Dewey Type (COTM) Stand light Build

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There has been a lot of buzz about the small white lights that Church On The Move uses on their stage.

After talking with Andrew Stone, COTM’s Production Director and finding out how they assembled them, I decided to build our own variation. I did not build these the same way COTM did, but achieved a similar result I was very happy with.

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Here is the Parts list:

1 inexpensive Par38 UL approved (VERY IMPORTANT) par can. We used chrome, as we already owned them but they are also available in black.
1 length of All-Thread Rod, we used 3/4″ in various lengths.
4 nuts and 4 fender washers that fit whatever size thread rod you choose.
1 weighted mic stand base, we had some old Atlas Mic Stand bases around but you could also use a square piece of steel stock for the base and weld the threaded rod to it. Or use a 10 pound steel weight.
1 Par 38 light bulb, we used 65 watt.
Several tie wraps.

Here is how I assembled it:

Note: Depending upon what size thread rod you use, you may have to drill out the light fixture clamp hole to fit correctly.

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I then tie-wrapped the cables to the rods and connected the lights to our dimming system. As with any lighting, make sure you do not exceed your dimming channels recommended load parameters.

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They Say It's the Same (But It Isn’t The Same)

Have you ever been sitting in a service in which you are not serving and wondered, “Wow, this sounds much different than last Sunday”? Maybe you have noticed that some weeks the complaints about the sound are “It’s too loud” and the next week “It’s to soft” and the next week “It’s just right”. While this may be reminiscent of a fairytale, many churches have a real problem with services sounding vastly different from week to week.

 Most people, when asked, will say that they like change but studies have shown that stress levels are lower in a familiar and stable environment. In church the way it sounds week in and week out is very important. People want to know what they are getting into when they come to church. Think of this like going home at the end of a hard day. If the house is the same every day it can be a hiding place. Your favorite easy chair is in the same place and the TV remote is on the armrest, the same place you left it. If all is comfortable in you surroundings when you turn on the TV or pick up that novel, you will be more inclined to focus on the material in front of you. The same is true in church. If the sound and volume of the worship is consistent from week to week the stress level of the people in worship will be lowered. Consistency also keeps distraction to a minimum, which also makes people more receptive to the message of both song and speech.

 One of the best ways to get continuity is to decide what is the vision for the service. The Pastor with the support of the worship leader MUST decide this, as the Pastor is responsible for the content of the service. It is a good idea to have a few special rehearsals and for the Pastor, music leader, all band members, worship singers, and most importantly the sound and production teams to be present. At these rehearsals the Pastor can share this vision so that everyone is on the same page. Some churches have even added service vision statements in the worship team manual that is given out to new team members.

 What happens if you have several types of services on a weekend? If you have a traditional service and contemporary service, every traditional service should sound similar and like wise for the contemporary services. This means that a mix sound and style must be agreed on and approved by the Pastor and worship leader before hand and everyone who mixes must try to achieve the same mix. I know that this is easier said than done but if you will set you course to this goal, I guarantee that your services will improve on a weekly basis. This philosophy must be accompanied by the three most important traits in the music ministry; teamwork, a servant’s heart, and a commitment to excellence.

 Teamwork means there can be no egos in the music ministry. Teamwork is the key to executing a well-planned service and it is crucial in those rare occasions (laugh here) when changes are made at the last minute. During my days at Saddleback the Purpose Driven Conference had a concert just for the pastors that attended. This concert was a four-alarm music event where every part of the music ministry was showcased. The typical fare was an orchestra, brass and rhythm sections, multiple soloists during each song backed by six singers, and a one hundred-voice choir. I was often asked, after the concert was over, “How do you guys make it all work? This concert would have been a train wreck at our church.” I always answered them the same way by telling them “we have a great team”. The goal of a successful service needs to be number one in the minds of volunteers and staff alike.

 A servant’s heart is also a must have for all team members. The tech team’s ministry is to the pastors and leaders of the church. Willingness to serve these people is key. I am not saying that you should be a “yes man” or a “doormat” but rather someone who serves and supports the vision God has given and the people he has given it to. There must be a willingness to take direction from the leadership of the church.

