Technology and Troubled Times

Host David Schultz welcomes broadcast engineer Glenn Wheeler to discuss how churches and Christian broadcasters have been forced to adapt to the way God’s word gets to the hungry masses during a pandemic. From streaming Sunday services to ZOOM Bible studies, the Good News finds its way to waiting ears.


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Ministries. Welcome to engaging truth, the manifestation of God's word and the lives of people around us. Join us each week. As we explore the impact of his message of spiritual renewal from the lesson of forgiveness forges in the crucible of divorce, to the message of salvation by an executioner, from a condemned killer to the gift of freedom found in the rescue of victims of human trafficking. This is God's truth in action.

Welcome to engaging truth. This is Dave Schuler host for this evenings program, and I've got someone sitting with me that we have never entered interviewed before he always sits behind the scene, making sure that every program is perfect, making sure that the sound is right and the side is right and the microphones are fixed up and the computer is ready. Um, but very seldom. Do we ever say Glen Wheeler, would you sit down for just a moment then we can talk to you. Welcome to the mic. Thank you. Glad to be here. Uh, you've done some work with us for a long, long time. Uh, probably as many as five or six years anyway. And, um, we've depended upon you an awful lot to make sure that the programming that we put together or that we articulate here is put together by you and sent to where it needs to go. So I wanna say first of all, without saying that, without asking that question, tell me a little bit about your family. Um,

Well, I'm married to a recently retired, um, choir director, uh, in SIFA she's, uh, also she doubles as a wire director at a, a really at a, in a lovely congregation in SIFA as well. And, um, I've got a college age son who's, uh, third year of school at U of H. And, um, we live in lower Tomball. I like to, I like to call it, but, um, we've been married 27 years. And what

In the world got you started in media?

Audio is, is, is, um, part of our family history. My granddad was, uh, one of the first engineers in Houston. He was, uh, built KRC, uh, radio. He traveled around with governor hobby for years and parts, you know, all over the country. And, um, and then, you know, worked on the, the move from radio to television. My uncle had a small recording company and, and then in the seventies built a, a photographic company called national photographic laboratories where they did, um, large, um, picture production, but they did video and film and sound editing. They had a, they had a recording studio in the building. They had a picture studio sound studio just much like anything you'd see in a Hollywood movie movie stage, they had it at NPL and that was some company my uncle owned with another gentleman. And, and so I've been exposed to audio and video since I was a, a very young kid and, and my dad was a circuit pastor in the Methodist church.

And I remember we, you know, groups would come, musical groups would come into town and, and every now and then we would have folks that would stay with us. And I remember having to give up my, my room to a drummer and a band. Oh, we've all you. And, um, I was just taken by the whole equipment thing. And, um, at a very young age, I was in the third grade putting in speakers and hooking up amplifiers. And I just knew that's what I wanted to do. And I, I, my first recording session was when I was in the eighth grade. It was an all night session with my junior high band director's C rock band. That was the first, my first recording session. I never quit loving it since.

So you've been at this for 20 plus years then? Yes.

At 32 now 32 years.

Um, give me something that helps us to understand the depth of, of, of anxiety that you experience in this kind of work, because we all experience anxieties. Tell me what it is that, that all of a sudden creates an anxiety that probably doesn't leave you as you go to sleep at night

. Is it all ready to go the next day? Um, especially on a, on a Sunday morning, you know, for, for worship or, um, you know, I, I fortunately, um, God's used me in, in lots of different, different professional experiences, some, some very, um, some, some big names and, and some not so big names. And, and so I've had a I've, I've had a lot of experience, which is, which is great, but the one thing that's still the same is, is I, I feel very passionately about making sure that I'm prepared for the job and that all of, all of the equipment is out and that it functions and that when, when the, you know, when the time comes that that it's, it's ready to go, and I strive to do the very best I can. Um, even when things are breaking down, um, I've done many a concert, but well, several concerts where half the PA goes in the middle of, of a song.

