It All Started With Jury Duty

Certain ministries at Central Presbyterian Church remain behind the scenes but are significant. One of those ministries is operating the media—the sound and visuals that drive our contemporary and traditional worship services.

So, what does that have to do with jury duty?

Meet John Davis. John is one of those media people, and his trajectory toward Central, and eventually the Worship Tech Team, was launched in the Baltimore City jury assembly room.

John grew up in the Roman Catholic Church but had a crisis of faith in college. After a friend came back from the Navy fired up for Jesus, John became receptive to Christianity as “something more than just going to church.” That’s where jury duty enters the picture. In December 1981, John was called to fulfill his civic responsibility and sat down in the jury room next to a young woman reading The Chronicles of Narnia. They got to talking and couldn’t stop. To make a long story short, John’s first date with Barb Troch came a few weeks later. Then he started worshipping at Central and participating in the young adult ministry with Barb, which was an answer to John’s prayer, “God, help me to know you.” Exactly 17 months after they met, John and Barb got married at Central, and they raised their two children in the church. (There are also two grandchildren, but that’s another story.)

Fast forward to 2019. John was attracted to the idea of working with the Worship Tech Team during the traditional service, which he and Barb attend. It seemed a perfect fit for his personality, aptitudes, passions and experience. Never one to seek the limelight, John could still be part of what makes the service go. With the support of James Loomis, Andrew Dixon, Doug Thomas, Rich Reichley (who runs media in the contemporary service) and other members of the team, he learned how to create the slides and run the ProPresenter program, helped by his own computer experience.

There are so many reasons why John finds the ministry fulfilling and a good fit. First, he’s happy behind the scenes and, as he says, “If I’m doing my job correctly, nobody knows I’m there. I don’t want to be a distraction.” Second, John loves music. Though he doesn’t play an instrument or sing, he can express that love by presenting slides so that the message of the lyrics complements the music. Similarly, creating good slides for sermons, confession and other parts of the service plays a part in advancing the gospel message. In addition, he finds it gratifying to receive the appreciation of the congregation and to work with Robin Mundey, Mark Domsic and other talented people involved in worship.

John says that he feels significant for having found his niche in the body of Christ, and he encourages others to explore whether they also might fill the Tech Team niche. The team rallies around anyone who wants to learn, including Caleb Gabrielse, who, at just eleven years old, is running slides during the traditional service. Mistakes are forgiven. As John says, “You cannot make a mistake that I haven’t made.” The time commitment is for the worship hour, about two hours during the week to make slides, a half hour before the service to set up, and about five minutes after to shut down. If you love worship but don’t see yourself up on the stage or in the choir stalls, this ministry may be for you!

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