 “Striving for excellence” has a great sound to it, but what does it really mean? It doesn’t mean that when the service has problems you have failed, it means that you and your team are always trying to do the best job possible. It also means that everyone should continue to grow in the knowledge of whatever position you serve in. Always trying to be the best you can be.

 You will never be truly happy in ministry if you do not have these abilities. They are as important, if not more important than pure skill. Of course a balance of all three is preferred and should always be the goal.

 

SundayMag.TV "The Powder Keg"

I just wrote a post for the latest addition of SundayMag.TV. Here is an excerpt;

 

"So much of what we do as church techs revolves around communication between those we work with and us. Clarity and alignment of the overall vision is key. Unfortunately, techs, pastors, musicians, and even attendees are often on different pages when it comes to what the purpose of any given service or event actually is. This can lead to frustration and even an eventual blow up or melt down—usually at a pivotal or inopportune moment.

Everyone on the programing side can usually agree on “the big picture”; bringing people to Christ, bringing them into a posture of corporate worship, etc. Much of the time, though, we can come to the table with different agendas and points of view. If leadership does not give a clear vision of what we are trying to accomplish, it’s up to each participant to figure it out on their own. That can lead to “too many cooks in the kitchen”.

Read the rest of the post here.

Why and What

I talk to a lot of church techs who don’t really understand what the condition of our heart ‘should be’ about why tech is needed in church.

In the world we live in, the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat environment, information is coming at us at light speed. Our lives really don’t have one minute of peace and quiet. That said, we as an society, have corporate A.D.D. If we, as ministers of the gospel, want to reach the a for mentioned society, tech IS the way. Some may not like it, but Matthew 10:16(NET) states “I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” That said, tech is just a tool to reach the people coming thru the doors. Tech is typically used to entertain the audience (now don’t send me emails until you read the actual definition of ‘entertain’) and share our message at the same time.

 Tech is merely a tool of ministry. Technicians are ministers, using their craft and gear to minister and that IS what our mindset should always be. Tech is a means to an end, not the end itself. As a church tech team leader, I have lead both paid and volunteer staff. They all are at different stages, of life, ministry, and spiritual growth. It is important to spend a lot of time speaking into them the ‘vision’ and why we do what we do. I have found that patience is key. I can’t change the attitude of my staff; I can only lead by example and preach the doctrine of doing all we do with excellence and a servant’s heart. It is ongoing and something I have to be aware of all the time.

Being a tech in church is very complicated. Things happen, good things and bad things. Our teams will always look to leadership for our reaction to both. We, as leaders, are responsible to praise God in the good times and trust him in the bad. We must realize when things go correctly that God is glorified and when things go bad that the most important thing we can do is to keep a good attitude and resolve the situation with technical excellence and a servant’s heart.

Life Together

We’ve all heard “Doing Life Together” or “We are better together” which are really just different ways of saying “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23 (NASB). That has been one of the mantra’s of the modern Christian church for many years now.

In my early career as a audio mixer and system installer, I was blessed to constantly be in contact with those I would consider my peers, other sound, lighting, and video pros that shared my passion and know-how (in their various fields), many of which, to this day, are still my good friends. As I look back on those events, I realize that camaraderie was crucial in building not only my knowledge but also my passion for tech and what would become my vocation as a TD. 

When I took my position as TD at South Hills Church, of which I was at for six plus years, I found an amazing group of staff and volunteers that love God and deeply want to share His love with the community and the world, a Pastor who respected and honored my position and what I personally brought to the table, positive things to be sure. South Hills, like many churches out there, moved at break-neck speed, and much of my time there (especially during the financial down turn) was quite stressful. In the first few months I was there, I found myself gravitating back to both Mariners and Saddleback. Really wanting to hang out with my old friends and co-workers. Even though I was making new friends and settling in to my new position, I felt lonely and isolated.

