As a former media team volunteer and now as a worship leader, I have seen both sides of the coin when it comes to running a presentation software like EasyWorship during a worship service. I know there can be lots of frustration, especially if things don’t go as planned or if the media team doesn’t know what the worship leader or pastor wants.
From my experience, I have come up with five things that are important for all leaders and media team members to do to ensure that the frustration and stress level will be at its lowest and, hopefully, everyone will enjoy their jobs and each other much more.
Each one of these will apply to everyone on the media team including the person running the sound, the lights, the computer for projection software, video recording and anyone else there might be on the team. But for this post, I’m going to specifically talk about how the worship leader and pastor can get the most from the person running the projection software during the services. So, here we go…
The first thing you want to be sure to provide, or find and make time for your media team, is Training. If the person running the projection software doesn’t know how to use it properly, there will definitely be problems ahead. Most, if not all, major presentation software programs provide some kind of training for their customers, whether it’s an online webinar or online training videos, or if it’s just even reading the documentation manual. There also should be a demo or trial available to install on a new member’s home computer so they can look at it at home and become more familiar with it that way.
If you find that it’s becoming difficult for your media team to learn the current software you’re using (especially if you only have volunteers that are not computer savvy), it may be a good idea to try and find a software program that is easy to use and has lots of training available. (EasyWorship would be my number one pick). 🙂 Nobody wants to sit at a computer during a worship service with the whole congregation turning to look at them every time they make a mistake because they don’t know what they’re doing. All it takes is a little Training.
You might think this is a given, however, I have seen time after time where the worship leader doesn’t communicate properly with the media team or vice versa. This leads to chaos and the computer operator sending the announcement video live when it’s supposed to be the prayer for the offering. Or the song you’re singing has four verses but you didn’t tell them you’re only singing verses 1 and 4. If you don’t communicate what’s happening and when, it’s difficult for the operator to follow along and in turn the congregation can’t follow along. There needs to be good communication between all parties involved to minimize the chaos. There are definitely times when things do change on the fly and that’s okay. You may want to come up with some kind of discreet signals ahead of time, so just in case something like that happens, you can still be on the same page. And this brings us to the next point…
Be Prepared! This kind of ties into training and communication, but you can have both of those and still not be prepared. Worship leaders (and pastors), prepare the service as much as possible and let the media team know what’s going on to minimize the surprises. This doesn’t mean that five minutes before the service you can tell the media team what’s going on. It means have it prepared and given to them in enough time for them to go over it and make sure they understand what will be happening in the service. Whether that’s one hour or one day, it can make all the difference. Once you hand over the service details to the media team, do your best to not make any changes. Don’t add a video or DVD clip 5 minutes before service starts. I have seen media team volunteers quit because of this. Make sure you have all your media, songs, sermon notes and Scripture verses ready to go when you communicate the service details to the media team. Be Prepared!
There is so much to say for this. We all like to be encouraged in what we do. The worst thing that can be done is calling out the media team on a mistake in the middle of the worship service. “That’s crazy!” you say? I’ve seen it happen, I’ve heard stories of it happening and I’ve actually had it happen to me. I see the media team as a part of the worship team and as the worship leader or pastor, you have to take on that blame when something goes wrong. Besides, if your media team is trained and you’ve prepared the service and communicated it to them, there shouldn’t be any problems. But we know there still could be. Maybe the computer acts up or something happens with the sound or lighting and they’re trying to help out and get behind on the lyrics… Whatever it may be, be gracious and handle it in private after the service is over. Find out what happened before laying blame and encourage the team with positive words and love. Make it fun for everyone. Tell everyone they did a great job after every service, not just once a year, or never! You can even praise them for what they do during a service every now and then. It’s okay to let the congregation know that they are an integral part of the service and they put a lot of time and effort into doing what they do. And they do a great job!
Finally, there is trust. Trust that your team has it. Trust that after they have been trained, they know what they’re doing. Trust that you prepared and communicated as best you could. Trust that they are doing their best. Trust that even if something goes wrong, God still moves, God still saves, God still loves and we can still worship and praise Him.