In the church tech world, it generally doesn't matter how new the gear is, how big the budget is, or how solid the systems are if there's not a deep and healthy team to step in, to run services each week.
People naturally model the behavior that's in front of them, especially if it's being done by someone in authority.
Regardless of the church size, we are always dependent upon a group of staff or volunteers to operate equipment during services and events. And in almost all cases, probably every church in the world wishes that it had more people available to serve on the tech team.
Instead of always focusing on how to add more people to the team, I believe our first target as leaders should be to ensure that our current team is as healthy as possible. After all, people are attracted to healthy environments, and the stronger our current team culture becomes, the easier it will be to add new people to the team, with the expectation that they stick around for the long-term.
As leaders, I believe there are three key areas we can focus on, as we work to strengthen the development of our production teams:
1. Establish and embody our department values.
It's one thing to tell people what's important. But it's another thing entirely to live out and model those same things. If it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then an action is probably worth a thousand pictures. As a word of wisdom says, "More is caught than taught!"
People naturally model the behavior that's in front of them, especially if it's being done by someone in authority. So, the expectations we have for our team, whether in behavior, attitude, performance, or character, need to be first modeled in the leader, before they're expected of the team.
Whatever ends up being the important attributes of our team, I need to ensure that I'm constantly reminding my team of those things, and making sure they stay at the heart of our decision-making process.
Those values should be the filter through which we make decisions, and they should also be used to determine whether our staff and volunteers are growing the right way (and are focused on the right things).
I never want to make the mistake as a leader of overlooking values, just because I'm desperate for talent. If someone on our team isn't embodying the things that are important to us, I need to be willing to confront that person and coach them towards change, regardless of how talented they are.
Sometimes, I believe we as leaders are hesitant to confront those type of people, because we're scared they'll walk away from the team that results in a gaping talent hole. But by not addressing a potentially troublesome scenario, we show our team that in actuality, talent is more important than character or values, and that those things are only necessary to embody if we don't have the overwhelming talent to compensate for their deficiency.
Remember, my team will follow my lead, so I must choose wisely what to value and prioritize.
2. Lead selflessly.
It can get easy to be a selfish leader, especially when we're looking at our teams.
We are often overwhelmed with the amount of work that must be accomplished, so it becomes natural to just look at people as pawns that we can place wherever it's convenient, in order to get the most work done quickly.
However, I need to be selfless and strategic when I place people in roles on the team, whether in services or during the week.
Even though I have the ability as the leader to delegate any task on my plate, I should always remember that people will always be willing to go the extra mile for someone they think believes in them.
So, before I start assigning roles and tasks, I should first take the time to invest individually in each member of my team, to determine their respective strengths and weaknesses. That way, instead of blindly shoving people into slots or dumping duties on each team member, I can intentionally parcel out roles to people who will actually enjoy them.
Sometimes, people are just waiting for their opportunity to shine, and they are unable to do so, because I'm unwilling to fully hand over some responsibilities.
I must remember that I'll never know the full depth of talent or potential on my team unless I allow the team members to be in a position to try something new. And setting those people up for success on a new endeavor has to first start with me intentionally stepping out of my busy world and slowing down my schedule, so I can hear their individual hearts.
3. Celebrate the wins.
Nobody enjoys feeling that their only role is to show up, do some work, and then punch the clock to go home, only to mindlessly repeat that same process week in and week out. We all like doing something fun that we know is making a significant impact in some way.
People who serve in ministry carry this burden in a special way. Many of us are sacrificing potentially lucrative careers, losing sleep, giving up time with hobbies or family, just to be part of our local church.
We do it, because we know that the church is making a difference. But since we often spend most of our time serving in the back or behind-the-scenes, we often get disconnected from the actual front-line ministry impact.
Whether staff or volunteer, all of us want to know that what we're doing does matter. And as the leader of my team, it's up to me to ensure that my team is constantly being reminded of the impact they're making.
So, I need to make it a priority as much as possible to step out of the task-focused world we often live in, and take a break to just celebrate!
Whether it's something simple like bringing in food or going out for a movie, I need to intentionally create opportunities for our team to just have some fun together.
In a similar vein, when the team has worked hard to pull off a service or special event, I need to ensure that I'm sharing stories of impact with them, so they hear the testimonies about the lives that have been impacted and changed, because of our usage of technology.
These moments won't happen by accident, so they must be intentional. Since most of us tech folks aren't naturally inclined to think along these lines, it creates even more importance on us forcing things to stop long enough, so we can remind everyone of the impact we're making.
We should celebrate our victories as a team, and we need to ensure that we're creating a fun atmosphere that people enjoy being part of.
When we stay focused on fun, and we're committed to living out consistent values with people serving in a role where they know they're making a difference, our teams will continue to grow healthier and stronger. That, in turn, will become attractive, making our team a natural destination for those in our church who are looking to jump on a team and make a difference.