Welcome back everyone, this month’s email question comes from Mark C. in Arizona, who asks, ” I recently became the leader of my tech team and I want to know how to make everyone more involved and more proactive”. Well Mark is not alone, this is a question I frequently hear. So, let’s go over some basic items that will get you started in moving your team forward.
Building church tech teams has become a challenging task in recent years. The church world is changing and church leadership is changing with it. More churches are looking for church tech leaders to build church tech teams that will be able to lead them into the future.
What is a church tech team and why would you want one?
Church tech teams are groups that help the church run smoother and more efficiently by transcending all areas of church media (projection screens, sound systems, lights, etc.). As noted above, the tech team’s vision is of leading the church into the future by staying abreast of the expectations of the congregation and the technological options available.
How do you build a church tech team?
Not every church is going to have a church tech team. In fact, most churches just have one church tech leader who runs everything because no one else wanted the job. The church tech team should be led by a church leader who knows what they are doing and who can lead others into understanding and using technology.
Finding the right people to add to the team can be a challenge. Volunteers may be easy to find, but ones who can be trusted aren’t always readily available – you need someone who can be relied on to press the right button to turn on (or off) the lights/mic/video at the right time. Being a church tech leader can be stressful!
It takes time to find the right people and have them trained to meet church needs. To build a church tech team, you will need church leadership support for your church members, a vision of what your church needs, and a willingness to learn yourself in order to train others.
In the end, church tech teams are a valuable asset to church leadership that allows them more time to focus on other ministry needs as well as providing a better experience for church members. Church tech teams help churches succeed in many ways!
Who can be on a church tech team?
The church tech team should consist of church members who are passionate about ministry and technology. Church tech team members should be active church members who can be counted on to do what it takes to build a better church experience for their church family.
A church tech team doesn’t need to consist of all volunteers, either. If you have paid staff for your church, they should absolutely be involved.
One important thing to remember is that any tech team member may be called up to do immeasurably more than they ever hoped or imagined…all it takes is for one tech item to fail during a live service, and it’s all hands-on deck!
What experience do I need to be on a church tech team?
Experience varies for church tech teams. Each church is different and the church tech team will be as well. Some church tech teams just need someone who can turn on a light switch and other church tech teams want you to have years of experience running large soundboards or know how to run multiple lighting banks.
Skills required for church tech teams
What church tech team members need to know will vary depending on what church they are serving in. The church tech team needs to have skills that are relevant for that church’s ministry.
For example, if the church is using iMovie for their videos, then someone on the church tech team is going to need strong video editing skills. If the church is using PowerPoint, then church tech team members should know how to use PowerPoint. The church tech leader will need to be able to plan out church media in advance and make sure church tech team members are trained on the necessary tools for church ministry.
You’ll potentially need people skilled in audio recording and mixing, someone who understands electronics, a PC user and a Mac user…and maybe a Linux user too.
The church tech team also needs someone who can think outside of the box. There’s no telling what church members will ask of the church tech team. They need someone who can make something happen or find a way to make it work.
In many cases, the church tech leader will also need to be able to jump from one church tech task to another very quickly and sometimes without forewarning. It’s a lot like preparing for a triathlon, but without actually knowing what three events are coming up next!
There will be a crossover with the sound team, the video team, the photography team, and when the kettle stops working in the church office, the tech team may well be asked to fix it. In short, be prepared for anything, and take it all in good grace!
Building the perfect church tech team
The common thread among all church tech team members is that they’re active in the church and have an interest in and love of technology. They may have more interest in lighting or video over audio, but they should be ready to serve as needed. Sticking with our triathlon analogy, church tech team members are like the swimmers in a triathlon. They need to be good at their technical task but also need to have some other church leadership skills to make them really useful.
For example, church tech team members would be good at church video and church photography, but church tech team leaders should also be skilled church spiritual leaders who can care for church volunteers and church leadership.
Church tech teams need prayer support from church leadership and church body, they need to have time in their schedule to do all the things that need doing with any aspect of church technology and they often need the patience of a saint!
Tips for managing your church’s technology needs
Church tech team members are church volunteers who love church technology. Your church needs them, but they’ll need your church leadership to help manage their work – and you’ll need to keep on top of the needs for technology.
Here are my top tips for managing church tech needs:
– Only look for free solutions when it makes sense. There are many tech items or pieces of software you can get for free (or next to nothing) but if they are complex to use, don’t get the results you need, or hamper your team rather than aid them, consider investing some cash.
– Adopt software that has a church tech team behind it. There are many church-friendly tools out there – for example, the church website builders can use Wix as it includes a free tier – but if their tech team can’t provide help when you need it, or provide the answers to your questions quickly enough, you shouldn’t be using it at all.
– Look for church tech team members who can provide support on location. You’ll need church tech team members who aren’t only good at the technical stuff, but also good managers and communicators.
– Know when to call in reinforcements (and save money). Your church might be able to fix a problem with their website themselves…but if they need to spend an hour looking for the answer but can’t find it, it’s probably time to call in tech experts.
– Be open to church volunteers who are good at church technology but want to do something other than church tech work. You might have a church volunteer who is great at PCs and passionate about church technology, but would be better served by church tech team projects that are slightly outside the church technology realm – like helping with church marketing, for example.
– Don’t be afraid to try new things, and keep what works – but discard that which doesn’t work for your church. Just because XYZ church is doing it, it doesn’t mean you have to as well.
The church tech team is about passion and skills, church leadership and church volunteers. Work out what your church needs from your church tech team, keep that in mind as you look for church tech team members, and for pieces of technology to solve your problems – and have fun doing it!
The future of church technology and how it affects churches today
The church has always tried to be at the forefront of technology – church apps are one example, used not only to communicate church information but also for church fundraising.
Churches have also been using church video for years, with services being recorded and DVDs being made available not only for people who couldn’t make church because of illness or work commitments but also to evangelise and grow church attendance. More recently, church video streaming services have become common, allowing church videos to be viewed by church members worldwide (and anyone else who wants to watch it!).
Many churches are now using social media which provides outreach opportunities and also the opportunity to easily communicate with the congregation. There are many aspects of church tech that need to be looked after, and a church tech team is often an underappreciated part of modern ministry.
What church tech teams can do
– run audio for church services
– run video for church services, events, and more
– run live streaming video/audio from church services
– manage all technical aspects of church sound related to touring bands
– operate lighting systems during special events and church service times
– work out what church tech equipment is needed to achieve church technology goals
– advise church leadership on technology issues, what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to church tech, and the best courses of action based on this information
The biggest job a church tech team can do is prepare a church for a church service. Church venues often have a limited amount of space and lots of different technical requirements that need to be met, which can change from week to week – it’s the church tech team who needs to make sure church services go off without a hitch.
I hope this helps everyone out in getting their tech team moving forward! Please email any tech questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would enjoy leading you in the right direction.
About the Author
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.