In November of 2007 I received an email from Colin Burch, who produces the FaithTools podcast. Being a fan of that podcast, I was pleasantly surprised when Colin asked me to be one of the panels for an upcoming show. Also on that show was, Rick Pepper, who was also a contributor to my podcast (which only has one episode, but I am told, it’s amazing…[insert sarcastic line here]), Daniel Murphy, and Colin. Needless to say, we had a great time recording the show (via Skype, of course) and after the recording was done we talked off line for at least another two hours. The field of tech made us quick friends and I felt so energized after that recording. I have become good friends with Colin (even staying with him and his wife, Kim on a trip out to the east coast) and Daniel, who is now at Planning Center Online. Faithtools also introduced me to Mike Sessler and as they say, the rest is history.

Since then, the church tech community has come together in a way I could never have imagined. Having meet so many of you all out there and made so many friends.

So, where I once felt as if I was in sort of a professional no-mans-land, I now, once again feel energized and supported in my craft. So if you feel this way, seek out other church techs in your local area and make it a point to become friends with them, I know for many of us, that is not in our nature, I mean we are the AV geeks after all, but do it anyway, I think you will be surprised with what you might find. I was..

Leading Up

WHAT IS LEADING UP?

Working with your leaders to accomplish the vision they have set forth. To help them understand the strengths and challenges from the boots on the ground point of view. 

WHAT LEADING UP IS NOT:

It is not MANAGING UP. It is also not being a yes man/woman. Taking the opportunely to gain points or being a whistle blower on your co-workers. 

6 things to help you lead up:

1.    Get to know your supervisor, go to lunch. Find out what their work “love language”   is. I recommend doing the “strengths Finders” test from TOM RATH’S book.           Available on Amazon.

2.    Meet with them on a regular basis and ask them to mentor you as a leader. This will help you grow and you will find out what they value. People teach what they value.

3.    MAKE IT HAPPEN. This may seem like a no brainer, but do the work they want you to do, get it done on time and with quality. A high output performer is someone the boss listens to.

4.    When you bring evaluations of a situation, always bring some suggested solutions.  Be honest in your evaluations of issues, but don’t be mean.  

My father always said “You get more flies with honey than with a flyswatter”.

5.    Praise positive actions that you see your overseer doing. Leadership is tough and lonely. Let them know how much you appreciated an action, encouragement, or move they made to help your team and the organization. This let’s them know their team is behind the direction they are leading. 

6.    Pray for them. Always remember that they have a vast number of obstacles every day that you have no idea about. 

Thank You

On this Thanksgiving 2013, I would just like to say, THANK YOU. This year has been a whirlwind and I am thankful for all of you who have listened to our podcasts, watched our video coverage, read our blogposts, and communicated to Mike and I how much what we do means to you all our there. It is our privilege and honor to be a part of and serve the church tech community. 

Have a great Thanksgiving. 

Van

Pressure Moments vs The Big Picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


If you’ve been in tech for any amount of time, you know that when it’s “show-time” things get serious. We make the service or event happen and that means that we need to stay on task and focused.

At my previous church every week we had a “Programming Meeting” in which we'd recap the weekend, hopefully celebrating the successes and looking at things that didn’t work and how they are being addressed for the future. In one PM the topic of the “behind the scenes” tension was mentioned. “Things were really frantic” one of our team quipped.

To give you a little back story, on Sundays at that time; we had two services on our Main campus and one at a High School campus that typically, whoever was speaking moves back and forth between these two campuses that were about a mile apart. It was important that we stayed on time or the domino effect could throw off the subsequent services. Being late also put tension on parking, kids ministry, and the nursery (you get the point).

Our Lead Pastor had charged me and our Programming Director (our Worship Pastor) to be responsible for keeping the ship on time.
 Our teams did a great job. Things were tight, sometimes right down to the wire, but for the almost two years we had this schedule; we only had only one weekend that I would call a “train wreck”.

