The time is 7:45 am and I’m looking for someone to run our lyrics before the Sunday services start. Five minutes later, I found a church attendee, and I gave him a crash course. The service starts and as you might expect it didn’t go too well. The reason I tell this story from three years ago is that it embodies the struggle I had filling the chairs on my production team. Finding someone inexperienced nearly every Sunday was a common occurrence.
Every production leader has been there; having more positions and ideas than people to fill them. In my experience, I became so desperate for people I’d ask anyone and everyone to join my team. I’d take anyone who expressed any interested in production requiring nothing but the willingness to serve. I thought “outside of the willingness to serve, what else did I need? ” I wanted to fill all the chairs so we could use all of our gear and then reach, excellence. Little did I realize that in my pursuit of people I had set myself up for failure in the biggest way.
Despite having many people, it became harder to get people to serve. Often I begged volunteers to serve every week. More than enough members were on the roster, so why was I still having issues filling the chairs? More so, my team had no expectation of excellence. When I got people in the chairs, they were not on top of their cues, creating distractions in worship and for our online campus. My team was failing, and I knew it.
Finally, I reached a breaking point when my boss and I got into a heated conversation on the state of my team. When my boss challenged me to ask more of my volunteers, I remember arguing with him saying, “I can’t ask my team to be better because I might… gasp… loose people.”
I fell into the number trap. Mistakenly placing the number of members over the quality of the members. Desperate for a solution to make my team get better and grow, I prayed and researched. One day I read a passage in the Bible that became a turning point in my production leadership journey. The passage is Acts 2:44-47 and shows the fellowship of the believers in the early church.
Acts 2:44-47 NIV
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
I remember looking at this passage in Acts and realizing the early church looked like a big family. When I applied this verse to my team, no semblance of family existed. My team had members that were there just to do their jobs and leave. Nothing more and usually less. I knew I needed to create a community before I could expect an atmosphere of excellence.
So, when I re-imagined my team, here are a few steps I took in creating family and excellence.
- Accepting that the dedication of my members is more important than the numbers of them.
- Creating spiritual standards with church leadership for who I let on my team and not compromising on them. No matter the need or consequences.
- Creating an atmosphere of excellence, where team members are both being challenged and encouraged each Sunday.
- I focused on creating a family atmosphere on the team in the services and outside the services. The person was always above the cue.
It’s easier to write about these things than to do them. However, once I implemented them on my team, the atmosphere improved. This was not without difficulty though. I lost people and there were empty seats on my team for a period. I had to accept that and have faith in God to bring faithful people to my team. It took time, but God did. The result of following these four beginning steps has grown my team much larger than ever. But, more important than numbers, everyone one my team wants to be on my team. They take ownership of their spots on the team and are okay with being challenged to get better at their job every week. As we fellowship together and pray for one another, an Acts 2:44-47 production team develops.
Focus on the quality of your members over the quantity and it will pay off in the long run and you’ll have a stronger team because of it. I’ll be writing more on the steps I’ve taken to lay the groundwork for my team in the coming weeks. Also, since we are techies, I’ll also post a few fun technical blogs and videos showing how we accomplish production in our church. Give me your thoughts on this post in the comments or on social media!