11 Pieces of Advice for Tech Teams from Churches Across the Globe

It’s about as far behind-the-scenes as you can get, but it’s one of the most crucial elements of a church service.

The tech team.

Whether your tech team is full of professional light designers, sound engineers, and cameramen equipped with all the latest gear or your tech “team” is just you, creating an excellent environment for attenders to experience God is always the number one priority. 

The Tech Roundtable 

In August, a group of twenty-five tech leaders from churches around the world met for a tech roundtable at the Life.Church Central offices to learn together, support each other, and share from their experience. They covered everything from how to train tech volunteers to how they keep their hearts focused on God in such a demanding role. 

We asked the group for the top advice they’d share with you—if you’re new to a tech role, planting a church, or even an experienced tech leader. These eleven points will help you become a better leader and set the stage for reaching more people for Christ.

Andy Bentley, Elevation Church: 

When a leader or someone on the tech team asks,  “What’s the best equipment to buy?” or “What’s the most I can get for this dollar amount?” remember that good stewardship is not always buying the cheapest thing. Good stewardship is buying the best thing for the job. If you have a budget for eight lights at $100 each, and they break in one month, that’s not good stewardship. Four lights that cost a bit more may end up taking you so much further. The cheapest solution is not always the best.

Muchiri Gateri, Hillsong Church Australia:

If I’m asked, “What should I buy?” I would answer “Well, what do you want to do?” If your pastor asks you to buy new gear, be really clear about what he’s trying to do. Ask, “What’s your outcome?” If you have a certain amount of money to go buy lights, lights may not be what you need. As a tech person, your role is to say, “Let me help you reach your ministry goal. Lights may be the way to do that, but maybe not.” 

Bryan Bailey, Prestonwood Baptist Church: 

We have a tendency to undervalue the importance of networking with other tech people. I might sit in the corner and see what everyone else is doing, and then decide if I want to get involved. When we do that, we end up isolating ourselves. We don’t get support or understanding, and you’re not sharpening that iron for anyone else. Sometimes you meet to get new ideas, other times just to vent. Networking is vital. You’ll have to give up some time to network or go to lunch. But it’s so vital. 

Eric Lizotte, LCBC Church: 

If you’re a new tech person, at first you’ll be constantly evaluating products. ‘Does it look good, does it sound good?’ But that can be a little short-sighted. Instead, ask questions about process like “Why does it sound good? What steps did we take that worked or didn’t work?” Then, you’re not constantly chasing new products, you’re evaluating process.

John Clark, Red Rocks Church: 

It’s easy to get caught up in nailing the lights or getting the mix right, but everything we do in tech only matters when we attach the Gospel to it. Get with your worship or teaching team—when what you do in tech is combined with the worship and the message, that’s when it’s powerful. 

Dave Clark, Fellowship Church

When you’re looking for volunteers, people respond to vision, not need. It’s easy to say, “We need this or we need you.” Instead paint the vision for what they get to be part of or what we can accomplish or where we’re going and our mission to reach people. Paint the vision for where you want to go, and people will get behind it. 

Justin Firesheets, Church of the Highlands:

To a new tech role: install boundaries as soon as you can. You’ll want to work 100 hours a week and say yes to everything, but it will destroy you later. You will always leave something undone. Make sure there’s clarity with your leadership about what you will leave undone and what has priority. This industry has so much burnout because they’re running themselves ragged. You have to be able to say “no” to things and you have to learn that lesson soon.

Brian Clark, Southeast Christian Church: 

Remember: people over production. Make the main thing the main thing, which is discipleship. It’s easy to get caught up in the gear and the execution of the weekend, but never lose sight of Jesus in all you do. 

Patrick Buescher, Crossroads Church: 

This took me a long time to learn: When you serve at a church it’s easy to confuse that with your relationship with God. Serving God and serving your family is more important that serving your employer.

Andy Lay, Crossroads Church:

You have to fight to have fun in your role. If no one is having fun, no one is inspired by your work. What taking risks and having fun looks like is making room for the Holy Spirit.

Tom Borkin, ARISE Church New Zealand: 

‘Contractor’ is a foreign concept in New Zealand; everyone is a volunteer. So you’ve got to take care of them. Make it easy and fun for them to serve, and give them gear that works. And always thank them for their time. It’s not complicated, but it’s very important. 

Reach Out 

We at Open Network want to thank these tech leaders for sharing their experience with us. But remember, you don’t have to travel to a roundtable to have this kind of dialogue with others in your area of ministry.

Dig deeper into these topics and make intentional relationships with tech people at your church or other churches in your community. Be the one to hold the roundtable or start the Facebook Group. Like Bryan said above, networking can be hard, but it is vital to growing in your role and serving God well.

You can also find other free resources for Ministry Tech on Life.Church Open Network: 

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