Keeping “The Big Picture” in sight

The balance is to keep the team motivated. Teams need to feel the weight of what is happening in “The Big Picture”, but it is our job as TD or Lead to not let them be crushed by it. We need to have our game face on while constantly encouraging them. When things go well, we MUST praise the entire team and we must know what really encourages them. When mistakes are made, we must take full responsibility for the mistake (after all, it is “our team”) and make corrections personally and individually as need be. We should never call out a team member for a mistake or misstep during the event. It is always a great policy to talk to them right after the service and then thank them for the great job that they are doing.

I am a big believer in the “Next time…” approach to correction.
“Alright, that was a little bumpy… Next time, let’s try this method of….”

The best way to keep the “Pressure Cooker” from exploding is for us as leaders to stay calm. The worst times I’ve had as a leader were when I get out of control. We set the temperature of the room. Now everyone has a different personality and some of your people are as CDO (OCD in alphabetical order) as you are and some are very chill. Some time you can be moving through the service and you may have someone act like you are not pushing hard enough. Others may think you are stressed because you talk to yourself as you process problems. You can never make everyone happy.

Bottom line, know your team, each one. I know that is hard as teams get bigger and bigger, but it is vital. Each member has a love language and it is our duty to find it. Relationship is the only hill worth dying on. If you are willing, your team will follow you anywhere. Of that I am sure.

 

 

Changing to Win

As my church heads into a season of change (an auditorium remodel, a name change, and a new website) I am brought back to the Bible’s views on changing the method but not the message. Change can be hard, but the rewards can be worth the discomfort.


1 Corinthians 9:19-23;

“19 For since I am free from all I can make myself a slave to all, in order to gain even more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew to gain the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law)s to gain those under the law. 21 To those free from the law I became like one free from the law (though I am not free from God’s law but under the law of Christ) to gain those free from the law. 22 To the weak I became weak in order to gain the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some. 23 I do all these things because of the gospel, so that I can be a participant in it.” New English Translation

I love Paul’s willingness to change his approach to “save some”. 
Paul’s message never changed, he preached the “uncompromising gospel of Jesus” his whole ministry life. His method, however, changed depending upon his audience.

 One of the greatest examples of this is described in Acts 17. Paul was in Athens and in a nutshell, he addressed the people in a way that was culturally relevant. Instead of insulting them, he preached the gospel using themes they already knew, to share who the one true God is.

 Over my life as a Christian, I have seen so many changes in the church, some good, some not so. That being said, I am a believer in doing what ever it takes to reach as many people as possible. I am blessed to be on a church staff that is led by a Pastor who has a high value for those that are “unchurched”.

 Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit and naturally want our own comfort. We say we like change, but we really don’t. In ministry, this predisposition is a nail in the coffin of what keeps a church healthy, growing, and reaching out to the lost. Some churches get this, and some don’t.

 Warning: There is a strong possibility that what you will read past this point may offend some of you.

 Many in the big “C” church, both attendees and staff, are very happy with way “their” church is. They like the “temperature”. They love the services! They love singing the songs they know, surrounded by the people they like, or are at least used to. If there is something they don’t like, they will let you know, COUNT ON IT. They don’t really see a need to change anything because “they like it”, it’s “comfortable”. Even though they would consider themselves mature Christians, their number one concern is their own comfort and safety. To quote Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you.” I have been privileged to know two men, who, if you looked at them, you would assume they would have little tolerance for change. Both had been in their church for decades, both were seen as “patriarchs” of the church. But these two men had a completely different take on it.

 “Howard” was a man in his 70’s, a former CEO of a Fortune 500 type company. He came in every week and filled the information holders in the lobby as well as making sure there were pencils and envelops in the chair racks. He didn’t really like the volume or style of the music, but he served the church week in and week out. One week after having some cancer patches removed from his arm, he was right back at church serving with excellence.

