Never insult a person by giving them an easy job #0

Any team is made up of people who fill different roles.

The next few posts will focus on the people who make up our team, the impact that they have on the ministry, and how being a part of the ministry has impacted them.

No one who knows me will be too surprised that I’m going to start of on a wild tangent, although they might suffer some shock that I’m giving warning.

For roughly the last 40 years, churches have tried to implement various flavors of “small group” programs with varying degrees of success. Typically, they start trying to implement these programs when their membership is between about 50 and 300. Most of programs experience limited success.

In my opinion, their limits are imposed because many churches see small groups (life groups, cell groups, etc) as a program, and totally miss the point.  “Small groups” is not about programming, it’s about ministry and church governance. A small group leader is in a pastoral relationship to his or her  group, and is in turn being pastored in other groups.

When small groups are viewed as a ministry in church governance, the media team is a small group. I, as the self-appointed Director/Producer , am in a pastoral relationship to the team, just like the leadership of any other small group is in a pastoral ministry with their group.

One of the issues I struggle with is the fine boundary between “entertainment” and “worship”. We want our work to be engaging and professional, but do not want the production to detract from the worship or teaching experience. While I like to brag about the team’s ability (I’d put our team up against most professionals with the same equipment), our webcasts and recordings need to point to God and not the production team.

Two interwoven issues we have to manage is that the team is unusually young and is mostly from a couple of core families. Well, the church’s technical team’s kids are all growing up and there aren’t any more coming. It took us 5 years to build the team up to the level they are at now. My most experienced member (my daughter Jessica) is heading off to college in 12 to 14 months, followed in the next couple of years by Max.

Recruiting is a perennial issue for church production crews. In a church of 300 (like ours) you normally expect to find two people who find that kind of service rewarding. We have been blessed by having more than our fair share of geekdom, but there are still issues.

For years, the bulk of our production crew has come from a small number of families that also form the core of our church’s broader technical infrastructure support team. We are running out of our own kids as they grow up, and there aren’t any more in that pipeline.

Very few of the adults who have tried out have felt called to this ministry, in part because the team is largely dominated by kids. On thinking about it, we realized that any team like our needs to plan for regular turnover, and prospects of high school graduation built in a timeframe that made our turnover somewhat predictable.

Rather than fight the trend, we did the math. It took 5 years training and experience to achieve proficiency, which meant that we had to start recruiting middle schoolers. Since most of our current team started in the ministry middle school, we already knew the model worked.

Read the next few blog posts to see how.

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