A STAGE STORY

When I first started leading worship on a consistent basis, I wanted GIGS.

I led almost every week at my church, but for some reason, I was obsessed with going out and playing at other places. (I would discover soon enough that playing gigs as an independent worship singer/songwriter who didn't sell records or have fans meant a lot of carrying heavy gear and playing to empty pews. Anyhooo...)

At the time, I called our band, WaterWheel. It was a stupid name, but I was pretty adamant that's who we were gonna' be. My wife was constantly making fun of me because with every single gig we got, I would - at some point - say, "You don't understand, this is the first real gig for WaterWheel." She would always remind me of the dozen or so gigs we played that year, but I wasn't hearing it. The NEXT GIG was gonna' be the big one.

I had a friend at a local church who was hosting a monthly Sunday night youth concert/worship service. He rotate between a big name artist one month and then somebody local the next. He called me, offered me money and said the night was going to be huge.

I got the band to commit and we started rehearsing. But I knew I had one more thing to shore up before playing at the church and it all had to do with PROJECTION. Because I knew the church, I was aware of its terrible reputation when it came to projection. The tech team at this church was famous for garish, gaudy and many times accidentally sacrilegious slides. I called my friend, the youth pastor, and made him promise me that we would have the simplest slide design possible: black background, white letters.

The church didn't have actual projection screens. Because they were a portable service, they used giant widescreen TVs hoisted on hydraulic lifts to present the song lyrics. For a confidence monitor, a third TV was hoisted at the back of the gym where the service was held.

Like almost all my gigs, there weren't many people there. I was disappointed, but kicked off the first song anyway. To my surprise, the screens were black with white letters! The projection guy had done exactly what I had requested. I knew our band was good and the sound engineer knew what he was doing, so now that the slides were right, I was pretty pleased.

But I had forgotten one small detail. It was a passing conversation while we were setting up. I had been so busy that I had answered a random question from off stage without even asking why. Apparently, while we were getting ready, the projection guy had asked me the name of the band. So I told him.

I didn't remember any of this, of course, until song #2.

That's when, on the bottom right of all the screens, an animated GIF of the Pink Panther popped up. And not just the Pink Panther, mind you. A Pink Panther playing a saxophone

And you know what it said under the Pink Panther?

Here at this supposedly huge gig with a giant sound system and a good engineer and a youth pastor willing to pay me to play my songs...do you know what the screen said in ridiculous PowerPoint "WordArt" shading?

Watterwheel.

That night, I learned a lesson. Not about rehearsing, or paying attention or being a stickler for details.

That night, I learned you CAN lead worship while furious. Though, I don't recommend it.