[Guest Post: Brian Gowing] In this time of the American Presidential Primary Race, consider what you should look for in a tech team candidate. Brian examines the six traits desirable in an audio team candidate.
A well-functioning team can move mountains and make the impossible possible. And they can do it because they work together as one, with good morale and great chemistry. I’ve been at churches that have these types of technical teams and it takes my breath away to watch them in action. It’s like watching the best NASCAR pit crew in the world. I’ve also been at churches where the technical ministry is filled with toxic personality types and they couldn’t function as a team if their lives depended on it. Where does your church technical team rank? I’m going to guess somewhere between the two extremes.
So what makes for a good technical team candidate? Here are some traits that I think are important. They take the acronym of F.A.T.H.E.R.
When you’re looking for someone to be on the team you want someone who is faithful. That means they come to just about all of your services. Tech team ministry means a lot of hours spent doing something at the church. If someone comes to church once in a while their heart isn’t in the right place. You want someone who loves coming to church and drenching themselves in God’s grace.
You need someone who is available and is flexible enough to be able to fill in when someone else can’t. Ask yourself this question. Do you really need someone who tells you they can only serve the 3rd Sunday of every month no matter what? Part of the tech ministry is getting together to fix something, put something new in, or just plain hang around and develop friendships with the rest of the tech team.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into churches to debug their sound systems and ask the tech folks if they know what all the knobs and equipment do and been told that they don’t really know. You want someone that has a curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. I’ve been doing church tech for about 10 years and secular sound for another 5. I STILL have a LOT to learn and that’s one of the things I enjoy about this ministry. As much as I know there’s still more to learn and I learn from anyone. Every church I visit I learn something new. It could be as simple as something I never thought of or something that just looking at doesn’t make sense but it works.
I have a standing rule for my tech teams. I don’t care how good you think you are. I don’t care if you’ve worked in the industry since before there were mixers, or if you’re a Grammy-award winning engineer. If you can’t humble yourself to be a servant first and be willing to help out the team, even in the grunt jobs, I don’t want you on the team.
Let me give you an example. At one of the churches that I served at we started out as a portable church, which means every week we set up and tore down the equipment. Since this was in the desert region of Southern California, the heat used to get pretty brutal by the time we tore down and shoved everything back into the trailer. I had 3 volunteers that knew nothing about sound or video when we started. After 3 years we got the opportunity to move into a building. Wouldn’t you know that as soon as we did, I get a guy coming up and telling me how great he is and how he owns his own home theater company and that he’d like to mix sound because he’s noticed that the sound isn’t right according to him? Happened to be a Sunday when one of my loyal tech team members was mixing. The blowhard then proceeded to let me know that he would be happy to do the mixing but he felt the other menial tasks should be given to the less experienced members.
Guess how long it took me to tell him thanks but no thanks. When he asked why in a shocked tone I pointedly told him that the other 3 team members spent years humping equipment in and out without any complaints. They pitched in whenever extra help was needed and they didn’t care whether they were in the “glory position” or were coiling cable as long as they were serving with the other team members.
Enthusiastic people will get you into trouble. But I love them! They’ll get you, or realistically themselves, into trouble because they’ll sometimes leap before they look. These are the types that will be looking at the board during the sermon and see a button that’s out of place and press it without thinking of all the ramifications of pushing it! But you know what? They make life on the tech team lively. These are the types that will soak up all the user manuals and become the subject matter experts. They will constantly challenge your knowledge of equipment and they’ll keep you on your toes.
This is stewardship at its finest. Responsible people look out for the equipment and treat it as their own. These are the people who put a tarp over equipment coming in and out of a portable church because they don’t want it to get wet. These are the folks that keep an eye on the equipment and put them back where they are supposed to be. These are the people that don’t flake out on a Sunday when they’re scheduled because something more fun came up. The tech ministry gets to play with the most expensive equipment the church owns. Do you really want someone who won’t take care of it?
I often tell people I love what God has allowed me to do. If I won the lottery today I’d do what I do for churches for free. I love it that much. That’s the kind of mentality you want to look for. Don’t be afraid to look outside of a technical person if they have these traits. You can always teach them the technical part of the job.
Brian Gowing has helped over 30 churches meet their technology requirements. Brian works towards shepherding the church, analyzing their technical requirements, sourcing the equipment, installing the equipment and training the volunteer personnel. As he likes to say ‘equipping the saints with technology to help spread the Good News.’ Here is the original article.
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