Church Video Ideas:  Do You Have ‘Saturday Night Panic’?

Orginally published on Wednesday, November 01, 2006 at 3:16 PM
by Todd Rhoades

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, "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 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 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 mentor and 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 just for 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 find at least 2 people for each tech position. Of course, you will 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 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 works with churches, too. 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, servant-hood, vision/why we do what we do, how to disappear and how to be more effective as a team and team member. Regardless, you should strive to bring depth to your team. Here are some practical steps you can and should take:

Constantly recruit. 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. If needed, 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 burn out.

Grow and stretch. Every church, in every city, at any size, has a next level. I don’t care who you are or where you’re located, you have room for improvement. You can do something better. Something more. Something less. You can stretch your team and expand their vision of why and what they do.

Get outside perspective at least annually. Someone like me and others are good to bring in to observe your church and your team in action, and then make suggestions on how you can do what you do better.

Get outside training at least annually. By “get training”, I mean to bring in professionals to work hands-on with your tech team. I’m not an audio expert. I’m not a lighting expert, etc. At my church, I would bring in a local audio or a local lighting company to work with my team and increase their knowledge and skill set. You have to know your weaknesses and limitations. Realize that you may not be the best one to train your team on how to run the lighting board or how to operate a camera. Just because you have a title and a position of leadership, don’t assume that you have the burden of having to train your techs on every piece of equipment. I do, however, suggest attending the training sessions so you’ll have an appreciation of each area.

Shepherd your team. I think you’ll find a difference in attitudes, quality of production and lower turnover rate when you make an intentional effort to pastor and care for team members.


©2006 – Greg Atkinson (www.churchvideoideas.com)

Used by permission from author. All rights reserved by author.

imageGreg Atkinson lives in Dallas with his wife and their three small children. Greg served previously as the Director of WorshipHouse Media, after having served as a worship pastor for 11 years. He is the Founder of Multisensoryworship.com and Co-Founder of Wasteland Creative, where he continues to consult, teach and write about worship, media and creative communication. You can connect with him through his daily blog, Church Video Ideas, his podcast, Creative Synergy, or his email: .

This post has been viewed 1122 times so far.

  There are 3 Comments:

  • Posted by Rob Grayson

    Very sound advice (pardon the pun). I’m a UK missionary to France, and have just taken on responsibility for the worship ministry within our small but growing church of 60-70. We currently have two sound guys, neither of whom have great experience or training, and both of whom are willing but undisciplined and unreliable. By which I mean turning up 5 mins before the Sunday meeting is not uncommon, and on more than one occasion neither has turned up at all and we’ve learnt afterwards that they were on holiday. So I have to deal with precisely some of the issues you raised - how to get these guys to see the importance of what they’re doing, and to invest themselves in it seriously, without scaring them off by making them feel threatened or getting heavy with them.

    All such issues have to be handled sensitively, but you’re right on the money in saying that hurt feelings (or the risk of hurt feelings) must not stop us doing what needs to be done to go to the next level.


  • Posted by

    Burn out does happen, whether the people are super dedicated and committed or just so-so, or situations arise where someone won’t be available.  Everyone needs a break once in a while.

    My wife and I are involved in planting a church, very small (less than a dozen people) and not taking off and growing yet.  We don’t have our own facility, so every Sunday we set up in a community recreation center; sound, lighting, media, stage, backdrop, etc.  I’m set up/tear down and media guy and my wife is hospitality girl (coffee, bagels, etc) and she runs the nursery/daycare.  We volunteer every Sunday and we’ve talked and agree that once in a while it would be really nice to be able to attend a worship service together, just to sit in church together and hold hands and enjoy a chance to worship together.

    We have a small worship team; she of the beautiful vocals and guitar and her husband, he of the lead guitar.  Everyone has situations arise when they may not be available and it’s hard on everyone else when that happens.  I’m not sure what we’d do if our Pastor got sick.

    There needs to be a team or at least back up for every position.  A team of people who can make it happen no matter what.  And if it is approached right, hopefully hurt feelings can be avoided.

  • Posted by

    I run a different person on each position at tech each weekend of the month. And I think THAT’S not enough. I’m trying to recruit new backups for each position… as many as possible…

    ALWAYS recruit!

  • Page 1 of 1 pages

Post Your Comments:





Live Comment Preview:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: