Worship leader, sound technician, graphics designer, stage designer, video editor, Web producer it's not uncommon for these job duties (and more!) to be performed solely by a church's technology director. With so many production responsibilities (and an ever increasing desire among church leadership to use technology in creative new ways), how can technology directors get it all done without working 60 hours each week?
By staying focused on the big picture, respecting priorities, and remaining humble, the tech director's responsibilities can be managed. The six tips below will get you headed in the right direction.
1. GET THE PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
Managing priorities goes well beyond the task-oriented to-do lists facing technology directors. It's important to maintain a perspective that includes the big picture.
First, tech directors need to focus on their relationship with God first. After all, this work is Spirit-empowered work. You wouldn't expect the pastor to go the entire week without time for Bible study, would you? Start by being with God. Then, you can do His work.
After God comes family. If your children think the church is your home, then you need to reevaluate your time.
2. REMEMBER WHO'S IN CHARGE
Your pastor has the final say. For any tech director who works hard on a great idea, it can be discouraging to seen it dismissed. No matter how good your ideas may be, however, it is still the pastor's role to approve or redirect. Good communication with decision-makers can go a long way in mitigating wasted time and maximizing efforts.
3. KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS
We just can't do it all. While trying to do everything may seem heroic (and playing the martyr may get a few pity points), the truth is: It's up to us to be honest about what we can reasonably complete. Trying to plan Sunday services, edit videos, visit people in the hospital, schedule volunteers, and write click tracks is a big load for one person. So, be clear with yourself and with those who lead you about what you can and cannot do and about the limitations you face.
4. GET HELP
Start to find people to come around you who can fill in your gaps.
Not good at organization? There are probably 10 people in your church willing to spend a week at The Container Store getting you cleaned up. Too much video editing work? There might be a talented teen or two in your congregation with skills in video production. Having trouble managing volunteer schedules? There might be a detailed calendar maven willing to line up your volunteer schedule for you.
The point is: Get help! Start by making a list of the things you have to do. Then, create a list of the things someone else could conceivably do. This second list requires humility a willingness to let go.
Finally, empower someone else by allowing them to use their gifts in taking on some of your tasks in order to lighten your load.
5. LEARN TO SAY NO'
Jason Hatley from the Journey Church quips, "Sundays come along with great regularity." Indeed, we are not planning for a major musical production premiering three months from now. Rather we have just seven days to prepare something that stirs people's sense of wonder toward the greatness of God and some things simply cannot happen with short notice.
If you are tasked with a project without sufficient time, then let it be known. "Lead up" and encourage your pastor to work with you in planning further out so more creative things can be added.
6. DREAM BIG
Though you may be technology director of a small church, you can still accomplish great things. Work with what you have volunteers, staff, technology, etc. seek God, dream, and plan. Looking for inspiration? The website, churchstagedesignideas.com, offers many ideas from small churches doing great stages.
Ministry is hard work, but it should be fun. Tech directors can't do it all, but by prioritizing, working with others, and communicating effectively, they can inspire people to authentic worship and show people God through their art.
DAVID ERLANDSON is the pastor of worship for Trinity Baptist Church in Mentor, Ohio. He blogs about corporate worship and spiritual formation at daviderlandson.com.