Top 4 Mistakes of Church Tech Directors
“Church Tech Director” is a pretty high-intensity position. Not many congregation members see you since you’re not on stage like the worship pastor and lead pastor, but the truth is that none of it could happen without you.
Depending on your church staff and organizational structure, you may be helping with a number of things – lyrics, designing slides, running the computer, running lights, mixing the band (and maybe being everyone else’s IT support… sorry, it just comes with the job.)
While the church wouldn’t be able to function without you, there is always room for all of us to improve, and even the greatest church tech directors sometimes need to be reminded of a few truths.
With that said, here is a short list of 4 of the biggest mistakes church tech directors make, as well as what you can do to avoid them!
1) Not Being Mentally Present on Sunday Morning
Mistakes due to not being mentally present during services such as being behind on lyric transitions cause all sorts of issues. Not only does that kind of stuff put the pastor and worship leader on edge, but mistakes caused by not being mentally present are also incredibly distracting for the congregation. They’re looking for the next lyric line or bullet point on the screen, and if it’s not up when it’s supposed to be, they’ll be focused more on fishing for information than they will be on worshiping or the message.
I’d argue that being picky about the timeliness of slide transitions isn’t being overly critical. Distractions like this really have the power to pull people out of the moment, and as church staff, we are there to help facilitate a space that people feel comfortable worshipping in.
Do what you need before you get to church – spend some time in prayer or meditation, get your coffee, stretch, etc. Do what you need to wake up and be ready, but once you’re at church, it’s time to focus on doing all you can to provide the best experience possible for the church staff and congregation.
2) Assuming Every Volunteer Knows What to Do
You do this role week-in-week-out and you know everything about all the gear, routing, and how all of it works. Unfortunately, those of us who work in our roles all the time forget that not everyone knows as much as you do (actually, chances are high that most volunteers on the team don’t even know half of what you know as a church tech director.)
The biggest note here is – make sure you are properly training every volunteer, and checking in with them regularly. They may be too shy or embarrassed to speak up about something if they feel like you assume they understood everything you said the first time, so don’t be afraid to ask them consistently if there’s anything they wish they had more clarity on!
3) Not Upgrading or Buying Low Quality Equipment
We get that not every church has a big budget for their tech team. Work with what you have and make the most of it! But it’s important to keep tabs on the gear you’re using, what your church’s goals are/what they’re aiming to accomplish, and what other churches are doing to get there.
Identify the most important pieces of gear such as the computer, sound board, light board, etc. and do some research on what other churches are using. Have an open and honest conversation with your pastor if gear is failing and falling far short of the quality your church would like to be operating at. But here’s the kicker – don’t purchase a less-than-ideal solution because it saves you a small amount of money.
We get that you can’t get the latest and greatest of everything, but the difference between upgrading to a $1,500 soundboard that will do everything you need and last forever vs. a $700 soundboard that will kind of, sort of, potentially… maybe suffice for a while but eventually fail or cause complications will make you wish you saved the extra $800 for the right piece of gear. When you upgrade, find what’s in your price range and do it right – don’t be distracted by a low-price tag for a piece of gear that’s so critical to the operation of your services.
4) Doing It All Yourself
Most church tech directors look at the big picture and can describe exactly how they’re envisioning weekends to look. The lighting, the slides, computer organization, presets, the mix; you name it. You have an ideal in mind that you’re working towards. But one of the biggest pitfalls of church tech directors is that they take a vision into their own hands and try to do it all themselves.
Whether or not you know it yet, you need a team of people to help you. Burnout in high-intensity positions like tech directors are common. You get there before everyone, you have to be fully present throughout the entire service, you’re running around putting out fires, and you stay longer than everyone to tear down.
Use volunteers and rely on your team! Delegate responsibilities and learn how to train others to execute a vision you have. Ask others for their input and opinions and you may run across a whole slew of amazing ideas you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. Everything related to church tech runs smoother when you have others on board to help.
Use. Your. People.
About the Author
Chris Fleming is a professional musician from Minneapolis, MN who has played with artists such as Big Daddy Weave and Jason Gray. He is actively involved with the CCM worship scene and has contributed as a drummer, music director, song writer, and producer for various worship artists and churches locally and nationally. Chris serves as the Creative Director at Motion Worship, helping to write various blog posts and tutorials on production, stage, Ableton, music, design, and tons of other topics.