Creating Community VS. Recruiting Bodies
A Better Way to Build Tech Arts & Worship Teams
Veteran Technical Director and CCI Solutions Church Relations Director, Duke DeJong shares four things that completely changed his approach to team building! Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions. & www.twitter.com/ccisolutions
Recruiting artists (musicians, singers, techs, etc) is not effective using the traditional methods churches have employed for decades. Announcements from the stage, volunteer drives or bulletin blurbs might get a person or two occasionally, but rarely did I get qualified or trainable people from those appeals. I realized that recruiting creative or technical artists requires more than a simple "we need you, please serve."
This is a highly condensed version of why I gave up on recruiting. I teach an entire class on the subject. This article will give you an idea of the shift that happened for me in how I grew my teams. Instead of simply trying to recruit artists to perform a function, I realized that I needed to focus on the heart and the desire of artists in order to get them to join and stay with me.
Nearly all artists want four things. 1. They want to be personally loved and connected to other artists (even introverts need this). 2. They want to feel like their art is making a difference. 3. They want to contribute to a great cause (but with a clearly defined role and time commitment). 4. They want to feel that their art is accepted (as in an acceptable sacrifice).
These four concepts literally changed how I did ministry and how I brought others in to come alongside me. Once I understood the impact of these four concepts, I had to implement ways to infuse those concepts into my creative and technical arts ministry.
Concept 1 – Create a Community of Artists
Our ministry was like most, we simply asked for the help we needed, did our jobs together and went home feeling good about the work we did. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, we just never saw the growth we needed to get ahead of the game and do the things we wanted to do. We had people who were relatively committed to serving in the ministry, but we needed to create a community of artists that would embody ministry.
There's something about the Bible, food and praying together and for one another that really helps create that sense of community. When I initially made this shift we started meeting as a team 30 minutes before service to have some breakfast and do a short Bible study and pray for one another. Not a single person scoffed at the idea of being there earlier in the morning and a few people even thanked me before we got started. We also began doing a short meet up after services to discuss anything that needed to be addressed, but mainly so we could pray over our team before they left. It was this regular, quality interaction as a group that really helped each team grow closer together. We not only served together but shared life, spiritual lessons and each others burdens. Each team really became its own community of tech artists doing life together.
Concept 2 – Making a Difference
Artists have a longing within them of wanting to make a difference. Especially for Christian artists, we have a desire to make a difference for God with our art. As an arts leader I need to not only encourage artists to serve God with what He gave them, but I should help them see the difference they make in our church. As leaders we often forget to encourage those serving alongside us with the stories of lives that have changed because of the work we do.
As an arts leader I am incredibly blessed and proud when I hear of a life that was impacted through my art. All artists, not just leaders, need to hear of changed lives whether it's an email to a Pastor on staff, a baptism service or simply a time of testimony. Share these wins with your artists as it will provide motivation and inspiration for even better and more impacting art.
Concept 3 – The Cause
When I started to make this shift I called a meeting of our volunteer and staff leaders. In fact I sent out this meeting notice to all of our team in case someone thought they were or wanted to be a leader and they weren't on my radar. After filling them in on the night's plan, the first thing we did was brainstorm everything that our ministry currently did or wanted to do in the future. This was a big list and it was awesome to dream, but more importantly it was important for all of our people to know what the whole ministry was already doing and where the whole ministry needed to go. It wasn't just about the video people, or the audio or the lighting. This was the grand vision for the entire team.
Next we discussed what the minimum commitment from every person on the team should be and what staff and leaders had to commit to our volunteers. This volunteer commitment covered things like expecting to serve once every three weeks, being on time for the production meeting, replacing yourself if you had to cancel, attending occasional full team social gatherings, etc. The discussion of what should be expected of the leaders included training, effective communication of changes/needs, job descriptions for each position and leaders that aren't too busy to care for team members.
We then charted out how many people it would take to fill every role of both our current and future/dream needs if everyone was serving once every three weeks. With this vision and organization chart nailed down and communicated, our team nearly doubled in size over the course of 2-3 years. Our people knew what we were about, could see exactly where we were short-handed, could see the job description of the needed spots and could quickly step in. Also, since the people we already had were fired up and focused many would invite their friends to join their team. Anytime someone asked about involvement we had this information ready to share and find their fit within our ministry.
Concept 4 – Being Accepted
Artists in general, and technical artists for sure, tend to have difficulty accepting and encouraging each other. Whether tech or musician, writer or singer, we tend to be judgmental perfectionists who are quicker to point out the faults than we are to encourage, thank and love on each other.
If you have someone committed to the cause and vision of your ministry but they feel like they are getting beat up or aren't good enough, they will not last. If someone is not working out in a role that's one thing, but I would much rather see a leader lovingly help them find the role they can fit into instead of coming down on them. That's not to say we should simply be happy that people show up. It doesn't mean that we ignore fixable mistakes. We want people to learn and grow. They must have grace, the world is already critical enough of artists. We should be willing to love and accept artists for the gifts that God has given them regardless if we agree with or enjoy their art. This is an atmosphere that artists will want to be a part of.
When I clearly understood and put into action these four concepts, it transformed my ministry. As a leader in your church, I pray that these insights will help you as you move forward in reaching, teaching and growing people to love and serve.
Church Relations Director
Duke has over 12 years of experience as a technical artist, trainer and collaborator for ministries. Duke travels around the country for CCI Solutions and is available to help your ministry. Join Duke on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ccisolutions.