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Author: Van Metschke

Why Your Network Matters as a Tech Leader

In this world of social media, we are in some ways more connected than ever. But I talk to tech folks all the time that are still feeling isolated and on-their-own. It has also become the norm to use technology to reach out for community, mentorship, and help on Twitter, Facebook, and others. While this may seem to connect us, I actually think it can be more isolating. Social media certainly has its positives, no doubt. But it also can give us a false sense of community while allowing us to hide behind our phones and computers. I am...

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Why Good Production Matters in the Church

My first memory of actual outrage against bad production was when I was asked to run sound for a church event around age 19. There were several acts and the opener was an older guy (over the hill at 25) with an acoustic guitar. As we started his sound check it became very obvious, to me at least, that his guitar was out of tune. Being young and inexperienced, I stopped him, without thinking and said, “You’re going to tune your guitar, right?” He looked up at me in shock and said, “It’s for the Lord brother, don’t be...

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The Most Important Training a Tech Director Can Provide

One of the best parts of being a TD in a church is the diversity of things that must be done to support the ministry of the organization. Some of this is actual physical work but most of being a TD is working with people. I tell up-and-coming TDs and tech leaders, “Make no mistake, this is a people business”. And that is a good thing. Jesus is in the people business. Even though we love to work with gear, people should always be our main focus. There are so many facets of working with a team of staff...

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What to Look for in a Tech Recruit

I have written quite a bit about getting and keeping quality volunteers but not what to look for in a new volunteer. Are there traits that make a good tech volunteer? Well, yes. Yes there are. The first mistake of getting volunteers is to get them for the sake of having them. I see so many leaders trying to fill positions so desperately that the only requirement seems to be “Can you fog a mirror? Great! Push this button.” While I totally understand that Sunday comes every week, it is a big mistake to just fill positions and hope...

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December Devotion: Gentleness

Take a little break these days in December and re-center yourself with these devotions from the Sunday| Mag contributors. Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. (Titus 3:1-2) Right out of high school I got my first “real job” a parts runner at a local heavy equipment (tractor) dealer. Although I had other jobs—raceway security guard, janitor, and my personal favorite: roller rink DJ—this was my first full-time, real pay job....

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Bringing Non-Technical Volunteers Up to Speed

Most church tech teams are volunteers. That’s no secret. Even large churches staff their tech team with a majority of volunteers. Since most of those volunteers do not have the extensive technical background that we leaders (hopefully) have, it becomes our job to educate these amazing people in the ways of tech in a way that is not completely overwhelming or like taking a physics class. We must, in other words, make the complex as simple as possible. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein Here are seven ways to get started: Find...

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5 Things to Remember When Upgrading

Over the last two years, our church has remodeled our auditorium. The project was driven by the need to upgrade and modernize the audio, video, and theatrical lighting (AVL) systems. But there really wasn’t a surface in the entire building that wasn’t touched in some way. We had a great team that worked very hard to value engineer every aspect of the project. We had a tight budget and we had to stick to it. Every area was scrutinized for bang-for-the-buck. This was especially true with the AVL and main room design. Even though our room is just under...

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What to Do With a Sucky Volunteer

If you are a tech leader, you’ll have to lead volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of making church happen—especially in the worship and tech areas. In many situations, tech leaders are not prepared for the challenges of managing so many different personalities that may come into the tech ministry. From the outside, there is a stereotype of who serves on tech teams in churches. But in reality, the types of people that serve are as wide-ranging as anywhere else in the church. So you have all these awesome volunteers—some are a bit challenging—but you love having them and are...

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Surviving Getting Yelled At

Recently, I saw video of a pastor who decided, for whatever reason, to use his pulpit to make an example of his video director. Now, I could write an entire post about the reasons he calls his video director out or the fact that this pastor apparently harasses everyone in his congregation publicly as a style of preaching. I could also point out that, even though he seems to know he is “on camera”, he doesn’t seem to realize that his video director knows about this new fangled thing called the YouTube. But I digress. If you have been...

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10 Things You Need to Say Yes to Right Now

We’ve all heard that tech people have the reputation of saying no all the time. Personally, I think that is an unfair stereotype. I believe that most tech people say yes to almost everything people ask us to take care of, tech-related or not. Whether it’s because we love to serve or we are afraid that people won’t like us if we say no, we can easily get involved in projects that are either not really in our job description or just plain time wasters. Even if we believe we have healthy boundaries, we can still miss the boat...

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Mind Your Transitions

Train wreck. Car crash. Awkward moment. Bumpy ride. Kludge. These are just some of the phrases many a technical professional has uttered under their breath during an event that is going, shall we say, not so smoothly. I have been a part of, as well as witness to, many events that had very bad transitions. Well thought out and well planned transitions are crucial to any live event. They are, in my opinion, even more crucial in a church service. A great church service is designed to move the attendees to a specific emotion, discipline, or realization; to engage...

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The Powder Keg

So much of what we do as church techs revolves around communication between those we work with and us. Clarity and alignment of the overall vision is key. Unfortunately, techs, pastors, musicians, and even attendees are often on different pages when it comes to what the purpose of any given service or event actually is. This can lead to frustration and even an eventual blow up or melt down—usually at a pivotal or inopportune moment. Everyone on the programing side can usually agree on “the big picture”; bringing people to Christ, bringing them into a posture of corporate worship,...

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