The big ministry inside the big shows


Many years ago, we hosted a three day worship arts conference. Not like the conferences I was paid to do, traveling around the country with large budgets and excessive amounts of gear. This one confined me to my home church, with no budget or warehouse full of audio toys.

It would prove to be a challenge to my maniacal, control-freak nature that served promoters and bands so well during my career.

Basically, this conference was about various forms of dancing, music and choreography. We used the main sanctuary stage for the opening night. It was also used for the group events to begin and end the next two days. We used classrooms in three different buildings on our property, and in two other churches in our area. We ran shuttle vans all day. It ended up being a very complex event.

I agreed to assume responsible for the tech side of the entire event. I knew that I had to relax my psychotic, death grip on productions and get help.

At the time, there were only four people on my crew. Since thy were volunteers, I generally couldn’t get more than one of them at a time. You know, they had jobs and families. I had to create another team.

I went through the youth group. There were a few that I already knew, they would do fine. But, I needed eight techs and one runner to make it happen. It was going to mean training a few who had never done it before. I talked to the ones I was hoping to get and asked them for some suggestions. We got our team pretty quick and did some quick training.

Each tech was responsible for one room. Each room had a basic sound system, a wireless headset, a CD player, a direct box and line up front for another input. The larger rooms also had an audience response mic for questions. Every room was also set up to record the class, some by video. The tech was given a written routine for things to do during and between classes.

We had one kid who was our runner. She went to each room and harvested the recordings, dropped off batteries and made sure they had everything they needed. She also carried a two way radio to call me if there was an issue that they couldn’t handle. She was a lifesaver on several occasions. We made sure she got the same training as the others, in case there was a problem and she had to fill in.

The only problem we really had was one kid who may have had narcolepsy. Either that, or the class was just painfully boring to him. He fell asleep several times the first day. We resolved that with threats or coffee or something.

Another thing that helped us tremendously, was our relationship with a local music store.

In Macon, Georgia, there’s a store called Bill Hardin Music that went out of their way to help us out. They have always been a huge supporter of local churches. We ended up being short on wireless headsets, small speakers and speaker stands. They saved our hide on that one. I will promote them as much as possible. Thanks Chuck.

In the end, the conference was a huge success. The attendees were very complimentary of my crew. The whole event actually went very smooth. Looking back, we accomplished much more than we planned to.

Several of those kids ended up staying with us as regular volunteers. Two of them went on to full time careers in audio and video production. Some of the others are career musicians now, still involved in production. We also developed an even better relationship with that music store. Half of those kids worked there at one time or another. I ended up working with that store to train their guys on design and installation.

Creating that team of volunteers opened career doors for those kids. Asking them for help was also giving them opportunities that they might not have ever gotten.

The crazed megalomaniac within me will always want to be in complete control. It is still not natural for me to ask for help. I resist it whenever possible. But, asking for help will often benefit others more than yourself. You never know what kind of opportunities you are creating for someone else. You never know how much they need to be involved in something. If you are determined to do it all yourself, you are missing out on developing relationships that may not happen any other way.

I think that’s the big ministry within tech. Creating connections, relationships and opportunities. Stuff that the control freaks tend to overlook. Don’t miss those opportunities.


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