Smart Hiring Practices for Church Tech Teams

I am fortunate enough to get to travel across the country a few times each year, meeting and talking with church techs from all varieties of churches. One of the most common questions I always get asked deals with hiring: when is it time for a church to consider hiring a full- or part-time tech director or contractor, and what type of person should a church look for?

First, it may be helpful to clarify what I see as a difference between needing a contractor and needing a staffer.

In my mind, a contractor is simply somebody who shows up to do a job and then leaves: mixing a service, directing live video, etc. Their impact on teams and the larger church environment is minimal; their focus is doing a task on an as-needed basis.

A staffer, however, would typically carry more influence relationally with the people around him or her, and would also probably be more involved in the life of the church, in my view. Not only would they help execute a task or run an event, but they would also be involved in training and developing others (relationally or in their skill), attending or supporting other church events, and being part of the broader missional development of the church.

So, if a church is looking to hire a staff member, the expectation shouldn’t be that their only role is to fill a specific chair during services, but also to help develop and grow others and teach them skills, as well.

Now, when it comes to making a decision about when to hire, whether as staff or contract labor, I feel that there are a couple main variables that would drive that process and determine a timeline:

ONE: The need for consistency.                                                                                   

One of the challenges of having a volunteer-based ministry is that the skill level of the team members can vary widely from person to person. And in critical roles like audio engineer, video director, lighting director, etc., the skill level of the operator can be greatly felt by the audience.

In critical roles like audio engineer, video director, lighting director, etc., the skill level of the operator can be greatly felt by the audience.

Many ministries rely on volunteer rotations to fill the available seats each week. As a result, the quality level of the end product can fluctuate based on who’s in the chair.

I would never want a congregant to dread seeing a certain person at front-of-house mixing audio because “he’s the guy who turns it up too loud” or “he’s the guy who loves drums and that’s all you can ever hear” or “when he’s here the bass hurts my chest.”

When people are accustomed to an inconsistent experience, it has a tremendous impact on their attendance. It may make it harder for them to want to come to church consistently, it may make them want to leave early, and it may make them second-guess their decision to invite new guests to join them.

When people are accustomed to an inconsistent experience, it has a tremendous impact on their attendance.

Consistency breeds comfort, and people need to be comfortable when they come to church, not on edge. If they don’t know what to expect, it’s natural that people will dread the experience, and won’t be excited to invite others to share that with them.

So, if one audio guy is a 7 (on a scale of 1-10), one is a 4, one is a 9, and one is a 5, that means the quality of the service will constantly fluctuate each week based on who’s behind the console.

It may be more worthwhile for the church to find one person and pay them to be there every week. That way, it’s a consistent, predictable product. And if they’re only a 6 out of 10, being there every week will naturally get them more reps and could allow them to grow their skill to an 8 or 9 over time.

Don’t feel the pressure to be perfect right out of the gate. Find someone that can deliver with consistency and invest in developing their skill.

TWO: Increased demand or expectations.

This sometimes is a natural offshoot of a growing church. Not only will we have Sunday services and Thursday rehearsal, but now we want to add a midweek youth event on Wednesdays, possibly a Saturday or Sunday evening service because we’re growing, and once a month we want to do a special Friday event.

When the workload increases, sometimes that puts more pressure on volunteers to be able to commit. After all, they are just volunteering their time, and many of them have families, jobs, hobbies, and other stresses of life (not to mention the fact that they should be encouraged to attend small groups and have a Sabbath day to invest in themselves spiritually). 

 



Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.