The other day I was having lunch with a good friend of mine. We got to talking about the TD at a church we both know, and some struggles this guy was having with his facility. My friend asked this TD if he knew that the church that literally shared the parking lot with his had a lift, and would probably let him use it. The TD’s response was—to me anyway—shocking. He said he didn’t know anyone over there, and didn’t know if they had a lift or not.
Keep in mind, these churches are right next door. And they don’t even know each other.
My brothers, this should not be!
We’re On The Same Team
My friend and I discussed what would cause such a situation. Personally, I don’t understand it at all. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in the church, and have spent most of my career in the business world. In that world, we often made alliances with “competitors” because there were things we couldn’t do. Sometimes they had a piece of equipment we didn’t, and sometimes we could help them out with a job they couldn’t handle. And we never tried to poach another’s clients.
But there’s this weird thing in the church. I see it among pastors sometimes and I think it can trickle down to the staff. They’re afraid to partner with another church because they’re afraid of losing people to the other church. Or maybe it’s because there is a minor doctrinal disagreement. Whatever.
What I love about the technical community is for the most part, we don’t care what church you’re from. You’re a TD, I’m a TD, we all have the same struggles. If I can help you or if you can help me, we both win. And so do our churches. That’s what we should be working towards.
Know Your Neighbor
If you don’t know any tech guys at churches in your area, stop reading this right now, and go find some. Seriously. And if you share a parking lot with another church, or there’s one across the street, walk over there right now and introduce yourself. There is so much to be gained by having relationships with other tech directors in your community it boggles my mind when I talk to guys that don’t know any.
When I moved to SoCal 6 years ago, I didn’t know anyone. Within a few months, I had made friends with several churches in the area, and had opportunity to both borrow and lend equipment for different events. If I know the church down the road has something I need for an event, and they’re willing to loan it to me, why on earth would I spend money to rent it? The same goes in reverse.
You Need Technical Relationships
If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a hundred times; we need to be in relationship with other technical artists. What we do is unique, and most people don’t really understand us. We have problems that don’t really exist in other areas of the church. We need to have someone to talk those issues out; someone who will validate, encourage and support us.
I believe one of the reasons TDs typically only last a few years at a church is because they try to do it solo. I know for a fact that I stayed at my last church 2-3 years longer than I would have otherwise because I have a close friend who talked me off the ledge every 3-4 months. And I did the same for him.
Please, please, please, go find yourself another technical artist in your community and become friends with them. I know it’s scary, I know you’re an introvert and you don’t like calling people you don’t know. Get over it. You, your ministry and your church will be better for it. I promise.