Keys to Building Community!
Last Worship Tools newsletter I took a chance and poked the bear a little bit. Many techs, and frankly many musicians tend to go at this thing alone. When we do both we and our work suffer for it. But talking about the issue of how we personally relate to others on our team can be uncomfortable for some, so I was prepared to get some emails of disagreement. Instead, every response I received not only agreed and supported the idea, but some asked me to go further into how to best approach building a community of tech servants.
Changing the Focus
I've found that as leaders, when we focus first on the task at hand, our teams often miss out on the concept of community. The task master model of leading people says one person is in charge of tasking people for a particular time and task, plugging holes as needed. I don't know about you, but I've never enjoyed leading or being led with this type of model. I want to be a valued member of a team. I want to be equipped and empowered to do something that matters with people who matter. And as a leader, I am fulfilled and happy when helping people find community and purpose. THAT needs to become our focus: helping people find a community they can connect with and service that resonates with the gifting God has given them.
One email I received from David Dyer out in Michagan said this: "It has been my experience after a lifetime in worship ministry that concluding each rehearsal/practice with a time of prayer and sharing (Bible study or just what's been going on) allows everyone to have input and develops a true team spirit." I couldn't agree more! One of the changes I made years ago as a tech director that I believe had the biggest impact on fostering community was starting every Sunday with 30 minutes of breakfast, connection, a quick service walk-through and prayer. Additionally, we added another point of contact after services, asking everyone to meet for 5 minutes or less to debrief. We talked about the good and the bad from the day, encouraged everyone and prayed a blessing over the team before they left. People could no longer sneak in, serve and sneak out. They had to become a part of a committed team who connected with and prayed for each other.
Be Picky With Who You Recruit
Over the years I've had some really talented people come my way who I've encouraged to not serve on my tech teams. What?!? Turn down talented people? If they're not people who want to fit into our community of technical artists, or only want to do things their way, absolutely! Some people are just meant to be solo artists and others are stuck in what they think they know and aren't teachable or are unwilling to bend to the good of the whole team. Both types of people will quickly destroy team morale and eventually cause your core team to break apart. With any potential new recruit, I lay out the vision for community and serving one another before even talking about their craft, and if they can buy into those pieces, regardless of their skill level, I welcome them to the family.
3 Key Attributes
I want team members who are faithful, available and teachable. Being an artist in the church can be very demanding and requires us to be selfless and flexible, and I've found these three characteristics above all else will determine whether or not someone will be an effective artist on our teams. Of course, I want people who are extremely talented and experienced too, but a poor attitude will never supercede talent for me. And I'm not just talking about personality quirks, but like the Three Musketeers, do they buy into the idea of "All For One and One For All?" At the end of the day, people who are faithful to each other and the call of service God has on their life, are available to serve a reasonable amount and are teachable regardless of their experience, are people who will build an incredible team of artists who will go to the ends of the earth together to serve their God and their church.
Getting a bunch of selfless servants in a room is not enough to build a great tech team. In order to build great teams we must shift the focus to community over function, intentionally foster times of community building, say no to the wrong kinds of people and welcome those who can buy into the vision and mission of what your team is about. Essentially, as leaders it's time we shift the primary focus of what we do to who we are. After all, it's when we are connected, fulfilled and happy that we tend to do our best art.
Duke has over 14 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