As a technical leader, you have two main areas of work. The first area is the work of producing services with excellence. The second area is leading and growing a team, both as technical artists and disciples.
On top of all that, you still have all the other things that come up; troubleshooting broken technology, last minute needs for other events, video projects, and dozens of other needs that will inevitably find you and take away your precious time. In the midst of all of the work you need to do, how can you grow your team?
You have to make time
If you want to grow as a leader, you have to make time. There will always be something else ready to fill any down time you have. You have to make time for growing your team and here are a few ways to dedicate time for leadership in the midst of your regular work.
Create dedicated study time
The way it works for us as tech directors is different from other ministry leaders. It’s common for a pastor to have dedicated hours each week to reading, study and personal growth. They have blocked out time and people know and respect this boundary.
As tech directors, we don’t necessarily have that time. If we do, it’s usually filled with editing a video, troubleshooting an issue, or fixing something for Sunday. Our free time is rarely filled with time to sit down and read a book or write.
You have to ask yourself if it’s even realistic to have dedicated study time. If you really want to become an excellent leader, you need dedicated times to focus on your own growth as a leader. While study time is a great goal to have, you need to acknowledge the realistic nature of technical work. If you’re not able to have regular dedicated time, focus on training as you go.
Train as you go
There will always be another event, another service or another project demanding your time and attention. So, you have to fit growth in the space in between. How do you do that?
Shift your mindset
Don’t think of training as an event, think of it as a habit. Growth happens over time. Discipleship comes from questions, conversations and walking alongside one another. Shift your mindset away from large training sessions and start training as you go.
It’s difficult to get a full team together. It might be unrealistic for you to gather your entire team in the same room, at the same time for them to do training together. Think of yourself less as teacher and more as a coach. Instead of trying to train your team through large events, focus on how you can improve the small interactions you have with your team.
Focus on small steps you can take right now to grow your team. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Take someone on your team out for food
- Take a moment to ask how your team is doing
- Make time to do life together outside working in production
- Pray together
- Read a liturgy together
- Send a text to someone on your team
- Thank your team when they do something well
Here’s the key: if you want to be an excellent leader, you have to know your team. Getting to know your team is easy, but it takes time. As you walk more closely with your team, you’ll see the ways you can help them grow as a technical artist and see where God is working in their life.
Invest in helpful resources
In order to manage your time and training well, invest in resources to help your team grow. This could be production-based resources like MxU, Worship Sound Guy, SaltU, Church Motion Graphics or others. Or, this could be a ministry resource designed to help your team grow as followers of Jesus.
These resources are helpful because instead of you having to produce a full video series for how ProPresenter works in your church, find someone else who’s already taught ProPresenter and let your volunteers learn from them. It’s much easier to give your team access to an online course than trying to host your own big training.
With resources like this, it’s important to remember the way you do things at your church might be different. It’s your job as the leader to train your team how, why and in what ways you might do things differently at your church. These resources are a huge time saver, but you still have to help your team understand how you use it and how it applies in your own church context.
The most important thing you can do now is create time where you can start leading your team as you go. If you can, schedule larger chunks of time for deeper study. But if you’re at a place where you’re overwhelmed with all the work on your plate, look for a few ways you can start small, even if it’s just identifying one thing you can take off your plate.
As you take the next step into leading your team and balancing your work, here are some questions to guide your thinking:
- How can you shift your mindset to look for training opportunities in the midst of your regular work?
- What tools and resources would free you up to invest in your team spiritually?
- What’s one thing you can do this upcoming week to pour into someone on your team?