“Take 1” – Growing the team

Leadership Teams

Putting together a team of great volunteer tech people can be tough. But let me challenge your thinking on this topic with this statement: we, in church tech, tend to make it tougher on ourselves. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s put 60 seconds on the clock and take a look at the topic of…

Bringing in (intimidated) volunteers

If you are doing tech well – you will likely have people in the room thinking “wow, this is really cool. They must all be professionals – they can’t possibly need me.”

In most cases that’s so far from the truth. We in tech certainly can use more people. In fact, we often really, really need people!

I’ve been involved in church production for 25+ years and lead a large team of volunteers. I get to use some great equipment. And yet I still feel that insecurity when visiting a “big” church. Many times I catch myself thinking the same thought: “if I attended here, they couldn’t possibly need me.”

Here’s something we need to realize: chances are very good that there are many people who are interested or at least curious about what we do. But they aren’t going to take the next step on their own.

There are great churches which are totally committed to engaging with people outside their church and bringing them into their church. But these very churches have tech teams that are not interested or perhaps simply uncomfortable with the idea of engaging with people and bringing them into their teams.

OK. I know the stereotype: tech people are just a bunch of introverts. Actually, I’m not so sure. Have you ever seen a tech person light up and talk non-stop over a piece of gear?

So let’s get on the solution side with a few tips for growing your team.

• Use your tech tools to create recruiting materials

Here’s an embarrassingly simple video that we quickly put together for our IMag launch recruiting. Prior to IMag we ran motion backgrounds.

Thanks to City Harmonic if you are out there.

For the record – we had 17 people sign up based on this video!

Start a conversation

One of our most reliable camera operators joined our team after he and I were talking about our love of movies (which I eventually turned into a conversation about video and cameras). He had zero experience and is now a star. Start a conversation about TV, movies, award shows, music, sports broadcasts or anything production related – see where it takes you!

Keep your eyes open

Watch when people walk by the booth or camera stands. I know it’s easy to be be “busy” in the booth. But, take a moment and see who lingers to catch a glimpse inside. Trust me – there are people doing this. Invite them in for a quick mini-tour… and catch their name and contact info along the way.

Show them how easy it can be

Ease the intimidation by letting interested people know that “experience is not needed”. Give examples of how people on your team got their start. For me, I step behind a camera with them and have them simply zoom in and out. It’s fun to watch their eyes light up. I’ve done this countless times and I’ve had tremendous success. Remember this: most volunteers are terrified by all those knobs and numbers and buttons and cables. Frankly, they might even be intimidated by you and your knowledge. Even your best people probably started out a bit scared at some point.

Hopefully, I’ve challenged your thinking.  Now let me give you a more practical challenge… try making one new contact this week (perhaps with one of these methods) and let us know how it goes!

Have a suggestion as to how you grow your team? Drop it in the comments below! I’d love to hear what works well for you!

Mark Malburg

Mark is a volunteer at The Ridge – (www.theRidge.org). He leads a team of around 30 volunteer camera ops and directors making awesome-as-possible 5-camera Imag while trying to do it as affordably-as-possible.