After polling our Facebook community, we were surprised to hear how many church tech leaders and volunteers rarely get to take a Sunday off.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about taking a weekend off from serving in your church media role and letting other staff or volunteers make it happen?
• Things are going to go so wrong, and I’ll have to jump in anyway.
• I’ve tried that before. It was a mess.
• Someone may quit afterward out of frustration with another team member.
• My pastor will tell me that I’m never allowed to do that again.
• We don’t ever have enough people show up to cover all of the positions.
Believe it or not, it is possible to build your team to the point where you can take a weekend off every month. It’s going to take three steps that may seem simple, but will take true commitment to the cause to actually pull off.
1. Have Clear Checklists For Every Position On Your Team
Write down everything, from where they get new batteries for remotes, to what needs to be turned on in what order, to what input the projectors need to be set to. Then, create a checklist so that every time they come to volunteer, they run through the same process.
Along with your checklists, create an FAQ binder. What are the questions that you get asked all of the time? What is the most common mistake when turning on the lighting computer? Where are all of the passwords for the whole team?
Having clear checklists and an FAQ binder will allow people to have somewhere else to look for answers besides coming to you.
You have to be willing to stop turning everything on for your team, taking the remote and solving problems for them, and withholding necessary passwords.
Remember your first job? If it was at a restaurant chain or a retail chain, they probably had checklists for the beginning of your shift and end of your shift. It’s helpful when someone with little (or infrequent) experience has the confidence to do their job. This is the same idea.
2. Execute These Checklists With Your Team Many Times
This isn’t going to be a quick process. However, it’s probably been a long time since you took a day off, so it’s worth investing some more time to meet your end result.
A simple method for training someone with a checklist:
• You do it, they watch.
• You do it, they help.
• They do it, you help.
• They do it, you watch.
If someone on your team only serves once a month, then the process listed above may take you 4 months.
Make sure you’re handling the checklists the way you want them to handle it. If you need them to actually mark the checklist, then mark the checklist. If you expect them to sign their name, then you should sign your name. Be sure that you’re executing everything exactly the way you need them executed.
Part way through this process, you’ll probably notice something you’ve missed on the checklist, or something that your team doesn’t understand. You may find something that is on “Person A’s” checklist that actually needs to go on “Person B’s” checklist.
Be ready to adjust your checklist along the way.
3. Build A Position For Someone To Lead That Day
You might call that person the “service coordinator,” “production manager,” or “tech team leader.” No matter the title, have someone who is responsible to make decisions for the team so they all know who is in charge and who to go to if a decision needs to be made.
In the same way that everyone else has a checklist, give this person a list to verify that everyone else’s tasks are completed.
For a while, you might need to hold this role, but be clear to everyone that this is a team position, not your position. Ask if anyone would like to learn this position, and actively look for someone to train. Work closely with this person so that they understand the decisions you would make in each situation.
Celebrate when someone is shadowing you in this position with the team. “_______ is shadowing me as production manager today!”
On the first day that someone is taking that position themselves, let your team know that what he or she says goes today. If you disagree, make it happen and then discuss it later.
This process won’t be easy, but it’s worth the extra effort. Imagine what it would be like for you to show up on time for a worship service, and leave when the service is done and be completely hands-off at least once a month. Imagine being able to take a vacation without worrying about the place crashing down. Keep the end goal in mind, and work your way towards it.