Tuesday, July 27, 2010 by: Derrick Jeror
A lot of pastors I talk to aren’t sure how to structure their church’s tech team. It’s an important decision though. Without properly structured and managed leadership your tech team will go rogue and end up being run by a bearded man who smells like beef and cheese, drinks a lot of mountain-dew and reminds you of the uni-bomber. This guide was written to try and save you some headaches.
After years of leading and serving on tech teams this is the structure I have found works best. I’m not saying it’s the only structure that works, it’s just the one I recommend.
Pastor < Worship Leader < Tech Team Leader < Sound Guys
5 reasons your sound guy should be part of the worship team
1. Creates Accountability
When left to ourselves we all do stupid stuff. We can all agree accountability is a good thing. When your sound/tech team is part of your worship team there is ongoing interaction and accountability. Conversely, when the tech team reports to the pastor more often than not there isn’t much interaction unless the tech team wants the pastor to do something for them. This is typically the structure found in churches where the sound team has gone rogue.
2. Encourages Unity
In some churches the worship team and sound team resemble competing teams in the SuperBowl rather than teams working together for the same goal. By putting the sound guy on the worship team everyone is part of the same team. Plus, in smaller churches the sound guy doesn’t feel like he’s the loner.
3. Fosters Humility
We all struggle with pride. And pride is definitely a struggle for us sound guys. Typically we only get noticed when something goes wrong like feedback or a mic that doesn’t work. Sound guy pride often comes out as being controlling and not wanting to hear criticism. By being under the leadership of the worship leader it encourages the sound guy to serve rather than try and prove his “power”.
4. Inspires Creativity
Once sound guy is recognized as part of the worship team the sound equipment can also be recognized for what it really is, an instrument. The worship leader and sound guy can work together to change the sound by bringing out particular instruments in certain songs or sections of songs. They can begin to experiment with different types of reverbs and delays. They can even work together to EQ instruments and vocals to bring out specific qualities of the instrument or voice. Working together creates much better results than the worship team aiming for one thing and the sound team doing their own thing.
5. Creates a Buffer for the Pastor
I met with a pastor who was completely burnt out from dealing with his church’s technology issues. After speaking with him only a few minutes I easily concluded 4 things.
1. This pastor is spending a ton of time trying to manage technology issues.
2. This pastor doesn’t understand technology issues.
3. This pastor is being pulled away from doing the things he’s good at and should be doing.
4. The reason for all of this was that the tech team didn’t have a leader and everyone reported directly to the pastor.
When you have a designated Tech Team Leader he is your first line of defense when the sound guys have a problem. If he is qualified he should be able to help them find a solution to most problems himself. If the tech leader can't come up with a solution on his own he should discuss the issue with the worship leader. If you are or have a pastor that understands tech and wants to be involved then your situation might differ slightly. But even in those cases I would caution the pastor from bogging himself down in small tech details that should be managed by others.