Easter is coming, whether you’re ready or not. The countdown has begun and it’s T-Minus 30 days now.
I love Easter – it’s a celebration that never gets old. In the production/tech world, this is our chance to pull out all the stops. Doing this usually leads to many moving parts working as one to create a large scale “production.” Keeping those parts in order can take some massive juggling skills. Being someone who is blessed with ADD, I get easily distracted. Because of that, I work very hard to create systems to keep things in order and help me grow in my project management skills.
Project Management, could be a post in itself – and it will be – it is the first step I take in leading my team through the process of preparing for Easter. The key for me is to not look at it as though it is this enormous project, but break it into manageable steps. Instead of boring you with all the little things, here are the big three I am working on to make sure I’m prepared. These can then be broken into smaller tasks using a web based software called Teamwork.com.
I would say do not read this post until December 25th, but that would defeat the reason for posting it now. I want to wrap this series up by giving you permission to rest.
I’m not your boss, but I’m still telling you that you need to take it easy for a bit. If you have been around the church for even a short amount of time, you know that there are busy seasons and slower seasons, an ebb and flow to the schedule. However, it often seems more ebb than flow. Your church will most likely see a huge increase in attendance over the next few weeks. You’ll feel the urge to continue the production level that has happened all Christmas as a means of “attracting” them to come back after the new year. Without getting into a “church is not a show” conversation I want to caution you from not taking time to breathe.
Maybe ease into the next series with some single messages (One ofs) that don’t require a large amount of staging. It’s very important to make sure that the many hours put in over the month of December are compensated with some much deserved relax time in January.
I like to use the first part of January to let my guys work on whatever makes them feel good at work. Everyone has that project they wanted to accomplish all last year but couldn’t find the time. Well the clock has started over and it’s best to get it out-of-the-way first before everything else begins piling on.
Also make sure you spread the accolades. Thank the volunteers, thank your staff, and please, don’t forget to thank the spouses who gave up time with their husband or wife so they could be at church. You can never say thank you enough in these situations.
Well I hope your services go off without a bang? Unless you’re using pyro then I hope it’s awesome and know I’m jealous.
Volunteers are the life force behind any successful church. Without them, not much of anything could happen. While having staff is great, I am not aware of any churches that survive solely on the use of paid staff members. With this immense need for volunteers, it’s important to show them that you acknowledge their sacrifice of time. I’m aware that they are giving it to the Lord as an offering, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for them. A happy, appreciated team gets much more accomplished than one that’s run out of guilt and pressure.
This Christmas Season, make sure you go out of your way to encourage those that serve so faithfully along side of you.
Everyone works better when there is food involved. Plan a hospitality area for the team and include their families if you can. Christmas Eve services require a lot more of a time commitment than the average weekend, usually covering dinnertime. Having a place to grab a soda (Pop, Coke, whatever you call it) and a snack goes a long way to keeping volunteers happy. There is no right or wrong way to setup a hospitality area, just make sure to pamper your volunteers. It really is more the thought that counts (and cookies).
Communicate early, and often. Just like with rehearsals, volunteers are not always in all the meetings leading up to the service. You have to continually bring them into the loop. A well informed volunteer is much more effective, and may even think of an overlooked area. As soon as I have times for the Christmas services (usually sometime in August or September), I send out my first round of emails letting the group know; that way they can begin looking at their schedules and planning to serve.
Respect Their Time
Volunteers have families, jobs, and other commitments. Christmas is a huge ask, so look for ways to lessen the load for them. One idea is to split serving opportunities when possible. I divide our camera operators up between the services: as long as the video director is on their game, and the camera op has been part of a rehearsal or run through we tend to have very few mistakes.
Most of the time, volunteers will bend over backwards for you if you treat them right. Make sure you’re loving on them extra this season.
In an effort to respect your time I purposely kept this post short. Join the conversation though and share if you’re doing something special to honor your volunteers this year.
Twice this week I have been asked by different churches how we go about recruiting volunteers. This a giant weight hanging over the heads of Tech Directors and Worship Leaders in all kinds of churches. I know because I have asked this same question many times in the past and still do. What I have found, is that there is no magical formula for this. Some things work well at one church and flop at another. I have tried many things as a TD, most have gained me zero volunteers, but my current model seems to be working.
For the last 2 years, there has been a “Join the Tech Team” slide in the pre/post announcement rotation. From that I think maybe I have had 2 people contact me, neither joined the team. We created a video story of one of our key volunteers (See it here) which went over really well, but did open the flood gates of volunteers. What I began to see was that to get people motivated to serve on tech, I needed more than a commercial – we needed a personal touch.
Much like inviting a friend to church, I began instilling in our current team that similar to a doctor’s office: referrals are our best recruitment tool. Someone is much more likely to come to church if they are asked, same with serving, a personal touch goes a long way in getting people in the door.
I encourage our team to bring people with them. I’ll put a headset on them, or even put them to work on an open position. People experiencing the behind the scenes for themselves and realizing it’s not as scary as it looks from the audience’s perspective. New people will believe the a current volunteer who says it’s easy than a paid tech guy. There is that assumed idea that of course I find it easy, that’s my job.
This is what I have found that works for us. I still leave the bulletin asks in every so often, I don’t want to give up the print real estate. The pre/post service slides are still running each week too. Every church is different so some ways may work better for you than at another church. You can’t go wrong with becoming more personal though. So get out there and start trying new things.