If you listen to the podcast (ChurchTechWeekly), you should be seeing a theme here. I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationships between the tech staff and worship leader/band over the last few weeks. This past weekend, I had the immense privilege of speaking to a class of up and coming worship leaders from the worship program at Vanguard University (where my daughter also attends; Go Lions!). It was a unique opportunity to spend 3 hours with the group talking about the people side of technology in worship.
It’s easy to forget, but the church is in the people business. And because we work in the church (either as staff or volunteer), we too are in the people business. And as we are in the people business, we have to treat people well. Unfortunately, that concept is lost sometimes between the tech and music departments.
I spent a good deal of our time together telling the students how important it is for them to build healthy relationships with their tech teams. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I talk about that all that time. Relationships are key.
But that night, I was thinking about the events of the day and realized that as tech folk, we too bear a responsibility to build relationships with the musicians. It’s easy for us introverted, socially-awkward techs to sit in the booth with our arms folded saying, “They can come to me, man.” However, that doesn’t solve the problem, does it?
I know some musicians can come across as self-centered and very ambivalent toward the tech team. And if that’s you as a musician, stop it. But if you’re a tech with some of those guys or gals on stage, let’s consider why they might feel that way.
More than one musician has been burned by a tech who either wasn’t very good at their job or just didn’t care. Are you taking the time to get better at what you do? Do you put forth 100% every weekend to make the experience great for all involved, or do you show up with an attitude and put in enough effort to just get by? Do you hide in the tech booth and communicate with the band only via yelling? Perhaps not the best way to build relationships…
Sometimes the reality is, we as tech people are to blame for the bad rep we get. Then it becomes incumbent upon us to fix it. Somebody has to be the one to take the first step; and as uncomfortable as it might be, you need to do it.
You also need to back it up by doing a great job every weekend. And yes, I know all the reasons why you can’t do a great job. You might think that because I work at a big church with a reasonable budget that I’ve got it easy; but it wasn’t always thus. I’ve been in the small churches as the only serious tech volunteer—with no budget, no authority but all the responsibility of making it work.
I’ve spent many late nights at church during the week soldering up new cables and snakes to make set up run smoother, which gave me more time to talk to the band. I’ve made the phone calls and sent the emails asking for information so I can put together an input sheet and service order to help things run more smoothly. And it took me two and half years to get approval to replace a camera that should have been taken out to the desert and shot 10 years ago.
Yes, it’s work. A lot of work.
But it’s also worth it. On Saturday, we invited the students to the stage for our prayer time. After I introduced them and told the band why they were hanging around, I was blown away but the amazing words of affirmation that were spoken by my team about me. It was in that moment that I realized that doing the hard work to build relationships really is worth it.
What is your relationship with your worship leader like? What are you going to do to make it better?