production from a pastor’s perspective

Today’s post is by an old friend of mine. Steve Norman is currently the Lead Pastor at Kensington Community Church’s Troy Campus and we both started working at Kensington in the same era. The era when your office was in the copy room, or the warehouse area. Our paths have crossed and recrossed over the years, and I thought it would be great for the predominantly technical audience of this blog to hear about technology from the viewpoint of a pastor. Enjoy.

I can tell you exactly where I was sitting in the church auditorium when it happened. I was a high school student trying to follow along with the pastor’s Sunday morning message and there was an audio glitch of some kind. And then my pastor did it. He called out the audio engineer from the stage. Not as a colleague and fellow team member, not as a gifted hardworking artist, but the “sound guy” who feel asleep at the wheel. I cringed.  And every time I’ve heard it done since, I still do.

I’ve been doing ministry in some kind of formal capacity for close to 20 years, but I’ve never had a class or workshop on how teaching pastors/communicators can better serve and coordinate with their production teams.

The truth is: most pastors don’t really know what you do, how you do it or how well you do it. They believe it matters, but as my story indicates, many speakers/teacher don’t publicly acknowledge their production teams until something goes wrong.

If you, however, want to take your working relationship with your pastor to the next level, allow me to offer a few simple suggestions:

1. Communicate. Then communicate some more.
Do you know what your pastor needs and expects from you? Does he or she know what you expect from them? Do you have a call time? Does the speaker honor it? Are you ready for the him or her if she does?

If the speaker is bringing CG or video, do you have a deadline you expect it by?
My team has made it crystal clear that if I don’t submit my CG by 12p on Friday, they may not be able to have it ready to run for our Saturday 5:30p service. It’s taken us some wrangling to get to a system that works for both of us, but when I respect their boundaries our dynamic is healthier.

Our stage manager, lets me know what shirts I shouldn’t wear because I’m on IMAG. It drives my crazy really, but I have to remember she’s working in my best interest. If the image on the screen is too busy, people can’t focus on what I want to say. Because of communication and over communication, I know our team is as committed to the message as I am, just from a different, yet necessary perspective.

2.  Collaborate
Ask your speaker, what their objectives are: for the day, for the series, for the ministry season.  If your speaker is anything like me, they have a horrible habit of waiting til the last minute to pull a talk together.  When you can, sit down with them and explain the kinds of ways that set design, lighting, audio, etc. can enhance where they want to go if they give you enough lead time to help them. This is the “help me, help you” conversation.

3. Celebrate
When your speaker honors a deadline; thanks one of your volunteers; or gets you their scriptures on time, celebrate them publicly with your team.  A little affirmation goes a long way in creating a culture where your teachers learn to value and elevate your teams.

As your begin to communicate, collaborate and celebrate together, then maybe, when they call your name from stage, it will simply be to remind the congregation how incredible your really are.



AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by J. Stephen Conn