Media Ministry can be a real sink hole for resources. When poorly designed they consume money, time and burn out volunteers. When production systems are pieced together without a master plan, especially by technology generalists, you may have a looming disaster on your hands.
It seems that every pastor has a person in their life who knows much more about technology then they do. And in a technological work that’s changing as fast as ours you need a trusted source for good advice. Wether it’s a lay person in your congregation or your tech director, I encourage you to get second opinions on big purchases and always, always ask for clear written communication on how these purchases fit into a long term master plan.
A number of key technologies are transitioning from technologies that have been around for 30 years to new digital technologies. With these new technologies comes five massive benefits for you, your volunteers and your pocket book: They’re easy to use, they simplify complex production systems, they reduce the time it takes to get the job done and they use a lot less energy to do it.
There are at least four major areas of media ministry that are going though a digital revolution, Mixing consoles and signal processing, digital wireless, wash lighting, and HD Video Production Equipment.
Now is them time to consider upgrading key parts of your production systems to new digital technology. Even with giving down, and your current systems seemingly functional, planning to upgrade is a much better approach waiting for something to fail, or worse continuing to burn out your volunteers.
Why is now the time?
1. Ease of Use – We’ve all experienced moments where the technology prevented us from getting something down. It’s one thing when it’s in the privacy of your office, but when technology lets your down and you’ve got 1000 people sitting in a room waiting to start the service, it’s really stressful. It’s this kind of stress that burns people out and invites the return of a couple of old friends: “fear of failure” and “frustration”. Save you nerves and engage your volunteers with digital systems that are much easier to use. One of the top benefit of digital systems is their ability to distinguish the two levels of operation: operations that are essentially simple and creative, these are jobs that many volunteers can be trained to do in the audio, video and lighting departments; operations that are fundamentally advanced: things like the setup, configuration, programming or tweaking of audio, video and lighting systems.
In the digital world most of the advanced stuff can be handled by an consultant/expert that’s called when needed. This doesn’t always have to be someone on yours staff. For example, with some of our clients we handle the advanced stuff remotely over the web. When properly designed, a digital system can free your volunteers from the tyranny of the technical. Let them concentrate their effort on serving their community with the creative gifts they’ve been given to share, and let’s work together to eliminate the complex systems that unnecessarily increase the possible points of failure.
2. Simplicity – It’s frustrating when something that you don’t really understand fails you. How did this happen? How did we build a system that we can’t make work in our 1 hour and 15 minutes of need? When designed properly, digital can dramatically reduce the amount of gear needed to get a job done. That means less gear, less wires, less heat, reduced points of failure, and most of all, less time to train volunteers on a system. OK it’s time for the men in the blogosphere to confess: We all love our “man caves”. For some it’s tools, for others its books, for some it’s technology for me it’s musical instruments. To make the man cave truly impenetrable and impressive to men and women alike it has to be formidable and intimidating! How many of your media ministries have been transferred into man caves over the years? How many of you have a single person in your ministry who is able to make it all work or even knows what it all does?
I am happy to tell you, it doesn’t have to be like this. A well designed digital system makes key production job much simpler to accomplish. It’s time to dis-assemble the man cave and put up a system that will engage your volunteers, reduce their stress and release their creativity.
In part two we’ll explore how digital systems can better honor people’s time, offer versatility and save you energy.
Until then. If there is anything we can do to help you make your media ministry easier to use for your volunteers and staff, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.