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Hiring a Technical Director? What You Should and Should Not Expect

Hiring a Technical Director? What You Should and Should Not Expect

Your church is growing and leadership is considering hiring a technical director. Here are some considerations.

Are you in the process of deciding to finally hire your first Technical Director?

Your church is growing, and you've gotten to the point where it's unreasonable to expect a volunteer to coordinate and execute your audio, video, and lighting needs for all your church ministries.

Not to mention that in your latest auditorium/sanctuary, the complexity of the equipment is limiting your volunteer poolnot as many people are capable of running the systems, especially when something goes wrong.

You'll have someone on staff, at your disposal, to ensure that all aspects of your technical production needs are running like a finely tuned Ferrari, all of the time.

Well, probably not so much. Will it be better? Sure! But will it be consistently perfect? No.

Who Should You Hire?

If you are hiring one person, you will likely want to hire a generalist: someone who is knowledgeable about a lot of different things, but an expert in none.

I would put myself into this category. My primary business is video production, so I'm most proficient in that.

Also, I do a decent job running live sound and can accomplish some really nice lighting work. But, I'm not an expert in any of these.

At my church, when something goes wrong with the audio system, I may be able to fix it.

But, for example, we're currently having RF interference issues with our wireless mics. I know that's the problem. But I don't know the cause. As a result we will need to bring in an expert to look at the issue for us.

For lighting I could probably design a lighting plot for our church. However, I don't have the breadth of knowledge of all the fixtures that are out there to pick the best options for our facility. If asked, I'd suggest we bring in a person who does nothing but lighting system design to create a theatrical lighting system for our space. While I could certainly get it done, it probably would not be the best system for the investment we would make.

All this is to try and say, have reasonable expectations of your technical director. It can take many years to become an expert at live audio. It can take many years to become an expert at editing video. It can take many years to become an expert lighting designer. And that's if you are focusing most of your time on that rolenot in leading a team of volunteers.

You can expect that your technical director knows something about most things. But the most valuable thing they can know is when they do NOT know, and know to call in someone who is an expert, not a generalist. Imposing the unrealistic expectation that they can do everything is going to burn (or stress) them out, and you'll quickly lose them to another church, or back to the secular marketplace.

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