How to Avoid Common Technical Problems

by | Production, Worship Service Planning

Welcome back everyone! Last month a subscriber emailed me and was having difficulty in getting his tech team and all of the different technologies that different tech leaders over the last few years have added into the mix of their church services.  So, let’s discuss these church technology issues that sometimes happen, and how to avoid them.

Communication and appreciation are key

First, remember to thank your staff and volunteers who keep your tech running smoothly from behind the scenes. The people who work in church technology are the unsung heroes of our congregations. Every lyric sheet shared and all audio played are usually what comes down to what the organization has and the understanding of the technology they have access to. We know there is always room for improvement and that many of the main mistakes are easily avoidable.  From the type of equipment you have to your future equipment investments and the tech roles assigned within your church, there are many ways to avoid slip-ups and problems. Planning, communication, and quality are critical, and sometimes better organization is all it takes to smooth the running of your church. 

No one person can do it all

In a church setting, a single person is often assigned with everything tech. Considered to be the “go to person” they can be blasted with way more work than they can handle. It’s also difficult for one person to have a complete and nuanced understanding of all aspects of the church, and task delegation is the answer to avoiding this problem. What you really need is a Tech Leader or Tech Director who instead of having the responsibility of everything, will be able to delegate smaller tasks to volunteers and other workers within the church system. Not only will this help everything to run more smoothly, but it will make the church organization process more of a collaborative, team-based effort. 

Plan ahead

‍Planning & Preventive Maintenance is a major plan going forward.  Instead of panic-buying new equipment when you desperately need it, make a long-term plan to help your decision-making. Holding meetings to discuss what kind of tech improvements you hope to make can mean that you are ready for whatever gets thrown at you. Rank possible purchases by priority and where they sit within the budget, creating a 5-year plan for your reference. I believe Kids Ministry is often neglected in the budget but is the main driver for new families coming to your church. Make sure you spend wisely and invest enough money in your Kids Ministry, because you will be investing in the future of your church.

If your church software includes in-built accounting, then you’re already pretty set – run the numbers, and your church’s tech budget will be displayed. Then, if this budget is insufficient for your needs for that year or the year after, you can address this at a meeting much sooner. Rather than panic-buying cheap products, your equipment will be carefully considered. ‍

Invest in quality

Panic purchasing typically results in cheap solutions that don’t last and are difficult for staff to use on an ongoing basis.  The main problem that comes with such impulse buying is that these products will generally not last. Buying low-quality or second-hand items that aren’t guaranteed just for the low-price tag will often mean you’re tied into spending more in the long term. Replacement and repair costs can be minimized with state-of-the-art, high-tech purchases that you won’t want or need to upgrade year after year.

Investing in church technology is crucial, as it’s an aspect of the church that absolutely everyone enjoys. Whether it’s streaming the Sunday service online, providing the perfect lighting for a sermon, or simply sharing the correct lyrics to your hymns, technology is the backbone of almost everything. Skip on those stressful times of tech failures by investing in products that will last. ‍

Talk to your church as well as your team

Above all, most problems arise through a lack of communication. When the fundamental role of church technology is placed on the shoulders of one person, issues are communicated less efficiently. The best person to work in the technology department may not have the best interpersonal skills. By sharing this load, group meetings with different church members can provide a space for the crucial budget discussions that some would prefer to avoid.

Use church communication software to improve links between all workers, volunteers, and even congregation members. Set up group chats and easily organize your contact lists into groups, so you can quickly find the right person for the job. A good church management software can also help out your tech team, providing necessary statistics and budget reports.  Choose to be a part of a community that works together, helps one another, and supports itself. Sharing the load of technology decision-making is essential, as they are decisions that impact the whole church. While some members might prefer to allocate budgets differently, a greater understanding of the importance of investing in that tech purchase will help everyone to see eye-to-eye.

These software options come in various shapes and sizes, but most will include an in-church instant messaging service. Many have seen the clear link between technology and church growth and would never look back. Simplifying those communication channels will encourage more profound, more quality connections between churchgoers, workers, and volunteers. A team where everyone feels seen, heard, and appreciated is a team that will flourish. Investing in your church means investing in your people, and we know that it’s worth it. Log your church technology ideas in a long-term plan, and refer back to it whenever you purchase. There will be no surprises this way, and your technology team will run smoothly, with fewer bumps in the road.

The technology will always change, so will your church leaders and tech crew members, so remember to be flexible with everyone and be open minded with new suggestions.  Change is hard to accept sometimes, but we are all in this together.  I always encourage everyone to attend tech trainings and trade shows – you can see the new technologies and put your hands on them, plus you get to ask questions of the manufacturers.  It’s a great way to put your technology gear plans together.  I look forward to Talking Tech with you next month.

Bill Di Paolo has worked in live production for over 30 years, He is the owner and technical director of Entertainment Services, a production company based in upstate New York that handles lighting, audio and video for events of all sizes in the Northeast. If you have any questions, feel free to contact him at bdipaolo@worshipfacility.com.

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