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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Losey

How to Get Involved in Church Production as a Volunteer | How-to #7

Updated: May 2, 2023



Introduction

So you found your way over to my blog and want to know how to get involved. I’m so glad you’re here! If you are even just considering serving at church in the smallest capacity, you must already know how important of a decision it is—also, the Bible tells us to serve!

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. (1 Peter 4:10 NLT)

This verse leads into a list of a few of the amazing gifts that God gives us to serve others. Not an exhaustive list but it does have some good ones. In other places, Paul talks about how there are many more gifts than these so we shouldn’t idolize just these ones. It doesn’t have production abilities on there either but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t meant to use them.

To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. (1 Corinthians 12:8 NLT)

No, I don’t think the “special knowledge” Paul was referring to was knowledge of production, although that would be pretty great. After that Paul goes into the famous metaphor of all parts of the body being necessary even when those individual parts may feel insignificant. He expands on it because even if we feel insignificant, we are all necessary and needed to fulfill the body of Christ’s church. We each have something unique to bring to the table. Here are a few more spiritual gifts Paul speaks of:

  • Prophesy: (Romans 12:6)

  • Administration, Encouragement, Giving: (Romans 12:8)

  • Healing, Unknown Languages, Performing Miracles, Discernment: (1 Corinthians 12:10)

Yes, even administration and encouragement are otherworldly gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us to use for God’s glory. If that doesn’t convince you that what you have to bring is valuable, consider the other ways that serving at your local church is beneficial. Serving in the church provides opportunities for you and others to grow and develop their talents and skills, which can benefit everyone. While we don’t serve in church for personal gain, there are occasionally, personal tangible benefits. The reason I serve is because I love what I do. But on hard days, serving others is an excellent reminder that my problems are just not that important at the end of the day. Helping others feel loved provides a personal joy that completely overshadows my own hardships.

Even though it’s not always the case, serving in production capacities also provide an opportunity to serve alongside service projects that benefit the local community. There are many photography and video opportunities that go alongside the classic soup kitchen service opportunity. It might seem like a strange way to serve but those videos and photos allow others to see what they might be missing out on or spark a desire to serve that need with monetary support.

In the church, production is an essential part of creating a welcoming environment and a powerful worship experience. Elements come together to create an environment that supports and enhances the message being delivered. Whether it's a sermon, concert, or special event, the production plays a vital role in delivering the message of hope, love, and faith to the congregation. As a production volunteer in the church, you have the opportunity to use your skills and talents to inspire and uplift others.

Identifying Your Interests and Skills

If you are generally looking around to see what needs to be done, just ask. There never seem to be enough volunteers. A great place to start is walking over to the sound booth and asking them a question. More often than not, the person who coordinates the production will be in there. If they aren’t “the person,” they certainly know where “the person” is. Start up a conversation and just explain that you love being in the background but are not sure where to start. Maybe there’s a need for audio engineers but you may already have an interest in something else. Maybe you don’t know how to do it, but always wanted to learn how to operate a camera or lighting board. This is a great opportunity to do just that, while serving at the same time in a needed capacity.

Whatever the production coordinator says, keep in mind you still have the option to say no. It might not be your best fit. There are many options and don’t feel any pressure that you might be locked down to do only one thing. They understand just as you do that not everyone is good at every thing and not every person is suited for every job. You may discover that looking through a camera lens is the worst thing you’ve ever experienced. Just like working in children's ministry is not for the faint of heart, programming and operating a lighting board is sort of a niche interest as well. Try it, try something else, be transparent, and be understanding!

There are three primary areas for serving in production—audio, video, and lighting. While they each seem pretty straightforward, there are a few things to know about each that you may not have thought of. Audio has front-of-house operators, who handle the soundboard for the audience and you also may have a monitoring engineer who controls the audio mixes for the musicians. Many times, they are held by the same serving position of FOH. The video teams have many facets and layers. You have the director, you have the camera operators, stagehands, and more. The last is lighting, which sometimes may overlap in the stagehand arena. Generally it consists of primarily lighting board operators because the other rigging and lighting programing is done during the week. Again, there is more than this depending on the size and complexity of the churches production but this covers the lion-share.

Be Prepared (Lion King music)

The first step in your preparation should be understanding that you might not know everything. There is always someone more experienced than you and it will always leave you humbled. If you don’t walk in humbled, you will walk out humbled.

Don’t get too excited about having to be a professional before you walk in. That will work against the previous recommendation (be humble). If you are feeling nervous, look up a few videos online that pertain to the area you were interested. Churches understand that you will more than likely need to learn everything required for the position while volunteering. If it is a very common position like FOH audio, or cameras, different churches are going to have different guidelines and specific best practices. Once you go for your first weekend observing, take some notes on your phone and get in to the habit of looking equipment up at home. This is going to help a lot. I don’t recommend coming back into church the next weekend trying to change everything to be like the tutorial video you just watched. That wont go well either. Learn enough to be dangerous and comfortable enough to ask educated questions

Be aware that there will be questions. If you joined the production team because your an introvert, be happy! You are among likeminded friends. You will still have to communicate though. I’m not sure of a serving area other than the security team that takes the amount of in-service coordination that production tends to need.

Before you arrive, give a solid effort to learning other peoples names. Don’t creep on them on Facebook or Instagram though. If you have a tool like Planning Center Services, go over the positions so that when you introduce yourself to others, it’s not the first time you have heard of their name. Even now that I’ve been “around the block” for a while, I still take a look at people’s names so I can go out of my way to introduce and make myself available. Again, I’m an introvert so it kills me a little inside to talk to people but it’s absolutely necessary.

“Breaking the ice” through initiating introductions are the first step toward making an excellent impression. You are going to be around these people for awhile—yes, you can skate by without talking too much, but God didn’t create Christian communities so you can go it alone. God is part of a Holy community (Father Son, Holy Spirit) and He created you to be in community within the body of Christ, the church, by serving others.

Conclusion

Volunteers play a vital role in spreading the message of the gospel through various platforms whether for productions in services or online. The impact of volunteer work cannot be overstated, as they help to ensure that the message of the gospel reaches audiences throughout our communities. Volunteering in production provides an excellent opportunity to serve the church and grow in your faith. Who knows—along the way, you might even develop a new skill.

If you are considering volunteering in your churches production, I encourage you to take the leap and get involved. There are many ways to serve, regardless of your experience or skill level. Whether you are interested in audio mixing, video mixing, lighting operation, or directing, there is a place for you on the team. You don’t have to be a professional, have your life together, or even be a “great” Christian! You just have to have the desire to serve and continue to grow in your relationship with Christ.


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