Church Video Ideas:  Recruiting:  The Answer to ‘Saturday Night Panic’

Orginally published on Wednesday, November 08, 2006 at 6:34 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Last week I wrote an article entitled “Saturday Night Panic”. The article was based on a Saturday night phone call I received a month ago. The church leader that called me wanted me to run their presentation software for them the next day because he had just found out that “the guy” that runs it for them each week was sick and could not make it. In the article I went into how crucial having depth and a team is. Here’s an email I received after this article was published...

I agree with what you said about needing depth in the tech ministries
of churches.  We desperately need depth in our church and have been
trying to establish it for several years now.  Although we now have a
small team for the sound board, we have a one man operation at both
audio and video recording.  If you have recruiting suggestions, that would
make a great follow-up article. – Lisa

I so appreciated Lisa’s email and inquiry. Now that she and many others have bought into the philosophy of the team approach, let’s talk about how to build a team. Here are some things I’ve done over the years to recruit volunteers.

What’s in a Name? A lot. The first thing you must do is to pick a name and stick with it. Whether it’s the Tech Team, AV Ministry, Media Ministry, Multimedia Ministry, Technical Arts – it doesn’t really matter. Just pick one and stick with it. Use it every time you refer to that ministry in your church. It builds community, a sense of team and purpose and validates it as a vital ministry of the church.

The Survey – It seems so simple, but it works. I have done a survey in every church where I’ve served. You would not believe how fruitful they are. I simply have a card where they can fill out their contact info and then check off boxes of areas of interest, such as drama, video editing, running computer lyrics, lighting, audio, singing, etc. There are people in your congregation that will never come up to you and tell you that they have interests or skills in a particular area, but they’ll check a box on a survey and wait for your call.

Quality attracts quality – Mark it down, it’s a rule that you can bank on. When you start bringing in outside, guest professional musicians, you’ll see musicians come out of the woodworks. The reason I love companies like SermonSpice and WorshipHouse Media is because I can purchase professional video clips and media resources to use in my church, whether or not I have staff to pull it off in-house. Start purchasing and playing videos that were made by pros and you may find video editors start volunteering their services. Trust me – it happens. Bill Easum says, “The way to find people is to share the vision of what you want to do, and then watch whose eyes light up.”

Build Team Moral – As in any organization, word of mouth is still one of the strongest means of recruitment. But your people won’t recruit their peers if they don’t believe in the ministry. Try to make your media ministry (or worship ministry or youth ministry or children’s ministry) the most fun place to serve in the church. If you can, purchase shirts for your team with a logo and something like “FBC Media” on the front chest. I did short-sleeve polo shirts for warmer weather and button up long-sleeve shirts for colder weather (both were black). I don’t know why, but the team looks shaper and feels prouder while wearing their shirts. Others see them and want to find out who they are and how they can become a part of that ministry.

Creative promotion – It may not work 100% of the time, but I’ve seen something as simple as a platform announcement bring in new people. Sometimes people just need to know that there is an opening. Many people assume that “everything’s taken care of”, “they don’t need me”, “they seem like they’ve got a set team in place”. It’s your responsibility to communicate vision and need to your congregation. Now be aware, as Ed Young, Jr. once said, “People don’t give to need, they give to vision”; so put your emphasis on the vision, not the need. See if you can creatively communicate the vision of what you’re doing and where you want to go as a media ministry. Try something like a funny video promo that you create and play during the announcement time.

Ministry fair – Each year, my church would do a ministry fair and have every ministry set up tables (sometimes outside, sometime throughout the back of the worship center). Have a “Children’s Ministry” table or booth. A “Music Ministry” table or booth. See that you have the “Media Ministry” (or whatever name you’ve chosen) represented with its own table or booth. If you have shirts, have some team members at the table with their special shirt on.

Options – Here’s the hard truth: not everyone can or should run sound. Not everyone can do lighting right. A new volunteer can’t come in one week and begin directing the next. You have to have known entry points. I call them “gateways to ministry”. Anyone can be trained to run the lyrics for services. Whether you’re using PowerPoint or presentation software made for worship, with a little time and training, new recruits can pick it up and begin to serve. Start with inviting a new recruit to just come out one week and shadow the already scheduled team. Ask them to sit beside the person running lyrics for the service. I’ve seen people sit beside the person running lyrics the first service and by the second service of the morning, they had switched places and the new person was running the lyrics with the existing team member looking over their shoulder. For audio, I recruit “Assistant Sound Techs” to be on hand and help the “Main Sound Tech” who is on for that week. The assistant sound tech can help with troubleshooting, testing mics, monitoring the recording, running errands and anything that the main sound tech may ask for help with. After enough time, many assistant sound techs become main sound techs.

Recruiting can be done; it just takes time, creativity and intentionality. If you take one thing away, let it be this: recruiting never ends. You will need to be constantly recruiting the entire time you lead your given area of ministry. For whatever reason, there will always be turnover and people dropping out. You must make an intentional and strategic determination to make known the entry points into your ministry and welcome new people with open arms. Yes, they’ll need training and yes, you’ll have to invest in their growth, but it will be worth it. Set Spirit-led goals and go for it.

Some of my best directors and switchers started out on Computer 2 (our least used computer for lyric projection). I’ve seen 10 year old girls run cameras during worship (and do a better job than most adults). I’ve seen 16 years olds run sound like a pro (yes, I was nervous, but I it took some faith, which requires risk and trusting the leading of the Holy Spirit).

I’m very aware that many that serve on our AV or tech teams are not involved in any other area of ministry in our church. That gives me a greater cause and responsibility to welcome them, train them, love them and shepherd them. Your team can tell if they are being used and only wanted for their service. You’ve got to make an effort to get to know those who serve in your ministry and see how you can best minister to them. Don’t let them slip through the cracks. Don’t’ let them get burned out. To put it another way – don’t let them serve every week. Protect your team and love on them and you won’t have to worry about building team moral. May God lead and direct you to those in your church or community that he desires to see join your team. May you be sensitive and open to the Spirit’s leading and move as He moves you.

FOR DISCUSSION: How do you recruit?  Has it made a huge difference in your level of ‘Saturday Night Panic’?

©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: .

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  There are 2 Comments:

  • Posted by matt

    Thanks Greg.  Always sound advice.  We should do lunch sometime.  I work at Watermark Community Church in N. Dallas.  Are you going to be at the Worship Facility Expo tomorrow?

  • Posted by Greg Atkinson

    Yep. I’ll be at the WFX. I’ll be in most of Anthony Coppedge’s classes (since we do a podcast together). Pop by and say hello.

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