I used to think the worship team members were "the people who lead music on the platform." I didn't think they had anything to do with the tech team. At the same time, I felt that worship only happened when I attended church and sang worship songs. But as I grew to be a leader of tech teams, the Lord shared with me that this thought process was wrong.
God created us to worship. Technicians, musicians, preachers and the congregation all have a logistical role to play, but the main role we play is worshipping God in everything we do.
As human beings, we were created to worship God, but how does that translate to a technician and his specific duties? The answer is simple: Our gear is simply an instrument of worship.
If a worship leader with a piano, drums or guitar is considered playing an instrument of worship, then a technician's sound console, camera or lighting board is just as much an instrument of worship. Many times, we ask our technicians just to be in the background and "make it happen." But we need to realize that technicians are a critical part of the worship team. They ultimately preside over the service's flow, creativity, atmosphere and the worship team's abilities.
Technicians are not behind the scenes; they are the scene. How a technician uses instruments of worship is critical to painting an atmosphere that welcomes the Holy Spirit and engages the congregation in deep worship. This atmosphere doesn't begin with how well we play our technical instruments of worship; rather, it all starts the moment we wake up in the morning. The spiritual environment we usher into our lives is the starting point of our worship. As John 4:24 says, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth." Technicians must orient their spiritual lives in a way that points toward God and what He wants for us. This doesn't start at church; it starts at home.
Holding your tech teams to these standards will change your perspective on all of your tech needs, mistakes, wants, desires and performance. The goal is to reduce distractions and paint an atmosphere of worship through tech. That's a vision the team can latch on to. It also creates a lens for everyone to look through when providing the tech needs of a worship event.
Don't get me wrong. I am not completely throwing out the need for qualified or talented people to operate your gear. Similar to the talent of a worship team member, gifted tech people who understand and can operate the gear is important. But I prioritize talent behind someone who has a heart for worship and a passion for the worship experience being the best it can be.
You may say, "This is all pie in the sky!" You may think there is no way you can have someone who has this passion and also possesses tech abilities. My answer to you is this: It is possible, but it takes time and work. Be sure to set up systems that identify where people are in their walk with God, passion for worship and tech abilities. Just as a coach does, work hard not only to fill positions but to have layers on your team. These layers should include everyone who is just putting their toe in the water to test whether they like working in tech all the way up to the experienced and then leadership level. Develop a plan to train and move people from layer to layer, then make sure you have a way of monitoring those layers. This is critical to ensuring you have bench depth and the heart, culture and vision carrying throughout the entire team.
As techs or tech leaders, our ultimate goal is to create teams whose members are not on the team to be cooler, flashier or more creative than the next church but want to use tech to point everyone's attention toward our God. This happens when all of us use our talents, relationships, attitudes and abilities to worship Him in everything we do.
David Leuschner is associate senior director, technical arts and technology at Gateway Church in Dallas/Fort Worth. He facilitates the live audio, video and lighting for events and oversees approximately 230 volunteers and more than 30 full-time and over 60 part-time staff.
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