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Volunteers beyond the basics
It helps prospective volunteers understand the commitment that you are asking of him or her to make, if you can provide them with goals and clear job descriptions.

Media Ministry Volunteers: Going Beyond the Basics

Volunteers expect leaders to manage expectations within the ministry, leaving nothing to chance, so a consistent schedule is recommended.

In my experience working with ministries, which includes 10 years on staff at my local church, followed by another 10 years supporting ministries with their video workflows, I have yet to meet a media minister or ministry that functions 100 percent on full-time church staff members.

People generally rise to the level of expectation, but they should always have a goal to shoot for, and a clearly defined job description is a great start.

Every single church we work with requires a healthy group of volunteers, to pull off their Sunday services with media, hardware, software, and audio gear. 

Within a church, volunteers are typically members that want to use their talents or skills to aid the church and fulfill its needs during worship services.

So how does a media minister find, engage, encourage and manage such folks to participate in a church’s media ministry, to help deliver excellence on a regular basis?

In this article, I’ll focus on getting you beyond the basics of building and managing a staff of volunteers to deliver an excellent worship experience. I’ll be doing this by listing out a few of the best practices observed from the best media teams that I’ve seen in my 20 years of working with ministries.

Let’s have a look at a few topics that we believe can help you.

Seek and Ye Shall Find

The first step to building your volunteer media team is finding your volunteers. A popular way to find interested media volunteers is running an announcement slide on your IMAG screens, before or between services. Delivering a clean graphic that gets to the point helps. 

Another method is running a short promo video outlining the volunteer needs in the ministry. This can be very effective, as it shows the importance of media volunteers from the top down. If your pastor approves running this video during a worship service, it further highlights the importance to the congregation, and prospective volunteer candidates. 

It goes without saying that any volunteer that commits to help must have a heart for ministry, be accountable to the team, and represent the ministry, while on campus in a forthright manner. Some media ministers have combed over prospective volunteer’s social media accounts, to get a feel for a person’s heart.

Once you’ve locked down the commitment for a team to help run Front of House, cameras, or ProPresenter, you should move to the next steps. 

Be Fruitful and Multiply

Once you’ve locked down a few volunteers, ask them to invite friends to volunteer as well. It is widely known that technical folks run in similar circles and oftentimes work together outside the church. This can be a great way to build your ministry team, while also sharing the Gospel with those seeking Jesus and building the body. Besides, friends like to serve together and encourage each other, so the chemistry within the group is almost guaranteed. 

Define the Position

It helps prospective volunteers understand the commitment that you are asking of him or her to make, if you can provide them with goals and clear job descriptions. It also shows that you are serious about what you do in the media department, by simply offering this information.

People generally rise to the level of expectation, but they should always have a goal to shoot for, and a clearly defined job description is a great start.  

Training

Once you’ve defined various positions within your media ministry, it’s time to begin training. As anyone in media (for ministry) can attest, anything short of excellence in each service is unacceptable.

The goal for media execution in ministry is to help the worship team and preaching pastors deliver an overall worship experience devoid of distractions, to not take away from the message and experience being delivered. A solid, focused training program will help reach these goals while also benefiting recruitment, long-term retention, and continued growth of your volunteer base.

Certification

Creating a certification program takes your training to the next level. This puts a timeline on a training schedule and will often filter out volunteers who are less than committed. Depending on your resources, a certification program can lead your volunteers to acquire near professional level skills, while also committing to a deep level of accountability. A brief test or quiz following the training is also suggested.

Some ministries have their certified volunteers sign a contract, showing that both the ministry and volunteers are committed to the goals of the church. Certification is an excellent way to ensure you won’t be scrambling for head count on a Sunday morning, and that your crew is accountable to the posted schedule and will arrive on time, prepared to serve.  

Scheduling 

Volunteers expect leaders to manage expectations within the ministry, leaving nothing to chance, so a consistent schedule is recommended. In the past, a simple spreadsheet could work, but is only recommended for small teams. The go-to scheduling program over the last 10 years has been Planning Center Online, or PCO.

PCO allows for dynamic scheduling, reminders and simple access via web or mobile apps, so a volunteer can be notified and reminded regularly. You can create groups, schedule services months in advance, and allow for volunteer vacation time requests and acceptance of specific schedules. PCO is very powerful and can help remove the burden of keeping track of who was scheduled, and for what position. 

Communicate 

Volunteers serve to become more involved in their ministry – good communication will make sure they feel involved. Most media volunteers have an affinity for technology by nature, so communicating regularly to the group via a texting app can be a great idea. Mobile apps like GroupMe and WhatsApp offer simple group broadcast distribution to one or more groups of contacts. This is a great way to share encouragement during the week or any changes affecting the team prior to a service time or weekend. 

Have Fun & Fellowship

Many get involved in media ministry for the fellowship and opportunity to serve their church, but let’s face it, hanging onto a camera for an hour or more while listening to a director call shots in a headset, can be stressful for both the mind and body.

It is important that volunteers have a space to congregate, both prior to and following services, to prepare, unwind, and enjoy fellowship. This is where you, as their minister, can pray for and encourage your team, feed them, and make sure the coffee is always hot and the bottled water cold.

The space can also feature a wall displaying team member certifications (with photos), to help the team get to know each other. A young volunteer can easily see who is most committed and seasoned, and then seek answers and encouragement from leaders within each serving segment, be it Front of House, camera operation, or video directing. 

There are several things media ministers can do to encourage a volunteer staff.

We hope that these tips will serve to inspire your ministry’s efforts to grow and develop your volunteer team to create the best possible experience for both your volunteers and your congregation as a whole. 

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