This summer I answered a couple of questions for a Worship Leader magazine article.
Name two or three skills or areas of expertise most critical for a worship tech steward or team of stewards?
We serve people, not technology. So the first, second and third most important skill would be the ability to see the human touch at every decision intersection. Too many professionals involved with technology have mad tech intelligence but sad social intelligence. It’s less common to find someone who leads technology action plans through the human touch filter. The best steward of tech or tech teams doesn’t necessarily have all the answers, but knows the right questions (and the right people) to ask:
- How will this decision affect the people involved?
- Are we complicating the problem?
- Are we falling victim to geek and gadget lust or empowering people to release the best out of them?
- What at risk if we don’t do this?
- What will have to change if we do?
- Is it worth the return on investment?
When we ask the right people the right questions, we are able to not only see a picture of today's reality, but are also able to prepare for course changes and growth without breaking or starting from scratch.
Wrapped up in all of this is the ability to communicate tech benefits (or liabilities) from different perspectives. That’s the key to translating ideas and objectives into functional specifications and designs. The result? People to say “thank you!” instead of “why do I have to do this?”
Who are the people (by skill, function, title) currently involved in stewarding technology (e.g. audio, video, web, social media, mobile) in your church so that they all work well together?" Is there one point person, or many leaders in different areas...(team over various areas vs. single head)?
We’re organized into three main tech areas between communications and creative arts—each one with a unique vocabulary, distinct personality traits and specialized skills. There’s a lot of overlap between the teams, but we’re all protecting the same mission, vision and values so it works well.
- The Tech Arts Team is responsible for supporting a multi-dimensional experience in the auditorium (or any physical facility platform) by strategically and creatively using all audio and visual systems.
- The Tech Ops Team is responsible for empowering people with transparent hardware, software and support and protecting people from technology infrastructure and security pitfalls.
- The Digital Media Team is responsible for using communication technologies (web, social and mobile) to resource people, enable community and encourage spiritual growth.
Even though there are three specific areas for tech responsibilities and deliverables, the culture here is all about shared ownership as one team. There is constant contact between key stakeholders who are intentional about collaboration and cross-training. Although it might be easier if everyone stayed in their own area, it just wouldn’t be as effective.