It came this past Saturday. I got a call from a worship pastor at a local church. He said that “the man” who runs EasyWorship on Sundays just called and won’t be there on Sunday. HELP! He wanted to know if I could come run EasyWorship for their worship services. Unfortunately, I could not because I was running EasyWorship at my home church. I told him, like I say at all my conferences, “You know your problem is not that the man can’t come, your problem is that you only have the one man. You’ve got no depth”, I told him.

I once did a workshop and weekend retreat with the worship team from the church I grew up in (my mom still goes to this church). The worship pastor there is one of my mentors and a true man of God. I love and respect him dearly. I was humbled that he, my mentor, would bring me in to do a retreat with his worship team.

He was facing the same issue at his church. He had THE sound guy and THE media guy – that’s it. Two people. No team. No rotation. I respectfully and humbly tried urging him to put together a tech team with sound and media techs that rotate. I suggested getting 2 more techs and having each serve 2 Sundays a month or recruit 6 more people and have each person serve one Sunday a month. He agreed that what I had suggested should be done, but was too afraid that the 2 current techs would get their feelings hurt and quit. Sadly, I told him it was obviously, his call and that I hoped nothing ever happened to his 2 techs.

Fast forward 3 years: I just heard that “the sound guy” has serious health issues and is in the hospital. “The media guy” got disgruntled and left the church. They are back to square one and scrambling around each week to cover those positions. This wasn’t a “I told you so – moment”. This broke my heart for my friend and mentor and for my mom’s church. I am sad and frustrated because I know that this could have been avoided. Not the sound guy’s health and the media guy getting upset. Life happens, but the issue of depth could have been addressed and a team could have been in place that would have better handled the loss of these two “main guys”.

What’s your church situation like? What would you do if your “sound guy” called on Saturday night and said he was sick? Would you panic or would you pick up the phone and call one of your other techs on your already established team? Please know that I’m not talking about mega-churches here. The team concept isn’t for just medium to large churches. This concept and philosophy is for every size church. I work with church plants meeting in schools and theaters, just like I work with larger churches. The principles are the same regardless of church size. You can at least find 2 people for each tech position. Of course, you will probably need to train and educate them, but it CAN be done.

If you’re able to, bring someone like myself in to work with your team. I don’t write this blog for selfish reasons – it’s simply a reality that there are people like me that can come to your church and work with your existing team. My friend and podcast co-host, Anthony Coppedge does this with churches, as well. This action item is for churches wanting to go to another level. Even when I was full-time on a church staff, I would bring in outside consultants and workshop leaders to reinforce what I was already teaching my teams. Consultants can touch on areas like teamwork, servanthood, vision/why we do what we do, how to disappear and how to be more effective as a team and team member.

Regardless, strive to bring depth to your team. Constantly. Let me write that again: Constantly recruit. You will always have turn over on your volunteer team, for a number of reasons. You must constantly recruit just to maintain your current numbers, not to mention if you desire to grow and expand your team. Don’t allow hurt feelings to be an issue. Talk to people one-on-one. If needed, take them out to eat. Explain to them why you’re recruiting help. Tell them your heart and reasons for a team philosophy, which have nothing to do with their abilities. Let them know that you are concerned for their well being and that you believe strongly that they need some weeks “off”. Tell them that whether they realize it or not, they are in danger of becoming burned out.

PLUG:

I have a lot more thoughts and actually made this into an article. You can read it this month in Christian Audio/Visual Magazine. It’s FREE to subscribe, so sign up today! I write monthly for them and suggest you check them out. Speaking of writing monthly, I also write monthly for Technologies for Worship Magazine (their new Canadian edition, too) and Vision Magazine. My new column with Vision Magazine is called “Creative Synergy” (the name of my podcast). As a leader, I encourage you to read a lot. I’m constantly reading. I encourage you to sign up for these magazines. I was subscribed to and reading all 3 of these before I started writing for them, so I’m sincere when I encourage you to check them out.

Greg Atkinson

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