At the heart of every great production is a team. Production is a team activity – it takes multiple technical artists working in their various roles to execute a great event. In worship, we use teams to train others and to help manage the demands of weekly services.
Teams create sustainability. The unique part of worship production is producing a new service (or services) every week. Working as a team allows everyone to work from a place of rest, not constantly relying on the same people, potentially burning them out.
Strong teams focus on discipling other technical artists. Our main goal as technical artists is to produce worship, but as followers of Jesus, we’re called to train and disciple other technical artists. Teams create places where life change and discipleship can happen.
We all know how important teams are, but building a team in our own churches can be a challenge. To make this process easier, here are 5 steps to create and maintain a technical arts team.
Step 1: Shift your mindset from technology to people.
It’s easy to get caught up in the technological aspects of production ministry. We spend a lot of time working with gear and the hands-on work of producing a weekly service, but we must always keep our focus on people, not just technology.
If we truly are ministers of the Gospel (which we are!), our work might be in technology, but our calling is people. Shift your mindset from being a doer to being a leader, and shift your focus from technology to people.
Before anyone can join your team, you need to think like a team. Teams work differently than individuals. If something goes well, the whole team gets the credit. If something goes wrong, no one person takes the blame. This is team culture and you need to start thinking like a team before people join your team.
Step 2: Cast vision for your team
What are you looking for in a team? What are your needs? Maybe you want a more sustainable schedule, maybe you have a focus or desire to train and equip other leaders. Determine why you’re creating a team and be able to communicate it to others.
At my church, we believe one of the marks of a healthy Christian is actively serving in the church using your gifts. We also value using technology to impact lives – through helping make services happen and through training and discipleship.
Here are some additional questions to guide your vision:
- What makes your team unique?
- What makes you excited about your team?
- Why should someone join your team?
Pick the top 3 reasons you’re passionate about serving and why you want others to be part of your team.
Once you have your vision, let’s move on to finding people for your team.
Step 3: Find people for your team
Recruiting can be the hardest part of building a team. Finding people to serve in production is hard because we require different qualifications and skill levels. How do we find people who are a good fit for our team?
Know who you want on your team.
What qualifications are necessary? Sometimes a person needs specific skills in positions like FOH audio or video director. Other positions might be perfect for volunteers. Are you okay with untrained people on your team? What’s your plan to train them?
Know which roles need prior experience and which roles you are comfortable training. Make note of which positions need to be paid staff (if applicable) and which ones are volunteer. Have a plan for what positions you’re looking to fill and what’s required for them to serve on the team.
Let those around you know you have a need.
Make sure you tell as many people as you can: staff, church leadership, worship teams, those who are already serving with you. Ask them to give you any ideas of who else they know who might be interested in serving. Also ask them to pray as you search. Since we are looking to invest in people, we should be seeking God to have Him send us people we can pour into.
Communicate your need church-wide.
Work with your church’s communication director (or similar role) to figure out the most effective way to make the ask. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Put a link on your church’s website, especially the live stream or serve/get connected pages
- Make an announcement during a service or another part of your church’s weekly announcements
- Ask via a worship guide/bulletin announcement
- Include large communications like a monthly all-church newsletter
- Bonus: see if you can make your own web page on your church’s site and record a video clip (about a minute) casting vision for the team and asking people to join.
The goal here is to get people thinking about joining the team and helping them see how they could be part of production at your church.
Have an easy process for those who are interested.
As you’re asking people to join your team, make it clear the next step you want them to take. I recommend having them contact you directly via email so you can reach out and get together with them. Once they reach out, you can simply follow up over coffee/lunch to hear more about their interest in serving.
Communicate your vision.
As you’re recruiting, make sure you’re constantly communicating your vision. Most people have a limited understanding of production and your vision can help them see how important, fun and life changing it is to serve your church through producing worship.
Once you know who you want to be on your team and have plans for communicating that church-wide, do the work. Remind people you’re actively seeking new team members and make time every day to work on this so it stays at the forefront of people’s minds.
Step 4 – Joining the team
Great, you have people who want to be on your team. Now you have them, how do you find the right spot for them to get plugged in? What happens next?
Follow up with everyone who expressed interest.
Meet with them to re-communicate your vision, tell them what your team needs and figure out where they’re most interested in serving/growing. Remember our focus is on ministering to people, not just filling a gap. When you meet with them, get to know them personally. Ask about their story and what God’s doing in their life. Pray and discern together how they would best fit on your team: what would bring the most growth to them, your team and your church.
As you’re trying to find the best place for a person to serve, be clear on what each position entails. Let them know the time commitments and requirements for each role they’re interested in. What rehearsals to they need to be present for? What does setup and teardown for a service look like? Give them the clearest picture of what’s needed so they can make an informed decision.
Define a clear on-boarding process.
Once you know where a person would best fit to serve, make a plan for how they join the team. Think of any requirements they need to have before joining the team fully. Do you need them to come to a few rehearsals? Does your church require any sort of serving class before people begin serving regularly?
Many Churches have an application process to get a feel for how a certain volunteer is doing spiritually and whether or not they’re in a place where they should be serving on the team.
Let them serve.
Once you’ve decided on where they’re going to serve, have them start serving! A great way to get a new volunteer on your team is for them shadow to an existing volunteer. This lets the new team member grow and lets the existing team member practice teaching and leading. Over time, let them continue to shadow until an existing team member says they’re good to go on their own.
Congratulations! You have officially added a new person to your team. Take a moment to celebrate and write it down so when you look back, you can remember the journey they took to join. Now, before we finish, let’s take a look at what happens next.
Step 5: How to maintain your team: training and growth
Once you’ve built a team, your work isn’t over. Now your goal is to keep your team growing as both technical artists and as disciples. Here’s how to do that:
Spend time with your team.
Regularly check in with your team. Have times where you meet with your team that have nothing to do with training or production. Take your team to lunch as a group or one-on-one. Care for your team. Know what’s going on in their lives and be an active part of it. Pray for your team regularly.
Thank your team.
We work a thankless job and if we aren’t reminded that others appreciate us, we’ll burn out. Burnout has nothing to do with how many hours people work, it has to do with whether or not people feel valued. Thank your team – let them know you see and value them.
Train your team.
To grow as a technical artist you must give them ways to keep learning. This is especially for volunteers who don’t work in production outside of church. You are the one who makes them better technical artists. Make a system for how you will regularly train and keep your team growing.
Create spiritual disciplines for your team.
Create times where you fellowship or read a liturgy together. Create habits that help them prepare their hearts for worship, in the midst of the hard work of production.
Cast vision for your team.
You must constantly remind your team how important their work is to the work of the church and in worship. Remind them their work is not in vain, you notice their work and God accepts it as worship. They need to hear this because they’re going to have times when they feel like no one sees them. Remind them how important their work is – in both busy seasons and easy seasons.
Disciple your team.
As a minister of the technical arts, you are your team’s pastor. Walk with them and lead them. Make sure they are involved in community and know how they’re doing in their relationship with God.
Everything we’ve mentioned above ultimately leads back to discipling our teams as followers of Jesus. Technology is awesome, but knowing and walking with Jesus is life changing. At the end of the day you’re called not just to make great services and events, you’re called to follow Jesus and help others follow Him.
Shepherding our teams is the most important work we do and it’s the best part of our work. How can you refocus your work to spend more time building and caring for your team?
Finally, remember you’re not alone in this process. This entire site exists to equip you to do the work of ministry. If you ever need help or even just someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Now go and build an amazing team!