The sound system went out during church on Sunday.

It was not a good scene.

As volunteers read scripture and members made announcements, hardly a word could be deciphered. I watched as the congregation, especially the older folks, grew increasingly uneasy. This is not how anyone wanted things to be going.

After a few minutes, the HPIC (Head Preacher In Charge) took the pulpit and he loudly spoke the words,

“As you might have noticed, we are having difficulties with our audio system. This is what is going to happen: The choir is going to continue to sing as loud as they always do, the preachers will speak louder than we usually do, and the congregations’ job is to listen as loudly as you ever have.”

I appreciate his style- clear and concise direction. He helped me to understand my role in the situation. It was not necessary for me to get frustrated, add drama to the situation, or blame the sound guy. My job was to do a better job of listening. Everyone was to take ownership of their role and perform it to the best of their ability. End of story.

As the second preacher took the pulpit to deliver the Sunday sermon, he took a moment, casually glanced through the congregation and then looked pleasantly upon the balcony where the sound engineer was in the middle of a nervous breakdown. The preacher smiled and said, “We, as a congregation, are so fortunate to have so many talented members who are so willing to give of their time. And while the sound is not working at the moment, it causes me to appreciate, even more, all of the Sundays that we do have a sound engineer to help deliver our message with such clarity.”

The preacher then went on to say,

“I think now would be a good time to recognize our sound engineer for all of the good work that he does for us and the church.”

The congregation immediately gave an ovation.

I don’t remember what the sermon was about. I can’t tell you what biblical lesson I was supposed to have absorbed during my one-hour at church on Sunday. What I saw was leadership and grace. I saw a man in trouble and people becoming frustrated with him and his inability to provide what they wanted. I saw another individual, the HPIC, stand up and make clear that we would move forward in a direction that involved the calling of some slight audibles but that in no way allowed a window of opportunity to place blame on any one member. I saw the second preacher look at the “problem” and find an opportunity to praise a man for the work that he performs so well, 99.5% of the time.

Leadership and grace.

Those are two very admirable qualities to watch in real-time.

**On a side-note, I believe that in most situations, my role is to listen more loudly and allow more grace.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,