The life of a church tech is crazy. You’re the first to arrive and last to leave, get few days off and for less money than your secular counterparts.
Despite that, I believe tech ministry is one of the most amazing ministries you can serve in. I’ve recently been asked for advice on starting a career as a church tech. Those who’ve asked have varying skills, personalities, specialties and areas needing improvement, but all of them received the same advice from me.
First, church techs must become proficient in multiple, if not all of the tech disciplines of audio, video and lighting. Every tech has specialties and some are blessed with multiple specialties. Most churches, however, only have the budget to hire one tech and that person has to lead them all.
Even in churches that can afford multiple, more specialized techs, being well-versed in all disciplines makes you more effective, more valuable and better equipped to handle possible issues that could come your team’s way.
Second, be open to learning from those more experienced or knowledgeable. Many young artists struggle with being teachable. There are some seasoned artists who struggle with this too.
Often we get a little bit of knowledge and we think we know it all. I’ve certainly had prideful moments, but when I’ve taken the opportunity to learn from those who know more than me, I benefit greatly and so does everyone around me.
The best techs I’ve met have this trait. The other day I spoke with a well respected and seasoned sound guy who was experimenting with a new technique he learned from someone else. There is always something more or new to learn in the tech field, the trick is to stay open to learning it.
Finally, create boundaries that will guard the hearts of you and your family. This may ruffle feathers, but it’s easy for ministry to overtake your life, mess with your family and kill your zeal for serving.
One of the hardest things for me to learn was that I had to create boundaries to protect myself and family. For every church that has amazing leaders who are protective of their people, there are more that are just trying to get by and ask too much of their staff.
Churches don’t burn people out on purpose, but ultimately it’s not the church’s responsibility to protect you and your family. A church’s top priority must be the whole ministry before each person. Your priority must first be you and your family, and then your ministry.
Learn every discipline you can, take advantage of opportunities to learn more, and have healthy boundaries. For more than 12 years now I’ve loved both serving in and leading technical arts ministries. I believe it’s a very noble calling, one that is increasingly critical in the church today.
Duke DeJong has more than 12 years of experience as a technical artist, trainer and collaborator for ministries. CCI Solutions is a leading source for AV and lighting equipment, also providing system design and contracting as well as acoustic consulting. Find out more here. Also read more from Duke at dukedejong.com.