When it comes to church growth and multi-site expansion, staffing resources are often a top concern. Developing a volunteer staff is a key strategy for growth plans within churches with limited budgets.
The idea of building volunteer-friendly systems can be tough for many tech guys. At times, we get into the mindset, "It's just easier if I do it myself," or we try to justify not training up volunteers with idea, "This is my responsibility; why should someone else have to do it?"
The truth is, we all need some help. Without assistance, we never get the opportunity to worship, listen to the sermon with our full attention, or even take a vacation without feeling stressed. As such, it is important to make sure we always have someone in place to cover for us or even replace us. In addition to helping us ourselves, this also enables our churches to maintain credible services with or without our presence.
ACQUIRING SIMPLER EQUIPMENT
Too often, church technology leaders acquire overly complicated gear. Though the goal of upholding high standards is admirable, the high-level gear is often too tough for an entry level volunteer to run.
In lighting, for example, the fancy consoles with tons of buttons rarely have sufficient volunteers to man them while the simple, computer-based consoles nearly always have someone there. Why? Because the simple console is set up for entry-level lighting volunteers to learn.
We need to learn to shift our mindset from the "but this is what all the pros are using" mentality to a "this will work for my space AND be easy for a volunteer to manage." By changing the way we think about acquiring gear, we will make the equipment less intimidating (fewer extra buttons, faders, and knobs) and simplify the volunteer onboarding process.
SIMPLIFYING EXISTING EQUIPMENT
Now, what if you already have complicated gear, and replacing it just is not an option? In this case, taking a few hours each week to simplify the equipment's management will go a long way. Perhaps, for example, you don't really need to be so complex in the way you use that switcher or console, or whatever else you have around.
Simplifying complicated equipment often means having to dig deeper into it than ever before. By increasing your knowledge of your complicated equipment, you may actually create background operations, which in turn, enable an easier interface or functionality.
RECORDING TRAINING SESSIONS
Whatever your equipment, you will need to appropriately train all your volunteers. The most efficient way is to do it just once. If done correctly, you can hold a single training session and, by setting a couple well-placed cameras, record the session for future use.
KEVIN PENROD the lighting designer at Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo, Texas. He studied Theatre Arts at West Texas A&M, with concentrations in Lighting Design and Business Management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.