Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Setting Priorities Pt. 2

Yesterday we started off talking about how I approach coming into a new church. Today, we’ll pretend I’ve been here a while and talk about how I’m going to prioritize systems upgrades in a building in which every system needs to be upgraded.

As I alluded to yesterday, a big part will be meeting with the Sr. Pastor and finding our what his desires are. The reasoning on this is simple; he’s the boss–and if I can work with him, things will get done a lot faster. I have seen a lot of tech people come into a new church and immediately start working on problems that bug them; often to the neglect of problems that bug the Sr. Pastor. When said tech people start asking for money for these projects, they get push back and don’t understand why.

Here’s a little tip. Senior leadership will find the money to fix the problems that are important to them. If it’s not in the budget but they know it needs to be done, they will raise the money to make it happen. This is actually a mark of good leadership. What we need to do is work with this principle.

You see, as a tech guy, I see every problem with every system. And every one bugs me. I wish I could start tomorrow and fix them all. But I can’t–and I couldn’t even if money were no object. So what I need to do is find out which ones bug our Sr. Pastor and start working on those. All the problems bother me, so in a sense, it doesn’t matter where I start. And here’s the secret–once we get a few things done that bugged the pastor, he will become our biggest fan. If he says, “We have to fix video so we can get our services on the web,” and we make that happen, he’s happy. It’s actually a win-win-win. First, he’s happy his problem was solved. Second, he’s happy with us for listening to him and working on his problem. Third, we build trust so that when we say, “I’ve noticed that the PA is not what it can be–can we talk about some options to upgrade it,” he’s open to it.

Don’t fight against senior leadership thinking that you’re the expert. Just because you think something is a priority doesn’t mean that it is. On the other hand, you have valuable insight into things that when presented properly can also build trust.

For example, most of the major wireless mic manufacturers have extended rebates to the end of the year for upgrading out of the 700 Mhz range. If you don’t take advantage of that, you’ll miss out on saving some major coin. Present that need to upgrade with by demonstrating that we’ll save $10,000 if we do it before December rather than after, and it’s a lot easier to make it happen.

The bottom line is this: Make your priorities senior leadership’s priorities and you’ll get a lot more done a lot faster.

2 Comments

  1. techbex@gmail.com

    Thanks for this post. Made me feel like I did things the right way LOL!

    We actually just finished a digital sound system upgrade and are working our way twords video.

    I have been at this church for exactly a year. First meeting I had was with the tech team members and then the Senior Pastor to find out there needs and what bothers them the most.

    I found out most congregation complaints (although I don’t entertain the complaining sometimes its the easiest way to find out what the real problem is) they were getting had to do with the sound. Which was my complaint. “Yeah!!! I thought, we can fix the sound first…”

    As I talked further with the tech team they told me that they “were tired of the computer freezing and trying to switch between cameras and moving backgrounds and slides and dvd’s and having things just not work right.” It was frustrating them. Making them feel like no one listened and they were less important than other things.

    I decided to start with the most irritating to the majority of the people (whether they knew it or not) The projectors were 14 years old and the computer was so old and slow that moving backgrounds would choke it up and there was no ablitly to switch between elements without it dipping to black or blue for bout 6 seconds first (aweful). I talked to the Senior Pastor and he expressed “that he does not like to look at himself on the screen especially if he looks like a white ghost figure with different colored clothes” therefore, we decided NO IMAG until we could get it right and decided to start over when the money came in.

    We got a new computer and media shout upgrade, with a cheap $400 switcher and I cut the lines to the cameras (we were using security cameras for IMAG…yes, really!)

    In the meantime the sound system failed miserably and the processor died. We were able to just install the new digital sound system. Thing is the computer, switcher, projectors, and new contemporary moving backgrounds have enhanced the worship so much that hardly anyone noticed my pet peeve or the sound system failures that were taking place weekly. The speakers were over 20 yrs old, the patchbay that was obviously soldered for some other project and given to the church, and the 13 year old console that was loosing channels weekly were driving me nuts, but the congregation, pastor, and the rest of the tech crew were happy. No complaints!

    After fixing the congregational images and working with the worship team on the visual aspect as well as taking care of the Pastor’s main issue we were approved and able to take care of the sound issues with no problem. We still have a long way to go before we are up and running with cameras and web streaming etc. but we are way further down the road than we expected in a years time! Go Jesus!!!

    Good advice Mike! Talking to the tech team and pastor first and building relationships on the front end also saved the church 2 days worth of labor during the sound install since they are all excited about serving again just because someone listened to them and took time to build a relationship. Relationships payoff!!!

    Love the blog!

    Beckie

  2. techbex@gmail.com

    Thanks for this post. Made me feel like I did things the right way LOL!

    We actually just finished a digital sound system upgrade and are working our way twords video.

    I have been at this church for exactly a year. First meeting I had was with the tech team members and then the Senior Pastor to find out there needs and what bothers them the most.

    I found out most congregation complaints (although I don’t entertain the complaining sometimes its the easiest way to find out what the real problem is) they were getting had to do with the sound. Which was my complaint. “Yeah!!! I thought, we can fix the sound first…”

    As I talked further with the tech team they told me that they “were tired of the computer freezing and trying to switch between cameras and moving backgrounds and slides and dvd’s and having things just not work right.” It was frustrating them. Making them feel like no one listened and they were less important than other things.

    I decided to start with the most irritating to the majority of the people (whether they knew it or not) The projectors were 14 years old and the computer was so old and slow that moving backgrounds would choke it up and there was no ablitly to switch between elements without it dipping to black or blue for bout 6 seconds first (aweful). I talked to the Senior Pastor and he expressed “that he does not like to look at himself on the screen especially if he looks like a white ghost figure with different colored clothes” therefore, we decided NO IMAG until we could get it right and decided to start over when the money came in.

    We got a new computer and media shout upgrade, with a cheap $400 switcher and I cut the lines to the cameras (we were using security cameras for IMAG…yes, really!)

    In the meantime the sound system failed miserably and the processor died. We were able to just install the new digital sound system. Thing is the computer, switcher, projectors, and new contemporary moving backgrounds have enhanced the worship so much that hardly anyone noticed my pet peeve or the sound system failures that were taking place weekly. The speakers were over 20 yrs old, the patchbay that was obviously soldered for some other project and given to the church, and the 13 year old console that was loosing channels weekly were driving me nuts, but the congregation, pastor, and the rest of the tech crew were happy. No complaints!

    After fixing the congregational images and working with the worship team on the visual aspect as well as taking care of the Pastor’s main issue we were approved and able to take care of the sound issues with no problem. We still have a long way to go before we are up and running with cameras and web streaming etc. but we are way further down the road than we expected in a years time! Go Jesus!!!

    Good advice Mike! Talking to the tech team and pastor first and building relationships on the front end also saved the church 2 days worth of labor during the sound install since they are all excited about serving again just because someone listened to them and took time to build a relationship. Relationships payoff!!!

    Love the blog!

    Beckie

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