In 2009, while I served as an interim leader of the media team at The Father’s House, our church experienced high volunteer turnover of our media team. Any of you that are in charge of leading a volunteer media team understand that some degree of turnover is completely normal and expected; but our team was experiencing an unusually high rate of turnover to the point where one weekend I had two people serving when it normally takes a minimum of five. It turned out to be a complete disaster, as you might expect. As a result of this, God hit me on the head with a spiritual two by four. Here I was trying to lead a team of volunteers with no real direction, and no expectation of anything. I realized I needed to step up and take action quickly in order to avoid future disasters.
Through this process, we landed on two fundamental elements for media team success at our church: to create an 1)excellent spiritual and 2) excellent technical atmosphere.
Develop a Mission Statement
One of the first things I did the following week was to ensure our media team had a mission statement. This mission statement would define what we are aiming for as a team and clarify the two fundamental elements we needed to have in order to maintain any degree of consistency in the way our production was delivered.
If you don’t have a mission statement for your media team/production crew I highly recommend it. Here ours is in its final form:
Our mission is to continually lead people into a new or growing relationship with Jesus Christ through the use of our technology tools and technical gifts by creating an excellent spiritual and technical atmosphere. These two fundamental elements are what we focus on continually. We will seek how to best serve every ministry with our technology in a manner that is helpful and not hindering to accomplish this mission.
After I had completed it, it became quite clear what my next steps were as an interim leader. God showed me that in order to create and maintain an excellent spiritual and technical atmosphere or in other words, “keep the bar of excellence at a high level consistently,” I had to establish some basic team commitments both technically and spiritually for the volunteers. I accomplished that through developing what I call the Media Team Commitment Form. This form defines our team vision, our mission statement, two key scriptures (John 4:23-24 & 1 Corinthians 1:10) and the spiritual and technical excellence commitments that we expect if you join our media team.
I believe every media team should have these two fundamental elements defined and communicated to the volunteers on a regular basis. It’s important. To what degree you define the items contained within these elements for your volunteers will be unique to your church requirements. At my church we keep it pretty basic. At the beginning of the commitment form that contains the “spiritual and technical excellence” sections, it says:
Those who serve on our media ministry team do so with a commitment of modeling true servant hood and aiming for technical and spiritual excellence in all that we do. Excellence attracts people and honors God. He requires excellence of us in all our offerings to Him. We expect that if you plan to join our team that you understand and can adhere to the following commitments:
[Then we jump right into defining what we expect them to commit to]
In the area of spiritual excellence, we expect you to commit to:
- Staying connected continually through a [your church name] small group
- Identify an active team member as an accountability partner within 3 months of joining the team. Once identified, this person will be communicated to the Media Director.
- Continually striving to develop a servant’s attitude and heart, understanding that participating on the media ministry team is a public act of service unto God and a privilege.
- Attend [your church name] conferences – as well as others that are hosted by [your church name].
- Participate in media team prayer gatherings. Prayer is powerful. It changes atmospheres! Praying together as a team strengthens the unity of it and affects the way we execute our technical tasks. We don’t force you to pray but encourage you too! God’s glory and miracles are revealed through the power of prayer.
- Attend all mandatory media/worship team meetings, which occur at a minimum of once per month. Specific dates/times will be provided by Media Director (unless excuse is approved by Media Director)
- Abide by the spiritual authority of the leadership and I understand that I must perform my role on the media ministry under the covering, guidance and direction of the leadership of the church.
In the area of technical excellence, we expect you to commit to:
- Using the gifts and abilities God has given me both in practice and during church services, conferences, small venues and events with excellence, maximizing the gifts given. The path to excellence is…excellence!
- Having a teachable spirit and staying current in my craft. Always keep learning and be open to learning new things. If running the technical systems, computers or cameras is not something that you have trained for in school or in life, you should work at earning the craft through attending seminars and workshops, reading books / articles on the subject, participating in online discussion groups / forums and so on.
- Attending scheduled practices, church services, conferences and events on time and ready and willing to serve. Be faithful to your commitments. Be there when you commit to be there. Be there early. Arrive early enough to get to your position. I understand that being late is the same as not showing up at all.
- Help set-up and clean-up equipment and media ministry operational areas. (FOH Tech booth, Broadcast operations room, etc)
- Making yourself available to serve a minimum of at least one weekend a month as well as where and when possible, help provide coverage for my other brothers and sisters in Christ when they are not available to do so. Be committed to the media ministry, make myself available as much as is practical while keeping God’s priorities for my life intact.
- Being responsible and accountable for your serving assignments. Once serving assignments have been finalized and communicated by the Media Administrator, it is my responsibility to show up and fulfill it. If something pops up last minute that results in me not being able to fulfill my serving assignment, it is my responsibility to find a replacement and notify the Media Director as promptly as possible of the change.
- To read, be responsive and acknowledge all media team communications that are delivered via phone, email, SMS Text or notifications generated from the Planning Center Online worship/media scheduling tool.
By defining the two fundamental elements of spiritual and technical excellence for your church, be encouraged that not only will your volunteers appreciate it but naturally the level of excellence will increase and the quality of your production will be infused with new levels of seamless execution, creativity and passion.
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.