), carpenter, speaker and amplifier lifter/transporter, band manager, and errand boy...by the way, I was the choir pianist, choir director and choral conductor too, aside from being the worship leader and guitarist! I admit, I love serving the Lord, and I CAN do it again, but I also know my limitations. And I don't have to do it all. Believe me I tried the principle of delegation. But as the they always say: " If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself."
Our church has a lot of possible volunteers, but they were assigned to different ministries too. Their plates were equally full. Now, as I have prayed and tried, God has given me only a handful of people I can trust to do the job as I want to. At least I know these young men will be closely monitored and trained. Someday, they'll do a better job than what God has given me the ability to perform.
Here's the bottom line: We must prepare funds to hire a sound system next time. With a high-expectation in the music production, the same band could be used next year. But by that time Im sure our local church musicians could do a similar job.
Our church will be planning a big Christmas production this year. Im excited about that! And I'll be working hard for it. But with a "too-close" big production again like Refresher Part 2 by 3rd week of January, I say I cannot take that load anymore. I have to admit, I need to hire people to do those other stuff for me. I got sick and God doesn't want His children to be abusing their bodies. Russel my right hand guy, coughed out blood because of the extreme load and lack of rest and nutrition.
Overall, it was awesome. Hard, but awesome. It was all worth it when ladies got saved! However, we can be better stewards of our time, our resources, and our talents by setting realistic goals, or with great vision, requires greater FUNDING... not just sacrifice.