Church Gear Swiping

Jimi Williams —  October 9, 2013

Church Gear Swiping

Dear church music gear swiper,

This is a plea. I am calling on your sense of kindness and compassion. Please stop swiping gear from different worship venues without letting someone know or bringing the item back once you are done.

When I was rehearsing for worship last Wednesday night I realized that the monitors weren’t working, so I went to the soundboard to investigate. I noticed you had swiped 2 cables that connected the soundboard to the monitor sends on the snake.

I corralled one of the students who helps out with sound and blamed him for the swipe. He assured me that it was you and he went and swiped the 2 cables back that I needed from where you left them!

It seems like every time I lead worship, someone is scrambling around to find a music stand, guitar stand, mic cable, or a hundred other items. I’m beginning to think that you are a modern-day church “Robin Hood” who is stealing from the ministries who have gear and giving the stuff to the ministries who don’t.

About a year ago, you were swiping my music stand every week. I would find it in your Sunday School class and swipe it back, only to find it missing again the next week. I even put a “Do Not Remove” sticker on it, but you disregarded it.

Last Christmas, the church bought about 12 poinsettias to set along the front of the stage. By the time Christmas rolled around, we were down to about 6. Every week we would lose a couple of them. “Why? Why? Why?”. If you needed a poinsettia, I would have bought you one!

I’ve been assured from season worship pastors that there is someone like you in every church, finding interesting things and moving them to places where no one can find them. Please stop before all my volunteers quit or the church has to buy a gun vault to lock up everything between services! :)

Jimi Williams

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Jimi is VP of Worship Resources for Capitol CMG Publishing, overseeing all Worship Together initiatives and resources. He also leads worship at his home church and at various events and conferences.

17 responses to Church Gear Swiping

  1. Dear Church Musicians
    I love you, but I just wanted to clear something up.
    I bought that music stand for the Sunday School Class. You’re more than welcome to borrow it during the worship service.
    I will know where to find it, so don’t put your back out carrying it back for me when you’re done with it. Just one small request is that you would not put “Do not remove” stickers on it, it confuses everyone.

    In love,
    “Church music gear swiper”

  2. Some comments seem to indicate that expecting responsible use is incongruent with compassion. The church is about teaching people how to love people. Teaching people to put back something they “borrowed” is not a lack of compassion, but helping them grow and be responsible members of the body of Christ. Actually, I would say that letting them not be responsible is a lack of love. I teach my children responsibility because I love them. Of course the manner that we teach and treat this issue is the really deciding factor whether we are doing it in love or not. My principle is that I treat other people’s thing (including the church’s) with more respect than I treat my own things.

  3. And please Church Gear Swiper, stop swiping music. You can borrow it for a week sure, but once your finished put it back in the folder. The decent copies of ‘Blessed be your name” have vanished along with ALL the copies of ‘One Way’

  4. Great to know that other churches have these problems to and how to set an example that the people is center.

  5. When I find something missing I track it down and ask if they need it (1/4″ cable, music stand, microphone, etc.) with any regularity. If the answer is “yes” I make it a gift; and then buy 2 more. Truly, this doesn’t break the budget but keeps everyone happy. I’m not sure why you would “steal” it back and forth each week. I believe this would only create more animosity between the ministries. As director of worship and tech my answer is always “yes”. People don’t take advantage of me and it sets an example to all ministries. It also sets an example to my musicians and technicians.

  6. it’s like we are some kind of leaders in an organization run by humans

  7. Important to keep things in perspective and not become too self important. Here is a great opportunity for love, compassion, discipleship and is a teachable moment. Remember what is important is the PEOPLE, not the show. Sure it’s annoying to deal with these things, but blowing someone up over a few cables undermines the reason we worship and serve the Lord in the first place.

  8. I can relate big time hahaha. There were many times the cables for the keyboards I use would be swapped before or would go missing. Even the sustain pedals from our Nord keyboards! Just plain crazy. Found out the guy who “used” it was looking for a sustain pedal to use on a Yamaha, This made me laugh :))) not bitter anymore. Comforting to see there are just ppol like them haha

  9. I could only imagine this being written “tongue-in-cheek.” We experience this problem weekly, and it can be a frustrating thing to deal with. Regardless, I sure hope this isn’t what worship leaders/pastors lose sleep over. Our ministry is about lost souls and not lost cables. :-)

  10. You’re spot on! I’ve been leading worship for 6 years now, and at my church, its always 1/4″ instrument cables that go missing, and its usually the up-and-comers, aka, students! Gotta lov’em, though, b/c those chicken have come home to roost in the form of some pretty good young musicians.
    Great blog!

  11. the other side of this coin is having to put away bits and pieces that have been left out by the group who also use our space. Each week there are guitar stands, various types of leads, power cords…..

  12. Did you ever consider that if it only happens to you they may be trying to tell you something? Perhaps they dont’ like your style, personality, maybe they think you should be perfect, like most people think of Christians. It could be 100 different reasons, but the most important lesson you could learn is to pray for them. Remember Jesus said to pray for those who use you and persecute you. Let God deal with them as He knows how to do it better!

  13. Did you ever consider that if it only happens to you they may be trying to tell you something? Perhaps they dont’ like your style, personality, maybe they think you should be perfect, like most people think of Christians. It could be 100 different reasons, but the most important lesson you could learn is to pray for them. Remember Jesus said to pray for those who use you and persecute you. Let God deal with them as He knows how to do it better!

  14. MandoRon, it’s the cable gremlins. They come out in the night and eat them up. You’ve got to set traps for them.

  15. My church suffers from acute XLR cable loss. No idea where they go. I just know we are constantly buying more.