When you have 10 jobs
This November, I will be speaking at the Worship Facilities Expo in Nashville. As part of the preparation for that event, I was asked to write a practical article for someone working in the church and decided to post it here as well. You can find out more about the conference here: http://wfxweb.com/2015/
Technology has changed the church in ways I don’t think anyone could have ever predicted. Sunday services used to depend on a piano, singer, pastor and good acoustics and now have setups that rival some national production houses. The internet is a fantastic tool for sharing ideas, but I have found that it can also be intimidating to see what some larger churches are doing, and feel like those in smaller churches “can’t compete” with those productions. However, we find someone in the church and call them “tech director” because we feel like we need someone to organize all of the technology in our building and make sure everything runs smoothly. I have found that in many churches, this tech director is asked to perform numerous duties which can sometimes be daunting for one person alone.
Worship Leader. Tech director. Sound Tech. Graphics Designer. Stage Designer. Video Editor. Producer. All of those things (and probably more) fall under my own job description, and you may have others as well.
So, with many responsibilities and the desire to use technology in creative and exciting ways, how do we manage to survive each week without working 60 hours? Here are a few suggestions that will hopefully be helpful to you.
- Keep the main thing, the main thing.
We need to focus on our relationship with God first – after all, what we do is Spirit-empowered work. In our church we talk about how all people are ministers of Jesus, and you wouldn’t expect your pastor to go a whole week without reading his Bible, would you? Well, you are a minister too. Start by being with God, then you can do His work. Family is next after God. If your kids think the church is your home, you need to reevaluate your time. Finally, proclaiming the Word of God is first. Our ideas are great, but the Word is what inspires our worship, foremost.
- Know who’s in charge.
Your pastor has the final say. I know this can be hard, especially after working hard on a great idea only to see it thrown away, but that’s his position. Hopefully, you have good communication with whomever you report to in order to minimize those situations, but no matter how good your idea is, it is still up to him to give it the thumbs up.
- Know your limitations
As much as trying to do everything seems heroic and playing the martyr gets pity points, we just can’t do it all. Trying to plan Sunday services, edit videos, visit people in the hospital, schedule volunteers, and write click tracks is a big load for one person. You need to be clear for yourself what you can and cannot do, then lovingly communicate to those who lead you about your limitations.
- Find help!
Start to find people to come around you who can fill in your gaps. Not good at organization? I’m sure there are 10 people in your church who could happily spend a week in The Container Store. Maybe there are some teens in your church who love shooting and editing video, or a stay-at-home volunteer who can get on Planning Center and line up volunteer schedules for you. Start by making a list of the things you have to do, then list all the things someone else could do. This takes humility, and letting go is hard, but not only does it help you focus on what you’re best at, it also empowers someone else to use their gifting.
- Learn how to say “no”
Jason Hatley from the Journey Church says that “Sundays come along with great regularity.” We are not planning for a major musical production three months from now, we have seven days to prepare something that stirs people’s sense of wonder toward the greatness of God. Some things just cannot happen with short notice. I had a pastor once who did not realize the effort to create a short video and gave me one day’s notice, it just was not going to work. This is also a great time to “lead up” and encourage your pastor to work with you in planning further out so more creative things can be added.
- Dream Big
Just because you’re a small church, doesn’t mean you can’t execute big things. Our church of 400 has done Willow Creek productions. www.churchstagedesignideas.com is full of small churches doing great stages. Work with whatever staff or volunteers at your church, seek God, dream, and plan. Ministry is hard work, but it should be fun! We proclaim the God of Creation, Redemption and Restoration! We can’t do it all, but together we can inspire people to authentic worship, by showing people God through our art.