Can we acknowledge the elephant in the room? Being a Tech Director is hard. A lot is expected of us; knowing all things about all manner of technology, pastoring our volunteers, supporting that woman in children's ministry who can't figure out how the DVD player works, the list goes on. To make things more challenging, in most churches, there is only one of us. And even if you're a TD and have a few people working under you, you can't complain about stuff to them--it's bad protocol. No, you need someone who gets what you do, and can encourage you when you are having a rough day.
I have been really excited these last few months because I am seeing a movement amongst the church technical community to build, well, community like never before. For example, the Church Tech Directors Round Table (CTDRT), spearheaded by Bill Swaringim and Kelly Gubser has been virtually getting together on TokBox once a month for the past few months. And while the technology makes the conversation challenging at times, what it does do is foster off-line conversations. By following each other on Twitter and Facebook and using that "so 90's" technology, the phone, we're developing friendships that are very encouraging.
For example, last week I Tweeted about wanting to go all LED for our house lights. Dennis Choy of NorthCoast Church saw that and contacted me saying they are doing the same thing. That led to a phone conversation and ultimately to me borrowing a fixture that he had been demo'ing. It's a perfect fit, and Dennis and I have had a few great conversations about it. Earlier this week Jared Wells had a question about ProPresenter and called me. I think I was able to help him with that, and now Jared and I know each other a little better.
To say that these conversations are an encouragement is a huge understatement. I am really stoked to have people that I can call when I need some insight into a problem. And I'm blessed when someone calls me for advice. Guys (and gals), We Are Not Alone! I've said before that I've given up on trying to know everything. There's too much to know. But I now have access to the "hive mind" as Leo Laporte likes to call it, in the CTDRT. Have a question? Ask the group. The insight gained is phenomenal. And will all of our budgets getting cut, now is not the time to reinvent the wheel.
Another great thing that is happening more is local area TD meetups. We just had one last week. Eight SoCal area TD's got together at the Irvine Spectrum for lunch. I blocked out an hour and a half for lunch. After three and half hours, I was finally heading back to the office. It was a great time. I met people I had only talked to on the phone previously, or just followed on Twitter. We shared stories, insights and a lot of laughs. We plan on doing it again and tying in tours of each other's churches as we go. We'll also be including others as we get to know who else is out there.
Again, it's a great resource. I learned where I can get some box truss cheap, and I think a few people want to come see a smattering of LED lights when I get a few more to test in a week or two. How cool is that?
If you haven't already joined the CTDRT, I encourage you to. Send me an e-mail at mike [at] churchtecharts.org and I'll get you started. If you don't know any other TDs in your area, get to know them. Go out to lunch. Round up some others. Do it regularly. I know techs tend to be introverts and often prefer quiet to group gatherings, but I'm telling you, this is important. Too many of us are burning out and hopping from one church to another trying to find the perfect place. We need to stop that. Get to know some other TDs and be encouraged. And let me know how I can help!