Advice For New Technical Artists

15 09 2010

This post originally appears on my Church Production Magazine BlogYou can visit the blogs of various Technical Arts Leaders at:

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 had varying skills, personalities, specialties and areas needing improvement, but all of them got 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.

Last, 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 nearly 15 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.  If you’ve been called to a ministry in Technical Arts, I believe and have experienced how these three things will help you be happy and successful as you serve your church and community.




3 responses

15 09 2010

Great Post!!! The only thing I would add is a section about not only being proficient in mulitple technical areas, but also in communication and people skills. As I see it, working with people (both inside and outside the tech department) may be one of the hardest skills for a technical person to learn. Just my two cents. Keep it coming!

15 09 2010

Bryan, you’re absolutely right and I couldn’t agree more. I think just about every job needs to learn those things in order to be successful and happy.

23 11 2010
Matt Tabor

Awesome post! And you’re right, Bryan. A lot of my frustrations of being a TD come from poor communication skills on either my part, or that of the ministers I work alongside. Thank you both for your insights!!

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