 Myron Lillie was a man who was literally “born on Saturday and in church on Sunday”. His family name was actually part of the stain glass windows in the old auditorium. He was well into his 80’s when the new young pastor and some of us crazy young people decided to start a “rock and roll” service. This was in the 1980’s in what had been a traditional Baptist church. There were those in the church that were not happy with “all these kids, smoking on the front steps before they come in to hear that Rock and Roll noise!” The very first service Myron showed up and sat in the front row! (Most of us were very nervous about this, I mean, the pastor didn’t even wear a tie!) After the service, the pastor went to his office and Myron walked in, “Pastor, can I talk to you for a minute?” the pastor thought, “Okay, here it comes.” Myron continued “That was the worst music I have ever heard…..But if you have to bang on trash cans to get that many young people into this church, I will go down and buy the cans for you.” Myron was on the front row of that service every week until he died, and many of those “young people” openly wept at the news of his passing. He had become like a grandfather to many of them, more than that, he had become Christ to them. It was not about him and he knew it.

 I want to have the heart of Howard, of Myron, of Jesus. It is not about me. It is about the vision for doing what ever it takes to reach people with God’s love. As I get older, I know that not everything that our church uses in the service will be to my liking, but if those elements can attract those who have not been interested in coming and seeing, I am for trying it. We as the church and as leaders have to be willing to have the mind of Paul to reach one more, no matter what that means. It’s not about us; it’s about showing people that we love them by meeting them where they are, in a language they are familiar with, even if we don’t personally like it. This isn’t “our church”, it’s God’s church and we “get to do this.” It is a privilege and an honor to serve God and our community, paid or not.

 I know that most of you reading this are techs or tech volunteers and some of you may think you have little or no influence on how things are programmed in your church services, but that does not mean you can’t suggest and encourage your leadership to step out of the comfort zone and try things they have never tried to reach those they have never reached.

Change the temperature, sing a new song, and surround yourself with some people you don’t know, and get to know them.

Reduce Stress

 

 

 


I Don’t know where this came from, but I think we could all do our job as techs better if we followed these tips.

Let’s try it together.

36 WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS

1. Pray

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say No to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others.

6. Simplify and unclutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, backup your data, etc.

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.

18. Eat right.

19. Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to audio while driving that can help improve your quality of life.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

22. Every day, find time to be alone.

23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with godly people.

25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good “Thank you Jesus.”

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.

33. Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe

36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you’re grateful for that you’ve never been grateful for before. GOD HAS A WAY OF TURNING THINGS AROUND FOR YOU. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

A “Deep and Wide” Tech Ministry

A “Deep and Wide” Tech Ministry

I came across a blog post recently by Charles Stone in which he summed up five questions that should be asked a your next staff meeting based on Andy Stanley’s book “Deep and Wide” .

This prompted me to think about what questions we should be asking about the structure and focus of our tech ministries. I came up with five questions based on Charles Stone’s post that might be good to ask.

1. As a church ministry are we moving the Kingdom priorities our church focuses on forward or do we simply exist?

2. Are we making a measurable difference in our church so it can focus on the local community or simply conducting services?

3. Are we organized around a mission or are we organized around an antiquated ministry model inherited from a previous generation?

4. Are we allocating resources as if Jesus is the hope of the world or are the squeaky wheels of church culture driving our budget decisions?

5. If we ceased to exist as a ministry community, would our church miss us other that what we operate for events at the church?

I’m sure there are many more questions that could be added to this list. Let me know what questions you ask to keep your tech ministry focused on what really matters.

Maybe It Is Rocket Science

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Many years ago I was in a hotel in Laughlin, Nevada for a dance competition with my two daughters (since you asked, tap, ballet, and jazz, them not me). We spent two days at this competition and the event was held in a large ballroom with a stage in one corner. The judge’s table was located on the stage and the dancers performed on a dance floor facing them.

The first year we attended they had a sound system that had not been updated since the hotel was built in the early 1970′s. All the tracks were on cassette (if your kids were in dance, you know this was not unusual) and every song, every song was distorted.

On this visit we found that they “upgraded” their system to four JBL EON powered speakers. These speakers were “mounted” with open end linked chain at a 95 degree up angle, across the front of the stage on the PROSCENIUM lighting pipe.
This “new” system sounded better than the “old” system. Not good, just better.

