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Understanding the Challenge of Recruiting Tech Volunteers

Understanding the Challenge of Recruiting Tech Volunteers

To reach out and locate individuals who would be well suited to serve on your tech teams requires some basic understanding of the challenges of recruiting technical volunteers.

To reach out and locate individuals who would be well suited to serve on your tech teams requires some basic understanding of the challenges of recruiting technical volunteers.

The challenge? Running audio, video and lighting systems is only 50 percent technical. The other 50 percent is artistic. Yes, it's art.

Let's go for another analogy.

There's hardly a person on this planet that can't play an instrument. Seriously. Unless you have physical handicaps, you can place your fingers over the keys of a piano, press down, and musical notes will come out. Voilayou've just played a piano.

However, the subset of those people who can make music when playing an instrument is much smaller. There's a difference between playing an instrument, and making music. And while pretty much anyone can be taught the mechanics of playing an instrument, the art of actually making music is a gifting, not a skill. It can't really be taught. If you don't have the gift, you will never be very good at making music.

Technical ministries is similar. Mixing audio is like playing an instrument, with each input channel (guitar, piano, multiple drum inputs, and each vocalists' microphone) like a chord in a song. Balancing them; knowing when to boost one channel and bring lower another; judging proper overall volume for the moment; knowing how to add effects that add to the emotion of a song and not detractthis is all art, and is a gifting, just like being able to pick up some sheet music and playing it in a way that brings tears to people's eyes.

When I started interviewing for my first technical ministries staff position, I commented to the man I was interviewing with that the bands I had mixed up to that point were rather small, not requiring a lot of input channels. The church I was interviewing with would frequently have 40-50 input channels for the orchestra, praise team and choir. I expressed concern about whether I could handle that many channels, and his response was, "if you can mix, then you can mix."

If you wonder why, even with volunteers who have been doing it for a decade or more, the live music at your church never seems to sound quite right, this may be your problem.

Technical ministries attracts technical people who love the buttons and knobs, and churches understandably look for those people because it is a technical area. However, the technical aspects can be taught to even non-technical people if they are open and willing to learn. The art of making music from the input channels of the audio console, or the art of making good video transitions in your promo videos, or the art of making beautiful lighting that enhances your worship service instead of being a distraction from the purpose of worshipping God, is a gifting, and can't truly be taught.

Look for giftedness before technical know-how.

TAGS: Gear Staffing
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