And you just, you know, I, um, mixed a concert one afternoon, very large artist. We lost the right side of our PA for one song. And then it, gentleman stands next to me and knocks, knocks into a power amp rack and magically the, the system comes back on and happened twice after that, you know, and still couldn't figure out why and those kind of things keep you up when you, you know, you, you think you're prepared and then the wheels come off the train and then, you know, and you, I, those are things that keep me up. I, I think in the other thing, you know, sometimes in, in this industry, it's, it's, um, you know, we don't have a, no one hires audio engineers, you know, very, there are not very many full-time jobs, so you're, you're, you're out there trying to make a living, uh, the best way you can with as many different clients and customers as you have, as you can, as you can work with.

And so sometimes that concern of, you know, will you have enough to survive or will you, will there be enough work is, is a, a big factor. Um, you know, in my case, I, I, I, I tell my son this all the time, so I'll say it here. I God's never let me down. When we first got married, we were, we were so broke. We couldn't pay attention. And, uh, I'm telling she was a professional opera singer. My wife is, has a, an amazing soprano voice. And when we first met and she was singing the opera and she was singing here and there, and I was attempting to, you know, to do what I could do, you know, working as an audio engineer, I, we were just broke and I mean, nothing. And I, I don't to this day, I don't know how we paid the rent. I, I know, well, I know that, you know, we hoped we'd have enough for this and that, and, you know, and, but God never let us down. And, and I just keep going with that. A

Theme verse that I used earlier today, and that I'll use again, is Philippians four 19. My God shall provide for all of my needs, according to the richness that he has in Christ Jesus. I quote that to my kids all the time, especially when one of them will say, Hey dad, you know, we're having a, a rough time, uh, or a grandchild, um, would say the same thing. You've talked a little bit about a low time. Tell me about a high time where you just, um, something happened in such a way that, uh, for you, it's something that you can never forget because it was such a glorious experience. Hmm

well, I wasn't expecting any kind of question about that. You know, it's funny, I've had a lot of really high, I've had a lot of different high times. Um, you know, I think if you are one of the pastors I worked for Dave McKenney was, um, this wonderful pastor. He's, he's not, he's, he's not here to locally any longer, but, um, uh, we celebrated his, uh, I wanna say his 25th year at, at grace Presbyterian church. And that was a, a, that was a pretty high time for me, um, because of, of, of, of everyone involved in that, in that celebration for Dave, not to mention, you know, we had the Canadian brass in and, and, you know, that was a fun time and things like that, but I, I I've had, you know, it's, it's, it's hard to, you know, I I've had a lot of great experiences. I've had some bad ones, a lot of great ones. And I think that that's hard, that's hard to, it's hard to come up with. That's a difficult question,

But that being said, something has come in the way of our work just within the last year. Yes. That's called a pandemic. Mm-hmm what in the world did you see when that thing first came around the corner, first of all, in your work and for you personally and what it might mean for the future?

Well, I tell you I saw panic, um, and I'll be, I'll be honest. Um, I think we, I guess we have to be on the radio, right. Uh, I panicked for a moment and then I reminded myself, well, you know, God's never let you down before, but I had, um, on March 7th I had, um, Gallad gallbladder surgery and, uh, I thought I was gonna die. Of course I'd never experienced anything like that. But, um, I got out of the hospital on 11th of March and, um, I watched as the world shut down and every gig that I had from March until September 1st, uh, evaporated within about 36 hours, every single one of them. And, um, just the phone just rang and rang and rang. , um, we're canceled, we're canceled. We're canceled. We're canceled. Oh, that was tough to take.


Oh yeah. Yeah. I, because

You had established all these as, as not only things to do, but income producing as well. Oh,

That's it. Every bit of it. And then on top of that, uh, I have a, I have a Sunday standing, you know, church, Sunday, job that stopped. Um, we weren't going to church anymore. I couldn't understand that. I got, you know, I still am not sure how I understand that, how, how you can go get drunk and go to, you know, to a strip club, but you can't go to worship, or I probably shouldn't have said that I might have been too much, sorry about that. The FCC will blow that out, but, but

The, but the big point is that you had to face this thing head on, oh, we all did,

What did you do? Well, so I prayed first. I, you know, I prayed and, you know, I, I asked God for some guidance and then it just so happened that, uh, a little church called me and said, can you help us make a video? We, we want to be able to communicate with our congregation. And I said, well, okay. Yeah, I can help you make a video. And then a second one called and said, we to make a worship service. We don't want our people not to see us in worship. We wanna film our entire worship service, which is huge. And so I was two churches. Um, so it was no more than about two weeks before my schedule filled right on, up with, with producing, you know, with producing online church services for, for different congregations, for two separate congregations. And, um, I, I started doing that and, and, you know, picking up any editing job, I can, I, some educational companies that needed some editing work.

