The tech team is the backbone of many churches and is a group that needs constant training, inspiration and empowerment. But, according to Steven Cobb, A/V systems director at San Antonio-based Oak Hills Church, effective, relevant and quality training isn't always easy to find.
"Free internet education is cluttered while focused education is expensive," Cobb shares. "In today's society it's incredibly easy to learn whatever you want. The downside is that you have to filter through everything to find what you need or to find what is correct."
Is there an affordable and accurate solution for the myriad number of tech staff and volunteers in need of ongoing development? There is. The Tech Team Education and Training Track at this year's WFX REACH Conferences in San Antonio and Raleigh, N.C. was designed to answer this challenge specifically. Sessions will provide in-depth information on the latest equipment and trends while covering the basics and focusing on the WHY behind technical ministry. The track's faculty is made up of regional experts who have risen through the ranks of technical ministry, serve churches as technical consultants, or in some cases, both.
Intended to deliver the quality education of the annual Worship Facilities Conference and Expo (WFX) in less time, the WFX REACH Conferences are 1.5 day events hosted by local churches in two distinct regions each year. The aim of REACH's organizers is to make the best of WFX affordable and accessible to more churches. "It's a great opportunity to learn in a WFX environment without needing to spend too much money on traveling costs," adds Cobb.
Cobb, who will lead a Tech Team Track session at the San Antonio REACH, also points out that a regional conference like REACH offers attendees the opportunity to connect with other local teams. "It's important to get to know other teams in [your] area so you can learn from one another," he says.
"Staying abreast and learning the latest technologies is the biggest challenge [faced by tech teams]," says National Sales Manger for Mega Systems, Inc., Rich Anders, who will lead a session at REACH San Antonio titled, "Moving Lights".
He goes on, "Especially if the church has products that are still operating, [tech staff] might loose sight of the benefits of getting newer gear that would save them more in the long run or enhance the worship experience for their members."
A major portion of the track's sessions are focused on equipmentwhat's needed, why it's needed and how to best use it. Anders' session is an in-depth discussion on choosing the right moving lights for your church based on factors such as room size and capabilities, as well as discovering potential uses for different aspects of the service. "There are a lot of misconceptions about moving heads. Until recently, churches may not have realized they could fit their needs. It's important for churches to know that many moving heads use LEDs, have quiet operation, long life, etc.," Anders says.
Revisiting the Basics
Cobb's session, titled "Fundamentals of Audio" also speaks to the rapidly changing equipment landscape while stressing the importance of good basic training for tech team members. He points out that many might take "fundamental" to mean elementary or uncomplicated, but fundamentals are actually the very necessary foundational understanding of how audio is created, how we interpret sound, and how important it is to revisit basic concepts with a fresh perspective.
"The fundamentals of audio are important because there are many engineers operating in churches today who want to improve, but lack some of the fundamental knowledge of how sound is created and how to shape the sound of instruments and voices to accurately reflect the original sound," Cobb shares.
Other Tech Team Track sessions will discuss camera selection and video production, multiscreen and environmental projection technologies, and additional audio and lighting topics.
The 2016 WFX REACH Conferences will be held May 16-17, 2016, at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Raleigh, and May 19-20, 2016, at Westover Hills Assembly of God in San Antonio. Learn more or register for either WFX REACH Conference at wfxreach.com.