How to Prepare Your Production Teams for Both In-person And Online Worship Experiences

Steve Dirks

Your church now has two important worship experiences. Each one is important and valuable in their own specific way. How you prepare and lead your production teams, and really all your teams, during this time will help determine if you continue moving forward and making progress or if you slide back to what was once normal.

I want to challenge you to consider that everything has changed. You now have two opportunities to reach people at your church. No longer can you be consumed with just the “people in your room”, you must consider the “people on your Livestream”.

As you move into this opportunity that God has given your church to expand your reach to those outside the walls of your church I want to encourage you to prepare your Production teams (but really ALL your teams) well. Don’t neglect good preparation. The question is what does good preparation for my teams look like. I wanted to share a few items that I think will help you in this process with your teams.


Assumptions are the termites of relationships
Henry Winkler


Dictate the message instead of letting people make assumptions about the future. You need to be active in communicating with each and every member of your team. You need to communicate changes, updates, what is similar, role changes, and everything that is happening.

Leaving people to assume or even worse leaving them out is only going to hurt your ministry.  Because you now have two mediums you have to communicate what is different between the two. You now have to marry two opportunities to serve into one overarching team that is going to help facilitate both.


This might mean that you are maybe switching two different shows, 1 for the room, and for online. Communicate this! Maybe you are just adding in an online host. Communicate that!


Or maybe you are going to have your cameras get tighter shots to engage the people online and in the room better. Again, communicate this.


I think you get the idea, the changes that are happening need to be communicated to your entire team. Your team needs to take hold of the new vision and methods. Help them understand the Why, How, and What is being done differently so that they are set up to succeed.


PS. I hope you have communicated well with your team throughout this PANDEMIC but if you haven’t you will need to spend some extra time getting back into your team’s lives and build that relationship back up.

Every human being wants to be part of a cause beyond them.
Derwin Gray


Don’t just expect the people in your teams to understand or know the vision behind Online and In Person.  Use your Communication tools to help cast vision. Bring your team to an understanding of what they get to be a part of.


A couple of ways to do this is show stats of how many views you have had over the last months online. Show that as you regather and move forward with physical and online gatherings that you want to continue to reach an online audience. Have you had any people accept Christ online? Share it. Have you had people get baptized? share those stats. Then connect that to what God has been doing in your physical space over the last years. Marry these two things as opportunities for God to do more with your church. Change the negative of the past few months to a positive.


I believe if you show that God is moving and doing something greater than we could have asked or imagined that your people will be all in and ready to do what it takes to make both experiences a success.


“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States


Have a plan, communicate that plan, and follow that plan. If you don’t know what you are doing, how can you expect your team to know what to do? More than ever you are going to need detail and thoughts about how and why things are going to be done. Remember, your team has probably been away from your production environment, maybe a few have stayed engaged but the likelihood that you have had your whole team serving together during these months is slim.

Over time, rust builds up, make sure to have a plan that you can engage with each person about their role. If you are a larger church with a bigger staff team then divide and conquer. Have a plan for Audio, Video, Graphics/Lyrics, Stage transitions, Cameras, etc. Have a leader for each of these and know how each part is going to be affected by having 2 worship experiences.


For example, maybe now you have 2 audio consoles, one for the room and one for the stream. If so how are you going to make sure both these people are connected and know what is happening.


Have a plan to prepare and set your team up for success. I promise you won’t regret it. I have never, ever looked back on in-depth planning and said I wish I would have planned less. I have looked back on times when I planned little and wish I planned more. So plan more than you think you need to. Think of unknowns, plan for the unexpected.


Your teams will thank you! Your Church will benefit, and I believe that people will be impacted because of it in both online and physical worship gatherings.


To become really good at anything, you have to practice and repeat, practice, and repeat, until the technique becomes intuitive.
Paulo Coelho


Now that you have communicated your vision and plan to your team you can now step into Practice. With the shift from 1 service to 2 happening at the same time, you will want to practice this with your team. This is a way to get the rust knocked out. You will find by giving your team the ability to come in and practice in a low-cost setting that they will be able to join you in enhancing what you do in both settings.


Practicing will also give you the opportunity to train people on new roles and modifications you make to how you do things. You want to set your teams up for success so have them practice.


The best way I think to do this is to have a mock service:
  • Use your rehearsal night (maybe a MONDAY) to bring both your online and in-person teams in. Have a mock service where you’re streaming it to a private YouTube link or something where you can do the service the whole way through with both teams working together as you would on a Sunday or when you do it live.
  • Then send everyone home with encouragement for what you saw that was amazing.
  • Bring them back in on Wednesday for a meal together. (Reiterate your Vision) Then roll into replaying the service and discussing what was done well and then maybe also show some opportunities to improve. It will be helpful before you launch into that to thank everyone and say that as you do this, this isn’t being done to call one person out its an opportunity for US (you include yourself with your team) to learn and grow.
  • Then do it for real.
  • For a while have review links posted after every service. Send an email to the team telling them what God did in the room and online and share the link and ask everyone to review it for personal worship and if they see anything that we can change or improve to drop you a line.
    • If you have trouble getting feedback, then host another walk through the night and get together with your entire team to talk about a recent stream.


“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
– Unknown


So as you begin this process of changing and adapting you are going to be changing things up. Maybe people who have been in one position on a camera are now running a switcher. Maybe a mobile camera guy is now on a tripod or maybe you are doing a new thing and adding in roaming cameras.

Whatever the new things are your people are going to be learning, adapting, changing, and growing. Please encourage them. For every one piece of input about one thing they can change find a couple of things to praise them about. Lead with encouragement and frame any “failures” in the framework of “Here are some ways you can improve.”

Please don’t just drop suggestions or failure bombs and leave your entire team on the battlefield. Help carry each person with encouragement and actionable ways that each of them can improve their craft.


I love the quote above because it shows what really speaks volumes to people is how you handle failure. Encouraging after success is great, finding a way to encourage after a failure is a game-changer. As things have changed in your church over the last few months handle your teams with care and grace. I promise you they will value it more than ever and in turn, I believe you will your team gravitate toward processing and getting better each time you are together.


Preparing your Production teams for both an in-person and online experience is paramount to accomplishing both at a high level. If you don’t prepare well then one or both of your experiences will suffer. Instead, choose to put the time in now to prepare for both and help your church reach more people with the life-changing message of Jesus in the future.

About Steve Dirks

Executive Director
Church Visuals

Steve Dirks is the Executive Director for Church Visuals. He has spent over 10 years serving in different churches serving in lyric presentation, audio, and visual content creation, and helping lead teams of volunteers. Steve lives in Pittsburgh and uses production background to serve Steel City Church. He loves being a father to Mercy & Caleb and a husband to Bekah his amazing wife. He is a huge fan of any sports team in Pittsburgh and of course his hometown South Carolina Gamecocks!

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