me. I, and I didn't know, in:

Just take a moment to kind of look at what we do at Evangela like ministries. I'd like to share with you a little bit about Elm and the program, engaging truths. We are now recording for podcast distribution. We are a small group of Christ centered folks who believe in the power of communication. It's been for many of us on the board or step app, an eye opening experience to know that with the technology available today, program such as this can be disseminated electronically and distributed worldwide, almost instantaneously. And that's not gonna stop. That's where we are pausing for this moment to ask you to prayerfully, consider helping us distribute at what we're doing today. I tell you, in fact, I can tell you how right now you can go to our website, Elm to donate online, or you can send support to Elm PO box 5, 6, 8, Cypress, Texas, 77, 410.

Also, when you go to our website E LM,, you can access podcasts of past engaging truth programs, or use the contact tab to ask us a question, or even submit a prayer request. But remember, we need your prayer. We need your support because what we do here is volunteer work. And everything that you give us is for distribution. Let's go back a little bit to some important things that we have not discussed. You've seen in the last five months, uh, technology changing, and you're seeing it's gonna be different in the future than it was in the past, even now. Mm-hmm what do you see?

I see more churches, um, getting, I, I see more churches becoming present online, which, you know, lots of churches have had websites and, you know, can go see some programs or you can email a person, or you can, you can see some photographs, but now people are, are needing that communication and that connection. And I think that more people are moving to either an online streaming presence or, or just a, some type of communication from a pastor, you know, a video of communication every week. That's new that wasn't, you know, yeah, you, you had a few churches that were already doing that, but, but not as the chief form of communication. And now that seems to be one of the, the, the chief forms of communication, even with churches, beginning to reopen. I think that, that, that there's still go going to do that. And, um, I'm not sure that, well, I know that in some of the cases and folks that I've talked to in the last five months, several churches, well, weren't prepared to do that. They just, they weren't ready for that because that's not something that had ever been done.

I think most of our churches weren't ready for that. Um, I wasn't ready for that. Uh, I did not see just a few years ago, uh, even the, the social media thing, taking the, the, the, the, the step that it took in fact for the past 30 years com uh, I've been comfortable in doing this kind of work because it was done through a radio station or through pre-recording like we're doing today, but never did I see, uh, in my best efforts, this whole issue called, um, the, the, the social media today and the effect that it's having, what effect do you see the social media having on what you do and what we need to have done? Well,

I'll tell you in my case, it's, um, so it, it, it's kind of a two edge sword. In my case, it's made things much simpler to, to get material to, and from a person. Uh, but it's also made things more difficult in having to prep material so that it doesn't take up too much size, too much bandwidth. So it runs smooth so everybody can download it, or everyone can watch it, or you can have a thousand people watching it at one time. You know, those are all considerations. Now when we're producing things that, that were never in consideration before I can tell you, if you were making a D V D or a CD, you were just concerned that all the material would fit on the piece of plastic. And that was it. That was the chief concern that it would fit the, it would play.

And if you were cutting vinyl, that it wouldn't make the record jump. I mean, wouldn't, we make the needle jump, but now there's so many for formats and so many platforms that you have to keep up with. Um, and I, and I think, you know, that's just, I think that's just technology. You know, know when I started cutting records, we were cutting records on tape. They took me kicking and screaming from razor blade, editing to digital editing with a computer and a hard drive. I said, there'd be no way I'd ever cut a record on a hard drive. And now that's all I do. And so it technology's just moving forward and we either, we either move with it, or we don't, and that's, I think churches are, are in the same boat. They

Have to, one of the beautiful things that I hear from my brothers out there is that, you know, our church only sees a hundred people and we get 60 on a Sunday, but now we do, um, do the word and use the word over the television stationed locally. And now we're getting 10 times the amount of people hearing the message from here that have ever heard on a Sunday morning. Here's a special blessing, even for churches that are small.

