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Church Sound Files: Advice To Would-Be TDs

If you're consider becoming a TD allow me to bend your ear a moment on the pro's and con's of the most rewarding job ever.

By Mike Sessler November 16, 2010

This article is provided by ChurchTechArts.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine wrote a wonderful article giving advice to young TDs.

It’s a great read and I concur with everything he says.

In large part inspired by his article, I wanted to step back and offer some advice to those folks who are thinking of a career as a TD.

There’s an oft-repeated story in the TD world here in SoCal.

Someone was considering taking a TD job at a church in the area so he went with another TD friend to a well-respected TD of a large church for advice.

When his friend introduced him as someone considering becoming a TD, the veteran TD immediately asked, “Why?” And so goes my first point.

Don’t Do It
If you’re considering a career as a TD my first piece of advice is don’t do it.

Not because it’s not a great way to make a living, but it is one of the hardest. In fact, I would go so far as to say unless you’re called, and very clearly called, to this ministry, you won’t last.

One of my early pastors and mentors once told me that no one should ever go into ministry unless they can’t do anything else. And by “can’t do anything else” I don’t mean “not qualified” or “incapable” but rather, you simply can’t be obedient to God and not go into ministry.

A lot of people think working in a church is super-easy as we all sit around praying for each other and singing songs, hymns and spiritual songs all day long. While it’s true we do pray for each other, and occasionally sing, the truth is, it’s a lot of work.

The hours are long, the work challenging and even though almost no one else in the church has any idea what we do, how we do it or how hard it is, they all feel complete freedom to critique any and everything we do.

And now that every ministry in the church is using technology, we have far more demands on our time, even our our “days off.” Also, every time some piece of technology doesn’t work, it’s a crisis that we’re required to solve, preferably without spending any money.

I’ve worked in quite a number of companies in my career and I can tell you I’ve made a lot more money, worked a lot less and had a lot more time off in every other job.

So if you’re coming into this thinking it’s going to be a great time sitting behind the board every weekend and playing in virtual soundcheck all week, may I suggest going to work for a sound company instead?

OK, now that I’ve scared the “not called” off, let’s get on to some useful advice.

Read the rest of this post


About Mike

Mike Sessler
Mike Sessler

Project Lead at CCI Solutions
Mike has been involved with church sound and live production for more than 25 years, and is the author of the Church Tech Arts blog. Based in Nashville, he serves as project lead for CCI Solutions, which provides design-build production solutions for churches and other facilities.


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Marc Sprague says

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been called… For Five short yrs. now. (Yes, I still love it.) I find myself doing something new or different everyday, from debugging pc’s , programming light shows, updating audio systems and selling and purchesing of equipment to name a small portion of things to do. I and I have talked a few out of it. It’s easy to do when I show them what I get paid. I Look at them and say I was called and obviously they were not, because they all pray for me and turn and walk away.

  So all that I’m saying is the reward is internal and it maybe great for a few and a burden for others. Pray in agreement with others…

Be blessed,


TD Carnahan says

Mike, thanks for this article. After working only on Sundays and a few weekdays as an intern TD (with MUCH responsibility), I took a position in August as the TD for a satellite Campus of a larger (nearby) Church. I knew what I was getting into, but fortunately I have a wonderful team of people at the main church who help out with videos, graphics, web stuff, FTP, etc. Nonetheless, the job demands are high and not well understood by many outside of the environment. Many nights I’m there til 12:00am just to be back at 7:00am. I love what I do, the opportunity to use some sweet gear that I would have no chance to use otherwise, and a great opportunity to get my toes wet in the production arena. I appreciate your input, having a great deal of experience here!

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