I believe too many times in church media world, those who serve in production (whether audio, video, lighting, or stage design) have a stigma of being ‘behind the scenes introverted nerds’. And sometimes, I think we, as creatives, fuel that. Yes, it’s great to have people on our teams that are knowledgable about the technical aspects of executing a Sunday service. However, as leaders, we need to create opportunities for anyone to join our teams.
Let me give you three filters to think through when creating opportunities for people to serve.
1. Break Through the Stereotype
There is a stereotype of those who serve in production. People that are introverted, quiet, smart, engineer-type. Let me challenge you – if you are a staff member at a church, you as the leader of your team can change that culture and that stereotype. Change the way you address potential volunteers. Do you quickly look around to see if someone has experience in media world? Or do you cast vision and create opportunities for anyone to join your team? It’s only a stereotype if you let be one. Change the culture in your church. Cast vision where anyone would not be scared or intimidated to join your team.
At a church I served on staff at, we had ‘Opportunities Tours’ nearly every Sunday. Out of our Church Membership or “Ownership” Class, as we called it, we encouraged everyone at that class to attend an Opportunities Tour. This tour was scheduled for Sunday mornings and would tour nearly every ministry to see which area a volunteer would like to serve.
When the tour would come by our control room, I would talk to the group for about 2 minutes and cast vision as to the opportunities we provided on our Media Production Team. I would ask them, “raise your hand if you have accepted Christ at one of our services”. Then I would ask, “raise your hand if you’ve grown and been challenged in your walk with Christ at one of our services”. Then I would say, “That’s what we do in production – through God working in us, we create experiences where life change happens. We have all kinds of opportunities to serve – from working on gear to helping us schedule our teams, to cooking, to events, to helping us create our culture. If you want to be a part of directly seeing life change happen at our church, this is a great place to serve”. We would then give them small cards that said “Your next step is Production First Look” and listed the times and dates of our First Look sessions, with contact information on the card if they had any questions. We also gave each person that came by on the tour candy to take with them. Sometimes we had chocolate or seasonal candy, but most of the time, we purchased boxes of “Nerds” candy and jokingly told them that they didn’t have to be a ‘nerd’ to serve in Production. Cheesy, but memorable.
Break the stereotype that only nerdy or ‘behind the scenes’ people serve in production.
2. Break the Mold
Even before you invite people from all walks of life and all skill sets to join your team, work to create opportunities or other positions for them to serve. Think outside the box here. Some positions will need to be firmly established as to what you’re after. You may want to even create an Organizational Chart of your team to let volunteers know where your leaders are located in your structure. Outside of your structure, you may even create new opportunities for people based on their unique skill sets. Do you have an older lady that may not have the capacity to operate gear but could ‘mother’ your team? Do you have a good administrative person that could help you schedule volunteers or send weekly e-mails to your team? Do you have an event planner that could help you organize monthly and quarterly events for your team?
Think outside the mold of just the positions you need to execute a worship service. Think bigger than that. Because it is bigger than a service. You’re creating a culture. You’re creating a “mini-church” within your church. I believe that any ministry area can use spiritual gifts and talents of all kinds. Could you create a volunteer pastor position where its the role of the volunteer to help you minister to your team members? Do you have a prayer warrior that could help you pray for the needs of your team members?
Break the mold that there should only be certain positions or certain tasks on your team.
3. Break It Up
I believe that every position on your team should be ran and led by a volunteer. Every position. I believe that you need to work yourself out of as many jobs as you possibly can. Your role should consistently be to take on a job and give it away. It should be a revolving door – constantly taking something new and finding the best person to raise up to take it.
Also, if you break your positions up into bit-size roles, you not only lessen the load on one person, but you create more opportunities for people to serve. Think of the tasks that need to be done on Sunday in your position. Think of everything you do to prepare for a Sunday. Write it down. Now think of everything you do to execute a service. Take this list and mold positions out of it. Can you have a willing teenager replace batteries in your microphones? Can you have one person mix the rehearsal while another person is prepping something else?
Break your ministry tasks up into smaller chunks to relieve potential burnout and to create more opportunities for volunteers.
Our role as leaders should be to create culture, multiply ourselves by raising up leaders, and create opportunities for people in our church to serve.
The more they serve and the more opportunities you give them, the more ownership they feel will feel in the experience you are creating together.
It’s always about people. Love them well. Serve them well. They will see Jesus in your service to them.
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This book gives you some practical tips for loving your team well.