Yeah, I, I think so. I, I was Sunday working and there was some complaining from the it person sitting next to me because the opposite was happening. They were opening church back up. And now the downline, the, so many people were coming back to church because they wanted to come back to church. Now, the, the online viewership was low and they were upset about that. And I, you know, and I said, look, you have people here, you have people there show it all. I mean, you know, no, no reason to complain. Let let's

Go to me. It's been a beautiful evangelistic opportunity.

It really can be

That, that if, unless we look at it squarely, uh, we're gonna complain because we've been used to having people around us exactly. Uh, and surrounding us in the church and singing the melodies within the church. And that's all together different, like creating a worship service for me now at the retirement village is difficult because you can only see 20 people. And, um, the television, the video camera is rolling to put all of this on the overhead television station before the day is over. Right. Uh, we didn't comprehend this a few months ago. Well,

And that that's right. And the same thing with how people do are doing worship. Now, we didn't comprehend having to worry about, you know, having a crew call in at six 30 in the morning and having cameras up and ready and chart it. And none of, none of the technical stuff fit, you know, most churches were, were even considering until, you know, until this pandemic and, and people just were, aren't coming to worship and we had to take it to them.

Well, I'm even talking to our border directors and saying, um, we of the older generation have gotta start backing away from this because the technology is taking, taking away from us who used to do it in a simple way. Um, the ways which we did it in the past are no longer functioning properly, but the young people today understand the technology. And I have a young woman at the village, uh, where I serve as, as a, as the chaplain has become just a master at technology. And can just do anything with, uh, almost like magical hands. Yeah. Is, is that gonna change for the future or will we change even more than what we see at today?

You know, I honestly think more's coming to be honest. I, I, I really, and, you know, I was talking to a colleague of my, and, you know, we're throwing ideas out. We have no clue what what's coming next, because we've seen so much change, you know, in, in just a recent amount of time. But I, I think that, that the ability to, to, or, or the well, or the demand on what you can, can put out and, and produce much quicker is, is on the horizon. And the ability to do those things in higher quality is, is what people are looking for. Um, or, or just, I, I think, I think they're looking for a quicker, I think they're looking for a much, much quicker turnaround, um, in what you produce, not necessarily higher quality and, um, which is frustrating for me personally, because I've, I've spent my career working to make the, the highest quality product I put out.

And that seems to be less important than getting it out the fastest. And so, um, there's, there's a bit of a disconnect for me and I I'm, I'm struggling with that, but you know, it, it, you know, I have to, I've gotta figure out a way to do that. Um, you know, I'm a freelancer, I don't have a big retirement package, so I figure out what to do. And so I, but that, you know, I see more changes coming technologically. Um, I can't predict what they are. I certainly couldn't. I, I was not predicting streaming at all. That was . I mean, my definition of church on tele vision was cameras, a switcher control room and a satellite. That was, I mean, and that's the way it's been done for years. I didn't never did. I think we'd be hooking up with a, you know, with a cat five signal and going right on out. I, I did not see that in my future,

You can sit by your iPad or your computer on a Sunday morning, and you can see churches, church services everywhere. Oh yeah. You really can. And you can do it all morning long. Mm-hmm . Uh, and I'm just thankful that, uh, there are young people today who understand, first of all, the necessity of getting the gospel out. But the second thing is understanding that the technology is the one of the vehicles that's going to be used to make it happen for the future. I just wanna say how grateful I am that you've taken this little time to sit with us and talk about your work. And because people don't know, um, what Glen Weaver does behind the scenes. They never see you. They only see what has happened. That's fine. And that is precious to us because, uh, we've had this relationship for a long time.

I just wanna say thank you for being here and being willing to share your life and what Christ's message and his love means to you. And I'm gonna close with a prayer heavenly father. Thank you for this day. Thank you for your loving kindness for all of us. Thank you for giving us the media world, which just a few months ago, we really didn't comprehend and it's even more co comprehension less today, but it's visible for us because it's there. Thank you for getting us your holy spirit that motivates us to serve the way you've called us to serve, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We pray it in his name. Come back to us again on engaging truth and goodnight.

Thank you for listening to this broadcast of engaging truth. Be sure to join us each week at this time, to help support our ministry, contact evangelical life ministries, post office box 5 68, Cypress, Texas 77, 410, or visit our, or find us on Facebook evangelical life ministries. Thank you. I.

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