How to Show Teen Volunteers the Importance of Tech Production

See the production purpose in a new way.

See the production purpose in a new way.

“How do I make teens understand the importance of what we do?”  I read this question some months ago and it stayed with me.  Recruiting new tech volunteers usually requires looking to those in high school and maybe even middle school.  But the problem is they *can* be the first to flake out, drop out, and, in short, view tech production with less respect than it deserves.  And it wasn’t until a few days ago when I felt I finally had a good answer to this question.

Starting a Youth Service

My daughter, Maria, is involved with a local church youth group and this group usually meets on Sunday evenings.  Just a short time ago, the students decided they wanted their own worship service on Sunday mornings.  They have a youth venue with the equipment but…see where this is going…a few kids want training in the audio equipment.

They want to volunteer because they have a vested interest in the service.  This means their peers will experience the service in a way that’s partially dependent on the quality of their production work. AND THEY KNOW IT!

I almost called that “production quality peer pressure” but that’s not entirely accurate.  While they want the best for their friends, they also want it to be great because it’s what THEY will be doing.  THEY volunteered to help.  THEY want their production work to be good.

You could say they “get it.”  And isn’t that what you want in a volunteer?  But how do you recruit people who “get it?”  What if you already have volunteers who don’t “get it?”  Then what!?!

Why do YOU “get it?”

Why do you think high-quality production work is so important to the church?  It was only when I asked MYSELF this question, in light of the above, that I saw how to make others understand the importance of it.

Upon asking myself “why do I get it,” I thought of two reasons I see as the importance of high-quality production:

1.  All eyes should be forward and upward, focusing on the stage and the cross.  Non-believers should be focused on the service, not distracted by production problems.  First-time visitors should feel blessed by the service, not plagued by amateur production problems.  The congregation should be equally respectfully treated.  No one should ever feel production problems are to be expected at every service.

2.  People should feel corporate worship is presented with the same reverence as their personal worship time, perhaps even more so.  And it’s here I see the key to answering “How do I make teens understand the importance of what we do?”

If you have an amazing personal worship life then you want the congregation to feel the same way during the service.* I’m not saying we can duplicate a personal worship experience but we can reflect the understanding of its importance to the person.

This might be a stretch, but if you don’t have a good personal worship time then you know the importance of AT LEAST experiencing a solid corporate worship time.

*I know some people don’t like singing along at church.  They have their reasons but they do respect the presentation of corporate worship.

What to tell your volunteers

I know a lot of teens who’ve experienced amazing personal worship times, often during church youth retreats.  For some, every moment of their personal worship time is wonderful.  No matter who it is though, everyone knows how wonderful it can be.  And that’s where you start talking with the teens.

All of your volunteers, whether they are adults or teens, should know corporate worship is an extension of personal worship.  They should be given a clear picture of WHY tech production is so important.

Ask them if they’ve ever been distracted during a personal prayer time.

Ask them if they’ve ever had to find a quiet place to read scripture because their environment was noisy.

Then explain how technical production work involves creating a place free of distraction, free of noise, a place where people can focus entirely on God.

Question: How have you conveyed the importance of your work?

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  1. Chuck says

    This will help.

    We’ve had difficulty finding teens ( or anyone really ) to be part of the audio team. The teens that do show up seem to think we just sit in the back, turn the mics on and lean back with our feet up and snooze or play games on our phones. The moment they feel “done” with sound ( turning the mic on ) is the same moment they pick up their phones and start texting, tweeting, snapchat…games and so on. It is quite frustrating to say the least. I’m a complete novice at being the sound guy…it is almost impossible to have a moment to myself. I’m normally the first one in and the last one out. But I’m fine with this. I like my “job”.

  2. Robert Buck says

    We have a high school girl who asked us last year to learn how to operate our Yamaha LS9. She played several parts in a class play, including sound effects and mixing using the school’s ancient analog equipment. We have coached her in many technical aspects of the LS9 and the why’s of mixing and carefully listening to the results. The other day she got upset because one of the musicians made some changes on “her board”. She has made arrangements that following graduation, she will become enrolled in a school for technical productions. Graduates move on into movie production. She studied your manual over the summer and takes her role very serious. If she misses a service, she calls ahead to make sure we are covered. We have a girl in Junior high who is interested in stepping up. Her mother and her mother’s boyfriend are musicians and support on the platform. Keep up your great work. I look forward to learning something new each month. I have done this type of support for over 50 years and still enjoy the results of a high quality professional sound support in our worship service.