More than ‘cool’
“I just need someone popular, cool or paid to operate the technical gear! I need new or cool tech gear! This will create or fix my worship atmosphere problem.” In visiting churches, many times I have heard these statements, says David Leuschner, executive director of technical arts at Gateway Church. “They strike me as odd if interesting,” he says.
After working and managing technical areas for more than 20 years, I have come to realize that we never say, “We need a good preacher, Christian or not a Christian, anyone will do; they just need to be a good communicator. They don’t even need to go here, let’s just pay them to teach us on the weekends.” We never grab people off the street, put them on the platform and say, “Sing, go for it.” We don’t do that for these areas. In these areas we look for people who are committed to the church, invested, believe, ready to serve, willing and helpful.
Yet, for some reason, in technical areas, we think popular, cool or paid secular engineers will fix everything. I have seen larger churches fall into the trap of buying newer, cooler gear in hopes that coolness or polish will create a worship atmosphere.
How does Gateway Church use its technical areas to create a great environment of worship? Is it a polished look with experienced secular engineers and awesomely cool and expensive gear?
“Out of the clutter, find simplicity,” Albert Einstein said. Inside the clutter of the secular world trying to tell us how, why, when and what will create a great environment of worship, there is a simple answer. People. Yes, it is all about people.
People are the reason why Gateway’s technical areas help facilitate a great worship environment. Be sure to think of your tech areas as a ministry department and not a service department. This will help you remember to spiritually and technically invest in your people. Look for great people with helpful and willing hearts, then teach them and grow them. Don’t just look for or pay for someone who has a great resume for sound, lights or video. Go beyond that.
You must train your people on how to worship God through their sound consoles, lighting boards or video gear. Invest in your tech areas the same way you invest in those who are on the platform. Teach your techs how to scripturally lay the foundation of worship which allows the Lord to move in your services.
We need our tech teams to be fully invested in the DNA of the church while understanding that their God-given technical talents are fulfilling the Great Commission. Technicians who have this concept will help allow for awesome worship atmospheres and they will do it with very minimal tech gear. The timing, accuracy, quality and efficiency of tech will excel. It’s not about how much tech gear or cool stuff you have, it’s about taking what you have been given and using it to worship the Lord.
[Source: David Leuschner, executive director of technical arts]
Stories have always been a part of the church. In the time of Jesus, stories were primarily used orally to teach and encourage. Today we use cameras to continue this tradition. The Austin Stone Community Church has created a ministry called The Story Team to use essays, photos and films to tell stories about the ways God is at work in the church, the city and around the world. The effect has been powerful.
When people see a story unfolding in front of their eyes, there is a tangible impact that lasts much longer and runs much deeper than if they simply listen to a pastor explain a sermon.
Austin Stone’s Story Team creates documentaries about normal people facing various challenges in their walk with Christ, and the team’s task is to tell the story that the Lord is weaving in their lives. Filmmaking is a powerful tool that can breathe life into the local and global body — not to become more insulated or flashy, but as a way to motivate, mobilize, reconcile, redeem and renew the dark places in our hearts and in our world.
[Source: Jeremy Rodgers, film production manager]
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