Most church tech teams are volunteers. That’s no secret. Even large churches staff their tech team with a majority of volunteers.
Since most of those volunteers do not have the extensive technical background that we leaders (hopefully) have, it becomes our job to educate these amazing people in the ways of tech in a way that is not completely overwhelming or like taking a physics class. We must, in other words, make the complex as simple as possible.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
Here are seven ways to get started:
Find the Needs
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it is important to clearly map out the needs of a team. Not only what positions need to be filled, but also what level of knowledge and competency those positions will need to have. Having a tech team overview is a great way to do this. It can be as simple as a one-page document that lists out positions and their functions. More in-depth manuals for each discipline are a good idea, but at least get started with a straightforward list that helps define the team.
Cast the Vision
While knowledge and competency are important, making sure the team understands the vision or the “why” is crucial. Having periodic gatherings to fellowship and cast vision is a good idea. Having your boss or overseer there to “bless” the occasion is a bonus as it shows that you are a team player in the larger sense. Find ways to keep the vision in front of your team. Repeat even when you don’t want to. When you’re tired of talking about the vision, they are just starting to get it.
Give a Tour
Even though most volunteers don’t immediately understand the inner workings of every tech system, a great way to start getting them excited about it is to give them a tour of what is “behind the curtain”. This puts them in the know and starts to make them a true part of the tech team. It will also spark great conversation about what your gear does and how it is implemented in your environment. If you have your vision meeting at the church, it’s a great way to wrap it up.
Let Them Be a Guest
When someone wants to join the tech team, their level of knowledge can be all over the map. Some will have served at other churches and have a good level of competence doing tech, while others will be absolute newbees. No matter what the level, never throw them in the deep end. Even though most will be eager to serve, it is a good practice to have everyone shadow those already doing the job. This will give them both knowledge and perspective. It also honors those that have been serving.
Whether you personally train or let your key and experienced team members do it, it is best to train one or two at a time. I am not a believer in training large groups.
This will give them hands-on experience and let them ask questions. It will give the trainer time to explore those questions, not just skim over things that will help your new techs do their jobs better.
Relationships are Key
No matter how much you train them or tell them what to do, they will never fully “get it” if you do not develop relationships with your team. This will take on many forms, but your team must trust and respect you. I have written a lot about this over the years. Make no mistake about it—tech ministry is a people ministry.
Know Your Stuff
You can’t get your team up to speed if you are not up to speed yourself. I love what Albert Einstein said about this: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
If you are having fun, they will have fun. Now, I’m not saying that you should create a free-for-all environment, but make learning and serving in the tech ministry fun. Don’t be a gloomy Gus. Remember we get to do this. Make sure those you serve with know that you know that.