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The Grace of Adele’s Grammy Performance

If you’ve served in any technical ministry at a church very long at all, you’ve experienced it. A projector bulb goes out in the middle of service. A wireless mic or headset that worked perfectly before service begins emitting static that overwhelms the pastor’s voice. You accidentally display the words to the second verse rather than repeating the chorus. And with each misstep, heads turn around to face you in the sound booth, making you want to crawl under the table and hide. 

With volunteers operating the audio visual component of worship services at the average church, things are bound to bumpy from time to time. In these moments, it’s easy to judge those running A/V, wondering why they weren’t better prepared (trust me, I’ve done it many times). It’s also easy if you’re the one running A/V to be uber-critical of yourself and/or your team when things go awry (trust me, I’ve done that many times too).

But as we saw at the Grammys on Sunday evening, technical problems happen to even the most experienced professionals. Adele’s much anticipated performance at the awards show was filled with sound issues including a microphone that cut out and and an off-tune strumming sound in the background. Afterward, Adele tweeted that the source of the sound issues were  piano mics that fell on the piano strings, creating a less than desirable performance. 

The lesson here isn’t that things can go wrong with you’re working with sound and visuals. The lesson is in the reaction of those involved. First, Adele’s pianist continued to play through the song, even though the music he was producing wasn’t what he had practiced. Second, the sound engineers worked to resolve the sound issue throughout the performance. And lastly, Adele powered through the vocals doing her best to salvage the performance. At the end of the night, she made the best of the situation, tweeting “I’m treating myself to an in n out. So maybe it was worth it.” What a positive response to a situation that was, of course, embarrassing! The missteps of the performance wasn’t the end of the world for Adele. She maintained a positive outlook and had the grace to admit that it was just one performance that was less than perfect. But Adele also knows that she has many more perfect performances to look forward to, so why focus on the one that went wrong? 

The next time you have a Sunday service when everything seems to go wrong, be encouraged and give yourself grace. Remember, first and foremost, you are there to worship God. Also remember there are always more Sundays for things to go right. In fact, they probably outnumber the Sundays where something goes wrong. Enjoy what you do and move forward, no matter the results. 

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