5 Game-Changing Ideas for Your Media Production Team

Carl Barnhill

In leading a few production teams on staff at churches and coaching volunteers through the ministry I run at Twelve:Thirty Media, I’ve noticed a few recurring things that keep popping up in successful teams across the country.

First – let me define “successful”. I believe that success with production teams is measured in a few different ways.

A successful Team is one…
  • Whose leader is not a one-man band.
  • Whose focus is not on technical perfection, but the lives being changed through the Worship Experiences they are creating together.
  • That is intentional about growing spiritually individually and together.
  • That cares and spends time with each other.
  • That is intentional about training for and executing quality Worship Experiences.

With these things in mind, let me offer 5 game-changing ideas for your media production team. If you focus your time and energy on these 5 things in the next 12 months, I promise you will see spiritual growth in your team, a stronger sense of community and excitement in your culture and better executed Worship Experiences.

1. Being intentional about raising up leaders.

This is key. If your goal is to build a culture of high quality volunteers, you can’t be a one-man show. Newsflash- The worship service will go on without you. Be mindful that you don’t fall into a rock star mentality in thinking that the Worship Experience can’t happen unless you’re at the helm.
“But Carl, you don’t understand, my leadership comes to me if a mistake happens. My volunteers can’t run the [fill in the blank] because we reserve that for staff members only because it’s so important…”
Yeah, I get that. I’ve been there.
A couple of things to consider here:
  • Swallow your pride. When I walked into Newspring Columbia as the Video Coordinator, I had the experience of directing literally hundreds of worship services, tv shows and video shoots. But I told myself – “You’re not directing for 1 year”. I forced myself to not bail myself out. I had to use what I had and raise up more people or the service didn’t happen.
  • Operate on a 70/30 Rule when it comes to Perfection. Know that, unless you’re hiring skilled, professional audio and video technicians, and you’re working with volunteers, there will be mistakes. I tried to operate on a 70% / 30% Rule – When using volunteers to execute our service, I can guarantee about a 70% accuracy rate. Mistakes like missing a lyric or missing a cue are going to happen – the trick is to minimize them and have as few ‘audience noticed’ mistakes as possible.

Suggested Tweet: "Operate on a 70/30 Rule when it comes to perfection in your Worship Experiences. @carlbarnhill"

2. Make your space a fun place to hangout.

Make your spaces awesome! Food, games, comfortable seating, figurines, decorations, or anything else you can think of to make the spaces in which your team serves a really cool place, the better. Your environments matter – especially the spaces in which you serve and hangout the most.

Does your control room have an empty space for a nice table to sit around and put candy, mints, cards, board games or anything else on?

Do you have a room or space you can renovate into a Volunteer Headquarters?

Make your spaces awesome.

3. Do a full Run-Thru during the week.

One of the most game-changing things I’ve implemented with the teams I’ve led is to move to having a full Run-Through of Sunday’s services during the week.
“What? Carl you’re crazy, there’s no way members of my team will come out on another night of the week to practice the service!”
Does your band? Does your choir? Why should this be different for your team?
If you could at least get your Lyric Operator, camera operators, or key volunteers to come on Wednesday when your band rehearses, that would help tremendously. You can’t expect perfection on Sunday when you haven’t provided opportunities for your team to practice during the week.

Suggested Tweet: "Your environments matter - especially the spaces in which you serve and hangout the most. @carlbarnhill"

4. Take time to train effectively. Give opportunities until they were comfortable.

In addition to service rehearsal, provide training workshops, training sessions with veterans, time to observe other positions and other opportunities for your team. When you train your team consistently and effectively, it will be a game-changer.

Know and act that LOVING God and people is the most important thing.

Above all else – Love God and Love People. Your volunteers will feed off your spiritual walk. Be intentional about spending time with Jesus yourself. Be intentional about Loving People. Is it on your calendar each week to spend one on one time with your volunteers? Are you praying for their spiritual growth? Are you aware of where they are in their walk with Christ? The most important game-changer for your team is this – to Love God and Love People with everything you got.

Suggested Tweet: "When you train your team consistently and effectively, it will be a game-changer. @carlbarnhill"

Give these 5 things a shot and I promise you’ll see incredible results in the growth of your production team.

About Carl Barnhill

Owner, Church Visuals

Carl Barnhill is a creative entrepreneur, motion designer and author. He is the Owner Church Visuals, a company that helps Ministry Leaders visually communicate the Gospel. He is the host of the Your Visuals Matter Podcast. You can find him in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife, Katie and two sons, Jacob and Wesley.

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