Church is often like this. There are systems out there that don’t sound good, they just sound better. There are programs that aren’t good, just better than they were a year ago. People often find it easy to settle. I believe we should be grateful no matter what, but I also believe that we should strive for excellence in everything. We have to stop settling.

Now I know that I will get lots of comments about resources and stewardship, so comment and I will post them. Tell me how, at your resource level, you strive for excellence. (Check out Mike Sessler’s post on it.) Now a good friend of mine reminded me that it is easy to make “excellence” itself a god. So be clear that I am not talking about excellence for excellence sake.

“….And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” Colossians 3:22b-24 (The Message)

I know that what is GOOD is sometimes in the eye or ears of the beholder. To some, Willie Nelson is both the best and worst singer in the world (or insert your own choice, Bob Dylan, Bruno Mars). Willie Nelson concerts to some “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” but even if you don’t like his music, he does his craft with excellence.

We need to be constantly striving to do the best job we can with the systems and resources we have. We shouldn’t expect God to bless us with better if we are not doing the best we can with what he has already given. Now I know that in tech we are not always in control of the content and talent we have to amplify and support, but we should always do our best and know we are not responsible for the things that are out of our control.

Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. We all make mistakes. (….yeah, that wasn’t the right scene to bring up and why is the walk in music playing?) I am talking about a life style that we can set as a goal, a place we would like to be. An attitude of giving the best we have, while giving grace to others as they do the same (and even if they don’t).

We’re not perfect beings, that’s why we need Jesus, but we can all strive for excellence in every situation.

 

Leadership Silver Bullets

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I am asked frequently what I think my “Silver Bullets” for leadership and managing people are. So I thought I would share some (Note that I didn’t think any of these up, I stole.. I mean learned them from others far wiser than I am).

#1 Work hard to learn your people’s LOVE LANGUAGE.

By this I mean understand what truly makes each of them feel valued. Caring for those entrusted to you by caring for them the way YOU want to be cared for, is not very productive, or very Christ like. Jesus cared for everyone he came in contact with differently based on THEIR needs, especially the Apostles (the twelve he spent the most time with). My experience is that when people feel truly valued, even when you have to be tough with them, they will be more willing to sacrifice for and buy into the cause. They will also be way more productive because the work you are having them do is not a “Wild Goose Chase”, but something you believe in, much like you believe in them.

#2 Pick well and make the long-term investment.

 There is so much going around these days about “Mentoring” and “Apprenticing”. Both are things I have done for years and believe in strongly. But, I only mentor a small group and I apprentice an even smaller group.

I have a small tribe of young leaders that I mentor, meeting with them for Starbucks or lunch and walk through things that are on THEIR mind, doing a lot of listening, praying, and just being with them.

I apprentice only two who have been hand picked, knowing that I will make a long-term investment in them. Apprenticing, at least in the tech world, takes time, a lot of time. But I feel that I have made good choices and that the two young men I am apprenticing at the moment are well worth the effort. I am working myself out of a job by apprenticing and my apprentices make the journey well worth it.

As I move through my career both on tech and ministry, I have found the most joy in mentoring and apprenticing. I think you might find that as well.

#3 Have a plan.

Below are some of the things I try to do as I bring up young leaders.

1. Take them to Starbucks and get to know them. Relationships are king.

2. Drag them out of their world and into yours. Introduce them to those you know. Take them to trade shows and events.
Expand their view past your organization. Let them know about the bigger world you live in.

3. Give them responsibilities in a safe environment and let them fail.

4. Debrief their failures and successes. Find out what they did and what they learned.

5. Give them limited responsibility over others and talk about it often.

6. Give them achievable goals and keep tabs on them.

7. Let them see you fail and handle it.

8. Celebrate with them.

9. Let them go.

I am sure there are hundreds of variations on these steps. A few crazy leaders saw something in me when I was young and did these very things. I have in turn done the same with those that have been put in my path.

