Developing a Team to Serve with an Open Hand

It’s a Sunday morning.

Tech is going flawlessly. Then as the worship set is winding down a video cue is coming. You can feel the sweat coming to the surface of your epidermis because you realize that the video was brought in at the last minute and time did not allow for the video to be tested before the start of the service. The video cue comes and the play button is clicked.

You have a beautiful black screen.

You click it again just to be sure, and you still have a black screen.

While thorough service prep is a must for any church service, scenarios like this can happen just because technology can be fickle and even if you do get the opportunity to test a service element beforehand. I will say I am not perfect at dealing with these scenarios, but after working to learn to serve in a way that offers grace instead of ruling with a tight fist.

I have a few tips that I hope will help you cope when the tech does not go as flawlessly as you have seen it in your minds eye.

Don’t panic in the moment. How you react in the moment will directly affect how your media volunteers respond when a tech glitch happens. They need to feel comfortable enough to “get back on the horse” and not that the glitch caused the whole world to come crashing down. After the service affirm what they did correctly and offer guidance to what could have either made the situation better or possibly avoided the glitch scenario.

Do everything you can to shake it off. Learn from it what you can take away, but do not let the feelings of failure fester. Remember that despite what you may feel in the moment (and moments directly after) worship happened and God was glorified. I know from experience that this is harder to do, but don’t let it ruin your day or even your week. Your family and friends will thank you for it.

Serve with an open hand. I have heard this said, and for me, it is also easier said than done because I want to be the media hero, but open-handed service, in the long run, will give space for others to serve and also allow volunteers to be cross-trained. I have been in situations where one person runs ALL of the tech, which works for a while, and normally short term. Then after that person becomes unable to serve, big problems arise because no one has been trained to fill their place. This, at the heart, goes back to the discipleship principle “always have a Timothy;” always be training someone who can take your place.

Hold regular training sessions. I know this can seem like giving up media job security, but train yourself out of a job. This way when media tech hiccups happen you can be confident in the team you have trained that they will make the same, or at least pretty close to, call you would have made. In a real world scenario, something might (or will) happen when you are are not at the helm. The next best thing you can offer your church is to have someone with the same knowledge you have. This also builds trust in your church leadership that media will not meltdown in the event that you have to miss a Sunday.

When you try to control everything that happens in a service with a tightly closed fist, you’re really just left with frustration and white knuckles. @stphnevansmedia Click To Tweet

I have found that serving with an open hand has allowed for expansion in media ministry because allowing others in one person does not have to carry the full pressure of making all the tech in a service happen. This is key to not only a healthy ministry but also relationships with your tech volunteers. Knowing that the team you serve with is well trained will bring confidence to all involved and keep the stress level low because every position is covered by a well-trained operator.

When you try to control everything that happens in a service with a tightly closed fist, you’re really just left with frustration and white knuckles.