Eventually, your church is going to consider hosting a special event, be it an internal one, or one from outside the church.
Many times these seem like great opportunities (and often truly are). If your tech team is not already experienced with this, however, you may be taken by surprise at that amount of work that might be involved. I thought it would be good to go over some examples of things that can cause event support to consume a lot more resources that you expected.
Most of the challenges that arise in event support stem from vague communications and a lack of understanding of technology by the event creators. Let's look at one example.
When I worked at a large church in central Illinois, a local company requested use of our auditorium for their end-of-year employee bonus celebration. Our church said yes, and as technical director, I contacted the appropriate people at the company to discuss their needs.
What they wanted to do was pretty simple on the technical endone or two handheld wireless mics; playing some music before, after, and during certain parts of the event; and playing a DVD on the auditorium screens. All quite simple.
However, when they came the day before the event to set up, the DVD wasn't a movie. It was a DVD data disc, with a PowerPoint presentation on it.
The PowerPoint presentation had massive amounts of media in it, and much of that media was merely links to files that only existed on that company's file servers. The PowerPoint had an audio track with it, and that audio track only synced properly to the slideshow when run on the original computer that created the presentation back at the corporate office.
It took from about 4 PM until 1 AM to gather all the files needed and "fix" the PowerPoint so that it would work in the church's production environment. Not so simple after all, and the work that I should have gotten done that day to support the church's ministry didn't happen, because no one at that company involved in the event had the technical abilities to fix it in time.
The moral of this story is, never assume (unless you have experience to the prove otherwise) that the people planning the event know what they are talking about when it comes to technology.
Require that their media is prepared a week or two ahead and delivered to you early so you can deal with issues more efficiently, or even have the option of rejecting it and telling them what they need to do to fix it themselves (given they still have a couple weeks before the event will take place).
And the funny thing is, the next year (after I resigned from that position) they did the same event, and had the exact same problem, and it took just as much hassle to fix.
More on event support in the next article!