#4 Work yourself out of a job.

Prepare your people to either replace you or become you somewhere else.

Rick Warren has said many times that he does not want Saddleback Church to be judged on it’s “seating capacity” but it’s “sending capacity”.

I believe that is also true of how you lead and raise up your people. Over my life time I have had the privilege of training up a large group of techs and leaders. I have always had one goal, to get them on the road to surpassing me in what ever we were doing. One of my mentors and friends, Pete Tessitore (R.I.P), helped me learn what true legacy is. As we installed sound systems in dozens of churches in the early 1990s he let me know that our legacy was with each church. From the moment those systems were commissioned we had a part in every life changed, every baptism, every salvation, every wedding, and every one of God’s Words spoken through those speakers. I never forgot that.

It is the same with people. Train up and mentor your people with the knowledge that they are your legacy. Every thing you pour into them, is not in vain and it will become part of them, good and bad. I have had both success and failure in this, but I never give up. I want all the people that I lead, train, and mentor to go on and do things on a scale that I never will. And when they do, I celebrate it.

Many of the young techs that I had the pleasure of working with have gone on to other organizations and have become ROCK STARS in their own right, far surpassing anything I will accomplish. I am not just hoping for that, I am counting on it.

Finding your success in those that your have influenced will give you the ultimate satisfaction and, I believe, makes God smile.

Building Leaders

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One of my passions is raising up young leaders, helping them to find not only their vocational gifts but also their God-given ministry gifts. I have had the honor to help raise up many young leaders in and out of the tech realm. Many of these leaders have gone on to great things and will be far better leaders that I could ever hope to achieve.

The double-edged sword of raising up leaders to leave and lead is, well, THEY MAY LEAVE! The goal of pouring into them is not to keep them but to send them. Sometimes that means they will go off and become “you” somewhere else, other times it’s merely to further their growth. You may have taken them as far as you can or they have just plain out grown the position that is available for them in your organization.

The “Myth” of raising up leaders is that you can accomplish it in bulk. Many leadership books can put the “fear-of-God” into you and lead you to believe that if you are not raising up twenty people to greatness right now you are a failure. The truth is that even Jesus only had 12, one of which went rogue (as if Jesus didn’t know that would happen), but he really only focused his true energy on Peter, John, and James.

Partnering with others to raise up leaders is a must. I really does take a village (thanks Hillary) to raise up great leaders, you CAN’T do it alone. Young leaders are being influenced, positively and negatively, by everyone they come in contact with. By intentionally partnering with the “influencers” in that person’s life, you can build a community that will make a greater impact than you could ever do on your own. The first true leader I raised up at South Hills, Marvin Sinson, ended up as my ATD for almost five years. Marvin is the polar opposite of me, personality and gifting wise, but shares my passion for building and shaping young leaders. One of the benefits of focusing on only a select few makes the process more intense. This intensity will produce both results and passion in them.

Results will be easy to spot. The one way to know if you are raising up leaders is that THEY are raising up and pouring into other potential leaders. It is contagious, they can’t help it and that is the whole point. Marvin, in turn, help me raise up Brent Allan, who came into our ministry at 16. The passion to raise up leaders I imparted to Marvin was passed on to Brent, who raised up others. Although we have all gone on to other ministries, that passion will continue to raise up leaders in now not one, but three organizations. 

The Legacy of building leaders is that they will go on to greater things and influence way more people that I will never have the opportunity to. The leadership DNA that is imprinted on Marvin, as well as many others, can be traced back to those in my life who have impacted me. Men like Ken Robertson, Stan Endicott, Bill Richardson, Pete Tessitore, Dave Burdett, and Jim Lisby, just to name a few, have had (and some continue to have) an enormous impact, through me, on those that I influence everyday. That is their legacy, they are touching people they may never meet and that is awesome.

We get to do this!

Pictured above: Marvin Sinson (ATD @ Eastside Church Anaheim, CA)  , Brent Allan (LD @ Northland Church, Orlando, FL), Van Metschke ( Proud Papa )