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A Handshake Goes a Long Way

© November 26th, 2013


HandshakeWe did a lot as kids that we seem to forget once we grow up. Some of us stop speaking our mind and expressing emotions, burying who we are and what we feel. For others, we stop thinking of ourselves in a positive light and start worrying more about what others think, instead of being proud of who we are and what we do. And most of us stop taking time out of our day to have fun and relax (recess anyone?). These are just some of the attitudes and actions we had as kids that we'd be better off holding onto as adults.

Six months ago my 7-year-old son started Taekwondo and my 4-year-old daughter started ballet. Every time I go to one of their practices, I watch proudly as they learn their chosen craft and reminisce back to my days in youth athletics. I was pretty active, playing basketball, baseball, soccer and even golf; often times enrolled in two or three different activities at once. I loved the learning, growing and fun that sports brought.

This month, I had the opportunity to teach a number of classes at the Christian Musician Summit conference here in the Northwest. At the end of a long day preparing for these classes, I found myself sitting at my son's Taekwondo practice thinking back to my younger days and all of the things I learned when I was involved in youth sports. Somewhere between my reminiscing and my son's front kick-roundhouse kick combinations, I thought back to something we used to do after every baseball game: intentionally congratulating and encouraging our teammates and opponents after the game. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn't just something we did in team sports like baseball and basketball, but also in individual sports like tennis and golf. Showing honor and good sportsmanship, shaking the hand of your teammates and opponents was something we did as sign of respect to our fellow competitors.

Get an Email QuoteWhen I teach on handling conflict between the stage and the booth, I spend a significant amount of time imploring both musicians/singers and their technical counterparts to make a concerted effort to compliment and thank one another. Without musicians and singers, techs would have little to do. And without techs, singers and musicians would have little ability to engage crowds of people. Yet, so often both groups live and operate in isolation from one another, creating a gap functionally and relationally. It's the root cause of so much of the tension between the booth and the stage, and it's bad sportsmanship.

I can't help but wonder how much better our results would be if we required our worship and tech teams to shake hands and encourage each other after every week's service like we used to do after every sporting event. It's not always easy, and yes, sometimes you may not feel like it, but it's hard to be frustrated with those who have served across the congregation from you as you're giving them honor and respect for serving their church faithfully. It's easier to appreciate and give them the benefit of the doubt when you have a weekly reminder that we can't play the game without one another. And it's certainly hard to feel really down about the mistakes you've made when people are thanking and encouraging you.

This weekend, once the services are over and before you start packing things up, go high-five a drummer, give your guitarist some words of appreciation and perhaps really stretch yourself and give a vocalist a hug. If you're on the music side of things, find your tech people and give them a big, awkward hug and some encouragement. It's going to take some time for this to become comfortable, but it's time we end the great divide and begin a new movement. Personally, I think we'll be freer to worship and our congregational worship will certainly improve too. And God? I imagine God will look down on His kids who love Him and each other and be an incredibly proud Daddy.

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Duke DeJong
Church Relations Director
CCI Solutions


Duke has over 14 years of experience as a technical artist, trainer and collaborator for ministries. Duke travels around the country for CCI Solutions and is available to help your ministry. Join Duke on Facebook at