A few months ago, a good friend of mine was the Tech Director in a local church. But one day he walked into his boss’s office and simply quit his job. My friend is a husband and father of one boy and had recently purchased his first house. On the professional side, he always displayed incredible work ethics and commitment to the ministry. But he walked away from a job he’d held for years serving in a local church and decided to pursue a job outside the ministry with a technology company.
A few days later, we had the chance to meet and talk. I was curious to learn from him what had led him to make such a change that would not only affect his job but also his calling. He is a very energetic and creative person, always developing new ideas, and I was certain that when he left the ministry, the church would greatly miss him.
When we met, I asked him a simple question. “Why did you decide to leave the ministry?”
At first, he looked surprised. But he quickly corrected me and said, “I’m not leaving the ministry.”
With relief, I thought for a brief moment that he was not walking away from his calling. But I waited for a more comprehensive answer. Honestly, I was expecting some common answers like needed more money, was in search of new challenges, or even it was time to move on to something new.
Instead, he gave me a different answer. “I lost my passion for THIS ministry.” That response took us into a 2-hour conversation that opened my mind and heart to things I should consider as a pastor and ministry leader.
He explained that the environment he was in led him to lose his passion for the ministry where he served. This came to be as a warning sign. Was it possible that my leadership style could create an environment in a way that volunteers may also lose their passion for the ministry?
In the church tech world, it is easy for us, as ministry leaders and volunteers, to lose sight of WHY we do WHAT we do and instead, focus on things like perfection, excellence and performance ONLY. After all, we are mostly judged by those things. And they are, and should be, part of what we do. But perfection, excellence and performance ONLY should NEVER represent WHY and WHAT we do.
As ministries grow, churches also face an increased risk of replacing the passion volunteers and staff have for the ministry with complex, bureaucratic ways to achieve things like efficiency and excellence. Please, don’t get me wrong. I am all about efficiency and excellence. But I am also convinced that we must make every effort to lead people by our deep passion for God’s purpose in our own lives.
So, what can we, as ministry leaders, do to keep reaching for excellence without driving out the passion our volunteers should have for the ministry where they serve? Here are few things I think may help us to achieve these goals.
- The WHY comes before the WHAT
Many times we ask our volunteers to know the job and do it well, because excellence pleases God. True, God deserves our best. But remember, first, to serve Him. In any capacity, it is an act of worship.
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” Luke 4:5-8
Serving in church should not be associated with a job you do. It requires commitment, energy and sacrifice, so you must find your passion first (this rule can also apply to your job, but I am only referring to volunteer work at church). That is what will allow you to fully experience WHY you do WHAT you do. During my last few years of leading volunteers, I intentionally devoted time to have front and center a clear understanding that WHAT they did every weekend had an eternal value. Even if what they did was done from behind the scenes, the reality of its value never changed. In church, real excellence is driven by a true passion for what you do for God and others.
- Passion is contagious
People most likely will follow ministry leaders who display real and genuine passion for the ministry they serve. Many times, people will come to you first because there is something attractive about your ministry to them. For example, if they like kids, their initial feeling may be to serve in a children’s ministry. If they have some interest in technology, they may feel like serving with the tech team. The problem is that these initial feelings do not usually translate into long-term commitment. Anything driven by passion will generate commitment, because now the person doesn’t just do something they like, now they serve with PURPOSE. Ministry leaders must display they passion for the ministry they serve so other can see and follow.\
- Make it relational
Sometimes ministry leaders feel that for some unknown reason, volunteers are less interested in serving, or maybe less committed to the schedule. Maybe it is because more and more they feel like they are part of a transactional environment instead of relational ministry. God designed us to have a relationship with Him (1 Corinthians 1:9 – God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.) and each other (Romans 12:9-10 – Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.) When serving in ministry, relationship should be the driving force behind how people serve with you in the first place.
ProPresenter is a very powerful program, and one that I use on a regular basis. Today I wanted to share a few hidden tips and tricks of the ProPresenter interface to help you edit slides more quickly, operate the program in a more powerful way and inevitably save time! So here are my hidden tips and tricks of ProPresenter:
I have written in the past about how being a tech director can be a lonely gig, and how it’s important to find a community for your own spiritual health. My heart has lately turned more outward, though, and I have been looking at the community as a whole. I’m not sure about where you live but from here at my church I can see two other churches, and beyond that I could easily walk to four more. I think the saying about swinging cats and hitting churches comes to mind here (not sure why you’d swing a cat at a church, but I’m open minded.)
Every year, we want to provide, in the best way possible, a great worship experience to thousands of people who come celebrate Easter with us on 2 campuses and also on the Online campus. During this year’s Easter celebration at Mount Pleasant Christian Church, we took visual worship to new levels. During the months of January and February, I spent some time with the Worship and Arts pastor working on elements and details for this special service.
By the end of February, I had the stage layout designed and ready to go to production. However, during a meeting with our senior pastor in March, we talked about new ideas. It is important to say that my pastor was ok with the first stage design, and he never asked for it to be changed. But as we discussed new ideas, I made the decision to change the design so we could provide a better worship experience. This change happened four weeks prior to Easter weekend, so I don’t consider this a last-minute change, but at that point we had to move fast and make arrangements to meet the deadline.
Basically, all programming elements together are a complement to the music and message, so it is important that these elements don’t cause distraction to those participating
live and via broadcast. That needs to be the goal when using stage elements, lighting, and projection. Here is how we put these elements together for Easter services:
- Large cross – we built a 16’x12’x3’ cross covered with seamless front/rear projection fabric from Rose Brand, to be used as a projection surface. Rented a 7,000 lumens projector from our longtime friends at Orange Thread Media (Nashville, TN). For content delivery, we chose ProVideoPlayer2 (by Renewed Vision)
- Side crosses – two side crosses were made out of wood and back lit with LED strips
- Lights – we already owned a good number of light instruments, but on special weekend services we rent some special lighting we don’t own (yet). We rented:
- Content – here is the most important piece of puzzle, because wrong content means all the technology we gather for this event was in vain. It is important to know that all content was specially selected and built for each song.
When it comes to programming, less is more (most of the time). During the song “Broken Vessels” (video below), you will notice that we used one single image throughout the entire song. This was a time when we wanted the focus to be one hundred percent artist and song delivery.
There are times when you will have the opportunity to extend to more than one image per song, but it is important for you to know when to use less to open all the space for the simplest ways you can use to deliver the message during a worship song.During baptisms, we projected videos of the confessions of faith on the large cross. These were the highlight of the weekend. The videos gave a face and a voice to those being baptized. My pastor has already mentioned to me that we will do this again, given the response we received.
If your church offers an online broadcast or a video venue, it is important to customize all content to those watching live so they also feel they are part of the service and get the most out of the worship experience. For instance, all baptism videos projected on the cross were reformatted for those watching on video. Also, the lyrics for every song were in the lower third of the viewing screen. Basically, all of the content showed live was adapted and displayed to meet the needs of worshippers participating online.
Next up… Patriotic weekend!
Few more pictures (by Chris Williams) from Easter weekend: