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Thinking Beyond Recruitment

February 6, 2012

Like most TADs I’ve spent a lot ot time over the years thinking, brainstorming in seminars, and commiserating with other ministry staff about how to “engage more of the church family in serving opportunities available at our church.” (recruiting volunteers)

This weekend I had a very unique and interesting opportunity to speak about Technical Arts to the whole congregation at each of our 3 services. I had 6-8 minutes and, like most ministry leaders, I only used 10:32 of it. (my bad.)  So how did I get platform time and what did I do with it?

About 10 months ago, we started, as a team, intentionally advancing the vision for a multi-site campus we plan to open 20 miles away around Easter 2012. The original idea was to do a 10- minute discussion called Heartbeat of The Chapel at the top of several consecuative services. During these segments our lead pastor and one of our associate pastors would do an interview type chat to roll out details and decisions regarding the undertaking. These chats and updates would be video captured to YouTube for public consumption allowing those outside our weekend services, and in the adjacent community, to hear our heart, vision, and intent – as it pertains to opening an extension of our current campus.

After several episodes,  the idea surfaced to set-up these types of talks as part of a volunteer “highlight” series that would feature the faces and stories of those serving in different ministries.  These would teach the congregation about the various ministries and the amount of people it takes to perform them well.  It also provided a platform to discuss current and additional needs that will be created both at our campus and at the 2nd campus when it opens.

Technical Arts was the last ministry to be featured.  It was originally combined with worship team (as tech often is) and we were going to divide the 8 minutes between the two ministries.  Timing considerations over the past several weeks allowed the separation of the two and they got their own date/ time slot.  (cha-ching)

The approach I took was to divide the segment into 3 sections:   view interview here:

  1. How and Why is Technical Arts important in a church? (there’s always been “technology”)
  2. What Technical Arts is and what it’s not. (AVL as opposed to IT or computer sciences) (communications not “entertainment”)  Also our church is not Pastor centric nor do we have a television ministry as part of our mission.
  3. What type of person is attracted to serving in Technical Arts and what are next steps to learn more/ make contact. (this did not feature an interview but I did share stories of two of our technicians and some common characteristics I’ve observed over the years.)

The first section talked about the bible’s reference to the use of the “technologies of the day”.  Jesus speaking to large crowds – leveraging mountainsides, elevation, and daylight to communicate. How in John 8 he wrote in the dust with his finger.  Later the technology of stained glass to remember and to visually share the birth, resurrection, and gospel to crowds who were probably much less literate and educated than in today’s culture. The use of architecture and hard reverberant rooms to focus and distribute speech. And even the more modern technology of printing/ re-printing words on paper, organized, and bound between 2 covers.  Up to the electronic media used commonly in today’s culture.

The 2nd was a teaching time about Technical Arts.  After outlining the 6 “behind the scenes” volunteer functinos that interact and communicate during all parts of a service or event (not just worship music), we cut all the sound, lights, and projection in the auditorium. Literally, in the dark I asked the audience of 650 (without the aid of a microphone) to imagine trying to do worship or listen to a 40 minute message under these conditions.  I then individually asked each technician to bring up their respective devices as if we were talking on clear com.

After each service, I had several people approach me in the atrium and say something like “I had no idea a team even did this.  I just thought there was a “sound guy” in the back who flipped some switch and it all just worked.”

Additionally, I received 9 contacts from people wanting to get involved.  Some with no experience who want to learn, to someone who used to be a TD (with digital console experience) in a similar church before moving to our area.

Now this is in no way a magic bullet, but I’m convnced that casting clear vision and mission is critical to finding willing people to serve in any ministry. 

Now if I would have approached the leadership about having 10 minutes of a service to talk tech, the idea probably wouldn’t have gotten very far very fast.  Instead this opportunity evolved over months of brainstorming and discussion about things much bigger than just technical arts.  When the time arrived, I felt God calling me to use those precious minutes to teach the congregation about our vision and values as a church in general and as a tech team in particular.  I had to invite people to something that matters. This wasn’t about “begging for help.”

The fact that leadership provided a platform to cast this vision to the church as a whole made the ministry legitimate and important in the eyes of the congregation. At least for the time being, everyone in our church knows what role Technical Arts plays in preaching, teaching, and worship – not only for weekend services but in student ministries and small groups activities as well.  I’m blessed to work with a great team lead by great leaders.

One Comment
  1. Ted Vance permalink

    Thank you Gary for all the work you and your team does each and every Sunday! For me, the biggest impact was when the lights, video and audio were cut and you were speaking to the church. Sometimes, the best effects are not the most technical, gee-whiz or multi-media centric (although, it can be cool! 😉 ), but the small touches that have the greatest effect.

    Keep up the great work!

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