Making Your Church Production Culture Sustainable

by Michael Hoddy | May 31, 2014

One increasing issue we encounter in our interactions with churches is a desire for high-impact technology, but a lack of the production culture and volunteer infrastructure to support it and keep it working.

When assessing any potential upgrade or addition to your church’s media ministry or production infrastructure, one of the key questions you must ask yourself is not only “Do we know how to make it work?” but also “Can we keep it working?” Week after week, service, after service. Not “Can we pull this off?” but “Can we make this a new normal?” Not "Person X knows how to run this," but "Does our whole team know how to run this?"

A recurring theme we see is when a church has a single exceptional, enthusiastic volunteer- someone who is way into lights or video or audio, and on whom the success of the whole operation hinges. Unfortunately, what we have also too often seen is that when that volunteer moves on- goes to college, moves, or moves on to another place, the church is left holding the bag when it comes to the technology that person championed. Often, a church will be left with a whole array of equipment no one else knows how to use.

Your church has a default level to which its production prowess will always return to. It’s defined by the culture that’s been created and maintained over the years, and the level of expectations of the overall leadership and the people.

A critical question any church must ask is “What is the overall AVERAGE level of competence in the production team?” All systems and purchases must be oriented with that in mind, because this overall average represents the culture, and that average is the point to which user interface and feature set must be oriented to. Production team competence can be improved, but only incrementally, and only with good leadership setting and staying the course.

A second related question that must be asked is “What level of production is necessary for us to connect with our culture and accomplish our mission? Really?” Often, there’s a disconnect between the production and creative geeks on the arts and tech teams, and the average Joe in the seats, and while creativity sets the pace of the congregation, it’s important to be realistic about what is actually necessary and important, making sure that creative choices serve the church as a whole, not just the creative folks.

These two questions together help to define what the culture of the church is, and it’s this culture that must be reflected in the design of your audio, video, and lighting systems and how they operate, and reflected in each subsequent purchase you make.

Somerset Media Group specializes in helping churches make these decisions wisely. What’s appropriate for the church down the street may not be appropriate for you, and we’d love to help you navigate the many possibilities and decisions along the way. Contact us! We'd love to help.

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