Is It Time To Hire A Technical Director?
By: Jennifer Winge
Ten years ago, it would be uncommon to find the technical director position on most church organizational charts. Since that time, technology has been woven into nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, including the church. In our work at Vanderbloemen, we often hear concerns of clients about the technology aspect of weekend worship services. We usually get the same three questions that center around the idea of hiring a technical director.
- What does a technical director do?
- When should we hire a technical director?
- Who should we hire?
To better understand these questions, I reached out to a great friend and ministry partner. He has navigated this space over the past 20+ years of technology changes in his time as a Worship Pastor, Creative Director and now Church Consultant. Below are his insights on the technical director position.
What does a Technical Director do?
A technical director role will look different in every organization. However, the overarching theme is a highly skilled individual that can oversee the development, management, and implementation of all aspects of the AVL (audio, video, lighting) systems in an organization. This position can sometimes include stage design or IT networking, depending on the size and needs of the organization. In layman’s terms: if it plugs in, the technical director is likely responsible for it.
When should we hire a Technical Director?
Creating a new position typically stems from one of two things: either planning for the future or reacting to a pain point in the ministry. Here are some questions to help assess if it is time to think about resourcing this role.
-Who manages your AVL systems now? Is it your Lead Pastor, Creative Pastor, Worship Leader, Youth Pastor, Volunteer, or no one? Whether it is a paid or volunteer position, someone needs to oversee this area.
-Does this person have the adequate time, skills and knowledge needed to invest in these systems? If the functionality of this area is an afterthought rather than a passion, you probably have the wrong person in this seat.
-If the person managing your systems is someone else on staff, does managing these systems make him/her less effective in the primary role? Know your gifting! Just because your worship or youth pastor can do this work doesn’t mean he/she should.
-Are the systems too complex and require more attention than what a volunteer or existing staff member can effectively handle? Know your teams’ limits. Dabbling in something and being proficient are two entirely different things. Technology requires proficiency.
Businesses and organizations often fail because staff members are not doing the jobs they are wired for and passionate about.
-If you are actively investing in AVL equipment, have you thought through who will maintain and operate this equipment long term? Technology is expensive. Make sure you have someone with the expertise to know what you should be investing in and how to take care of it.
-Have you sought outside consulting to professionally evaluate your systems and management? Outside perspective is healthy and always a good idea for every organization. Find someone who understands your vision and can help with developing a realistic plan for your church AVL Systems. Don’t try to do it alone!
-Can the church afford a part-time, full-time, or contracted position? If not, you may want to try to make the smaller investment in training the individuals you already have.
Who should we hire?
Before deciding what type of person to hire, you first need to know what your church or organization needs. Create a team comprised of some people on the technology team and some fresh outside eyes. Discuss what the needs of this role are and what type of skills a person needs to fill those needs.
Always keep in mind this person will not only need technical skills, people skills as well. Here are some questions you can ask a candidate to help assess their skill set and passion areas:
- How do you feel technology impacts the local church and community?
- Why do you desire to pursue a technical director position?
- How and when did you get started in technical arts?
- With AVL systems becoming more and more networked based, how are your skills working with networks and what experience have you had in networking systems?
- What area(s) are you’re most skilled in? Least?
- Do you see yourself as an out-of-the-box thinker or a straight-line thinker?
- What are your creative strengths & weaknesses?
Creating a new position for your staff can be a daunting task, and it can be hard to know where to begin. However, by asking the right questions, staying true to your church’s mission, and seeking outside help if necessary, you will be setting yourself up for success.
How has your church adopted a new role on staff in the past?