Reaching Out

I've written about this before but this is a subject that bears repeating. Being a Tech Arts Director is a pretty lonely job sometimes. You might be the only one on your church staff who has any technical knowledge at all. Even if you work at a larger church with a tech staff, it's hard to vent frustrations without creating a bad vibe. Often times we're asked to do things by leadership that will take vastly more time and effort than anyone appreciates. And sometimes, just dealing with the day to day interaction with non-technical people can get irritating ("Yes, I'll show you how to log into the network again...").

That's why it's so important to develop relationships with other like-minded people. In the last 8 days, I have had 6 really encouraging phone calls or video chats with good friends of mine. They live all over the country, and most I've never actually met in person. One of the great things about being a geek is that we are into technology. I've met so many cool people through Twitter and this blog. A year after connecting with them online, I call all of them my friends.

Meeting in person is even better. I've started to get together with a few guys locally once every month or two. My goal is to expand the circle even further, and make it more regular.

The reason for this is simple; we need to interact with other people. Now, that sounds simplistic, but read that again. We need to interact with other people--people who get us. People who get the frustration we feel when the producer asks (2 hours before doors open), "Can we have the moving lights sweeping and spinning all over the room during the worship set?" People who understand that recruiting, training and retaining quality sound guys (and gals) is tough. People who can nod their heads empathetically when we talk about the "great idea for a video" our pastor had...on Friday afternoon.

See, the danger is, we don't talk to others about it. Because let's be honest; this job can be frustrating sometimes. And if we don't talk about it, that frustration starts to turn to aggravation. Then it starts to become anger. And eventually people start asking, "Why is the TD always so angry?" Ultimately, we are in danger of becoming the guy who always says, "No!" to any suggestion because we're ticked off that no one understands how hard that simple little idea is. The next step is unemployment.

As an aside, a new church won't fix it. The next church staff you join will be just as clueless to the nature of our jobs as the last one. It's not their fault--we're just special. No, you don't need a new job, you need to talk to someone who can say, "Dude, I've been there and it sucks. Let me pray for you." Because when you hear that, you are reminded that it's OK. Someone else has been in your shoes, and they're still standing. Someone else is coming along side you to help you through a tough time. Someone else just gets it.

So reach out. Get to know some other tech directors. Use Twitter. Send some e-mails. Make some phone calls. Have lunch. You'll be a better TD for it… I promise!