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Training volunteers on tech teams
We then sit together and have another chat, about their vision and how they feel that they could best be of service. At this time, I have had conversations with them and my team, and together we try to determine the best place for each of our volunteers, based on needs, heart, and talent.

Training Volunteers on Tech Teams: Many Steps Toward Success

Our charge is to remember that we are training them, with more than skills to run a video camera. We are teaching them to be a part of the message.

It is harder than it seems.

We also need to be mindful of the fact that new volunteers can become overwhelmed early.

I would love to be able to sit someone behind a video camera, and say, “OK, just point the camera at the pastor and keep him in the frame.”

For some people, it is that easy.

Most people, however, find that they are intimidated with new things, especially technology.

I like to start new volunteers off, by showing them everything that we do.

From there, I like to have a conversation with them about what they could see themselves doing as a volunteer, and why they want to be a part of our team. Then together, we cast a vision for their service on our team.

What usually follows is that we have them shadowing someone at one or more of our stations.

We then sit together and have another chat, about their vision and how they feel that they could best be of service. At this time, I have had conversations with them and my team, and together we try to determine the best place for each of our volunteers, based on needs, heart, and talent.

Following that most recent chat, we put together a training plan for each volunteer. If I have two or more people, we will have an orientation meeting. Otherwise, I will go over our vision of service with them and take them on a tour of our facilities.

To start moving forward on learning a role, we then craft a training schedule that fits the job that they will be learning to do. I will take them to the equipment, after which I explain in simple terms what each piece of equipment is and how we use each of them.

Once scheduled, that time begins by having that volunteer being shadowed by someone during service for a couple of weeks. That is followed by a more in-depth training with our trainer on that piece of equipment. We will have training for several weeks before having someone sit to do a run-through with a trainer of a basic service, so that they can become comfortable without anyone watching.

I want to stop and say that there is more to training, than just showing someone how to work a piece of equipment.

You must also get to know this person and their background and family. We must also introduce them to other members of the team. Many of us arrive early and chit chat with each other, getting to know one another.

My team leaders and I talk frequently and share our information, so that we may all get to know the volunteers and help make them feel at home in our group.

We also need to be mindful of the fact that new volunteers can become overwhelmed early. I would not put them into a full-time rotation, until they have completely become comfortable in that position, and you have seen the effects of their service on their own worship.

Recognize the value of having each of your volunteers be with their family worshipping in the seats once or twice a month. They need to be filled, in order to give while volunteering.

The training that we do is supplemented by printed materials, such as books, articles, and manuals, as well as videos that we have produced.

It is good to video capture your training sessions, so that your volunteers can supplement lectures and reading with a video, to help reinforce what they have already learned. When I think someone is ready, I sit in the operator’s chair and ask them to teach me, as if I had no knowledge of this apparatus. This helps them think through what they are doing and allows them to see things in a new way.

It is then that I begin to give them the vision that we create with their position.

Each station has its own unique way of transforming what is going on up front, into the message that the pastor is leading us to.

I have weekly discussions with the pastors and music director on what their message is, and how they rely on us to get that message across, through technology.

We need to remember that we use these tools for the message of Christ. And it is through our use of these devices, that helps the Spirit connect with those who need and long for that message.

Training an individual to run a piece of equipment is not that complicated to do. Our charge is to remember that we are training them, with more than skills to run a a camera. We are teaching them to be a part of the message.

We must come with a true heart, which we get in our own worship and fellowship with others. We bear a great responsibility to be their guide, through this process and to help them understand the role that they play.

We must not forget that it is just as important that our volunteers get fed on a consistent basis. It is far too easy to get busy and forget to tend to the needs of our staff.

Part of the training should be instructions on the importance of their role in the church and their family, and for them to keep each in proper proportion.

We must look out for each other. Before, during and after training, we need to remember that we are a family and that our job is to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated, and to let God do the rest.

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