How do you plan for vacation? Are you a compulsive list-maker? My wife and I are. (We are so much fun to travel with.) Or are you more likely to just hit the road without a particular destination or purpose in mind, except to make memories and fun?
Here’s another question for you: when you plan for your vacation do you plan for someone to take on your responsibilities at church? Do you have a B-Team ready to go when a scheduling conflict occurs?
This became very real for me this past week as I ended running our screens this past Sunday and the sound and screens on Wednesday. Thankfully, I knew this was going to happen because we have a very contentious tech team who are quick to find subs and make plans.
Can you say the same for your team?
If not, here are few thoughts that might help.
1. Invest in a scheduling system (or at least create one paper).
Whether your use your ChMS (i.e. CCB or Fellowship One) or invest in a separate system—we use Planning Center—you need something to bring order to your team. Even if you “always” have the same two guys in the booth, like my church, a scheduling system gets you in a forward-thinking mode. From there, you can include any potential subs in the system, making it easier to contact them when a conflict occurs.
If such system is out of your budget range, set up an online calendar though Google or iCloud or any host of other services. Failing that, paper still works. Print out the next three months and assign your team. Then, keep a copy in the church office, a copy in the sound booth, and a copy should be sent to every member of the team, active volunteers and subs.
2. Communicate your expectations.
You can’t fault a team for not planning to miss church when you’ve never asked them to. It’s really that simple. If you want them to communicate when they have an issue, you need to start that conversation.
3. Subs, subs, subs, subs!
Thought #1 assumes that you’ve already scouted out potential tech team subs, but maybe you haven’t. If you not, what are you waiting for? You know that you’re going to have a scheduling crisis, a calendar kerfuffle, so why wait until it’s too late?
4. Cross-train everyone, even the pastor!
I ran the sound system in my church for over ten years, but I was never really the one to run the screens. It’s only been in the past two years that I’ve had to do it. Thankfully, I was recently trained to do this when we switched programs, along with our lead pastor. (Upgrading or switching systems is a great time to broaden your base of trained techs, but that’s another post.) Now, my pastor has never had to run the screens at church, but he can, if he has too. More likely, he know nows enough to at least set up the list of songs and the sermon slides himself and then train someone else on-the-fly with regard to running the screens during the service. Is that ideal? Of course not, but I’m glad that my pastor can do all of that, if he has to.
Summer is a great time to rest and refresh, but it won’t be either of those things if the tech team is scrambling on Sunday to fill in the gaps. Get ahead of the problem by getting organized.
Remember: prior planning prevents poor performance.