[Today’s guest post is by Bryan Brooks, blogger, author and technology coach.]
Maintaining your church’s production gear is an absolute must. Like any other kind of technology, it requires our care to continue working properly. I hate to be gloomy, but things like unreliable performance, intermittent glitches and a slough of technical problems will constantly plague your church productions on a regular basis if you don’t maintain your equipment properly.
If you don’t have a regular maintenance program in place for your church production gear you should seriously consider establishing one. Whether you have a small church with just a few pieces of gear or a large one with a ton of gear, maintaining it properly will get you into the land of technical peace.
If you already have a maintenance program in place at your church, that is fantastic! But for those that don’t yet or are in the process of establishing one, here is a list of 3 basic items every maintenance program should include:
#1 – A complete inventory of all of your gear. This includes things like the manufacturer, model, location, serial #, P/N#’s. You need to know what you have and the basic details about it. Take it a step further and create an Excel spreadsheet with all this critical info, and make it available to the administrative pastor at your church.
#2 – Maintenance procedures for your gear. There are a couple of options for procedures: Some people choose to extract the important maintenance items from the manufacturers manual and develop their own simple one or two page procedures. Taking the technical jargon and turning it into an easy to read document that can be understood by a church volunteer. Or another option would be to just use the procedures listed out in the manufacturer manuals, which is typically found in the back of it. Once you create these procedures, make sure it’s posted in a communal location so that others can fill in if need be.
#3 – Maintenance schedule master worksheet that lists out each piece of gear, the maintenance item that needs to be completed and the recommended maintenance schedule. For example:
Eiki Projector LC-XT4/ Clean Filter / Quarterly
Mac Pro Tower system / Blow dust out of hardware components / monthly
Mac550 Mover / Remove dust from the head fans and air vents / Monthly
Once you have these basic items in place, then its time to start performing the maintenance. You yourself can do it if you have the experience, you can train up church volunteers to do it or even hire an AVL consulting company.
Think of maintaining your church production gear like maintaining your car. You know that your car needs maintenance to run efficiently. With proactive regular maintenance on your car, you feel safer when you drive it and you save money with things like better gas mileage and longer engine life. But, when its not properly maintained it doesn’t function effectively and sooner-or-later it will break down and won’t run at all. That’s called “Reactive Maintenance” — Let’s wait until it breaks, and then fix it. I don’t recommend that approach. That approach not only will cost you more, but in some cases, it takes a lot more time to get things repaired and back to normal operation.
I am a huge advocate and play an active role in ensuring that maintenance on the gear at our church The Father’s House gets done, seeing the results of increased reliability and performance in our gear is well worth the effort and time investment. Of course we are not exempt just like you from gear glitches every now and again, but it sure does give the tech people and the pastors a peace of mind to know that they can just serve God with their gifts and talents without the technology creating a major distraction to the spiritual climate of the production.
The bottom line is this, whether you’re a tech person or a pastor, maintaining the church production gear we rely on week in and week out is necessary. We need to be good a steward of the technology God has blessed us with, which means taking care of it regularly. By implementing a basic maintenance program, you will see the fruit of a church production system that every time it’s turned on will produce the level of excellence, reliability and performance you expect from it.
Bryan Brooks runs the blog, TechSabbathHabit, is an author and technology coach. He owns the small business, KB Media Group, LLC, and serves as the Media Director at The Fathers House Church in Vacaville CA.