As a church tech leader, you can never have too many volunteers.
People get sick, leave your church, go on vacation, or feel called to join a different ministry. There is a constant cycle.
A few years ago, I was blessed to lead a team in which the shortest tenured volunteer had served on it for seven years.
At that time, I had rock solid folks dedicated to the mission, and willing to serve when needed. My volunteer recruitment at that time also was pretty sparse and unplanned, and as people slowly trickled away, eventually there came a near panic mode time where I suddenly found myself desperately needing help.
The key in recruitment is finding the right people continuously.
There are several factors in finding the right people for your tech team. One of the primary ones is a devotion to serving God. People can be trained how to run ProPresenter, how to operate a video switcher, and how to man a video camera. Devotion to the ministry isn’t something that can be taught. It is the inner desire that must exist from the outset to give the very best to God every time they serve.
Channeling that servant heart is a critical part of being a tech leader. Sometimes this means letting good people move on, to where God is calling them.
One of the volunteers on our team recently approached me and explained after much prayer and careful consideration, that God was calling them to focus more on a different ministry. This is where we need to see that being a church tech volunteer, is only part of the body of Christ. This is also why we need to be continuously recruiting people.
Another factor in finding the right people for your team, is understanding that people have different learning styles. Some people learn very well by reading step-by-step instructions. Others need to be hands on, with someone guiding their way. Keep this in mind, as you bring new people on. Openly ask new recruits how they learn best. Explain that you want to help them succeed in the ministry. This support will go a long way in not only helping to quickly bring people on board, but will help you develop a relationship with your new team members as well.
In addition to understanding how your recruits learn, it’s important to break things down and have a plan. If you start them off immediately, having them try to learn a video switcher and a lighting console all at once, they’ll become overwhelmed with everything, and feel like they won’t be successful.
Starting with having them learn your presentation software (ProPresenter, EasyWorship, MediaShout, OpenLP, etc.) is usually the best place for a new volunteer to get comfortable. After a few months, start to build on that, into other roles that you have that are more complex.
So where do you find these mysterious volunteers?
First, you have to ask. Ask the people in your small group, ask the people you’re friends with in the church. Start it off by simply saying, “Hey, why don’t you come see what we do behind the scenes?” or “I think your attention to detail would be a huge asset on the tech team.”
Having a relationship with someone ahead of time helps when recruiting new team members.
Second, you have to ask beyond your inner circle. Add a slide to your digital signage or announcement loop. If you always have someone working media, oftentimes people just don’t know you need help.
One of the most effective ways I’ve recruited was to hang a “Help Wanted: Inquire Within” sign on our booth. This can go too far, though. I find that If you’re asking every week, 52 weeks a year, people will just become immune to your pleas for help. Ask every two to three months.
If your church has guest or connection cards, be sure that the tech team is listed out as a ministry. People new to your church can get connected by simply checking off a box, saying they have an interest in a particular ministry. Also for guests and newcomers, make sure your website indicates what you do, and encourages people to get involved in your ministry. While it may not generate huge amounts of interest, with a minimal effort you will more than likely get one to two volunteers a year just from this, from a church with 200 to 300 members in its congregation.
Lastly, look to some teenagers for help. Teens have grown up around technology and are used to having it as part of their everyday lives.
With this, you first need to lay out some ground rules about who will be serving where and when.
For that new member of the tech team, have a discussion with the teen’s parent about your expectations as the leader of the team, and make sure that they will be able to reliably serve when scheduled.
Another key guideline is to make sure you or any other volunteer isn’t alone with a teen who is part of the team at any time. Working with teens can be a little tricky to navigate, but you have a chance to not only have a great volunteer, but you’re able to build a mentorship type relationship, that can have an eternal impact on a young life.
The amount of effort you are putting into recruitment and training for your team, will be a determining factor in your overall success.
Connect with your team and realize that volunteers aren’t just bodies filing slots in your schedule.
Serving in a ministry requires careful thought, training and continuous prayer. The volunteers on your team shouldn’t be serving for you, they should be serving for Him.
As a leader, be sure you are conveying to your entire team that God is the head of the ministry, and serving Him is above all.