Thursday, July 23, 2009

tdrt kickoff.....

Kicked the Technical Director's Roundtable off this afternoon with nine TD's from California, Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri. Four other guys were not available to connect with us. It was an interesting session. Good conversation about digital consoles, ideas on training the team on digital and some discussion about our I.T. departments. We ended the session with a prayer for our teams, leaders and ministries. 
I have looked forward to this for some time now. It has been kind of a dream of mine to gather other TD's and develop our own community. To share ideas, learn from others, and know that Im not the only one going through something is important. I know there are other resources and opportunities for church techies but not really a focused group for full-time church technical ministry leaders. We have some great guys at the table and I know there are more that are interested in joining. I look forward to seeing what and how this roundtable develops.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

the last two years....

Here I sit, thinking about the last two years here at Windsor Crossing. Tomorrow, July 23rd marks two years ago I started here. It is pretty surreal to think that I have only been here that long and the things that have happened over that time. (Actually, it’s pretty surreal that I get to serve at a place like this along with some crazy awesome staff and volunteers.) I started this blog about two weeks after getting settled in back in 2007. It’s been fun taking a look over the past two years of Christmas and Easter’s and everything in between.

We’ve come a long way….in some areas. In other areas, I look forward to moving further in the coming year. So there is my annual evaluation for myself.

For the upcoming year. One glorious thought as I begin gearing up for the upcoming ministry year is that I am leaping in with an Associate TD. This will help me focus on some of the extremely important aspects of my job....

We now have over one hundred active volunteers serving in the technical and design teams. All the logistics, leadership and pastoring that goes into maintaining and growing this team is what really fires me up. I cannot wait to get back to being able to better focus on it.

There are a lot of things that we have had to adjust and reengineer over the last two years as the team has grown, technology has changed and needs of our worship services and ministries have evolved. I want to develop what we need, improve what we have and document everything so transferring our ‘performance technology and people DNA’ to our multi-sites will be -easier-.

There’s more…I’m sure. I just don’t want to bore you.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tech Director's roundtable

If you are a full time staff member of a church that is leading the technical / production ministry and you are interested in meeting up (in person or over the net), build community, exchange ideas, and so on – I would love to talk to you!

We are on the ground floor of developing a round table of sorts, a community of technical ministry leaders and would love for you to be a part of it. So help us get the word out to your TD/PD.

Email me at or direct message me on Twitter at billswaringim


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Multi-Site 2.0

Coming September 28 and 29 to The Crossing in St Louis is Multi-site 2.0 Conference.

Larry Osborne from North Coast Church in California, Scott Chapman from The Chapel in Chicago, Darrin Patrick from The Journey here in St Louis and my pastor here at The Crossing, Greg Holder will all be featured speakers from this two day conference.

This whole Multi-site church is catching on….

Did you know
In 1990, there were 10 multi-site churches.
In 1998, that number had expanded to about 100.
In late 2005, there were more than 1,500 multi-site churches in the United States.
In mid-2008, there are an estimated 2,000 multi-site churches across the US.
By 2010, every major U.S. city will have at least one multi-site church.

This conference will give you and your team the opportunity t0 see and hear how Multi-site church is happening and what the future holds for Multi-site 2.0 from those churches and leaders that are doing it.

Register now for the Buy One Get One Free offer!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

let me ask you this....

...what is exciting you the most about your ministry in the coming six months?


renewing the mind......

Many questions came to my mind when watching. What comes to your mind?


Three Principles To Handle Technical Glitches

I wrote this about a year, year and a half ago for an electronic church-tech newsletter.

When working with electronic technology and human resource it is inevitable a ‘glitch’ will arise. I have found three principles to help handle those glitches…

Something I have seen and also realized through my own past experiences is there is often a lack of relationship between the tech and worship leadership. While we may have known each other, and even served with each other over a number of years, we did not have a relationship. This lack of relationship often resulted in miscommunications and “glitches” that could have been avoided long before the service ever started had we worked on communicating and developing a better working relationship. As the Technical Director, I now make sure that I have a solid relationship with my boss (the worship pastor or the person who oversees the worship experience) and I strive to know their heart, feel their passion, and share their vision. I also work toward developing and maintaining an open line of communication with that person.

That open line of communication allows me to ask questions in preproduction that helps me to understand the vision for the service. It allows them to share how they want to use different elements to accomplish that vision and for us to discuss the best way to technically achieve those elements. This open line of communication also allows me to explain why I need certain info by certain times or why we may not be able to execute an element. Being a part of planning meetings or conversations before the service gets us all closer to realizing the vision.

Having that solid relationship allows us both to freely communicate (not yell or shout) when things seem to unravel, without worrying about hurting each other’s feelings or stepping on the other’s toes. In the heat of the moment while trying to ‘get it right’ we may not have enough time to be cordial and polite but simply be direct. We know that it’s not personal as we are working toward the same vision

Post service communication also needs to be open and honest, first by addressing any of those ‘discussions’ that occurred in the heat of the moment and then by open and honest evaluation of how things were pulled off technically and on the performance side. This communication happens best when done in a healthy environment with healthy relationships amongst staff and volunteers.

Vision is the number one thing that is often NOT communicated when sharing the details of the service or technical needs - Vision for the worship experience, vision for why a song or video is being used, and vision for how the lights are going to be implemented. As a leader for the technical team it is my job to cascade that vision to the team. If I’m unsure about what that vision is, then I need to capture it from my worship leader or pastor. While we ultimately do this to serve and give back to God, we have also been put in our position to serve our pastor, worship leader and congregation. I often tell my FOH guys to remember who their client is. They are there to serve at the pleasure of the worship leader and pastor. In other words it’s not ‘their mix’. There is nothing more frustrating for staff and volunteers than to think they are heading in the same direction but then come to find out what they thought was wanted, or what they were trying to achieve was not what the pastor or worship leader was looking for. Shared vision and expectation helps to alleviate this huge frustration for both sides

It is branded into my memory. The look of this man in the middle of rehearsal standing on stage yelling up to the balcony telling us…ummmm, loudly and angrily reminding us….that we had a light cue at the last measure…and we missed it!

That is a constant reminder for me of how I will always respond to people when they make a mistake, whether with technology or behind the microphone. I have found in my short life span that no one is perfect…including me and my worship pastor! Because of that I know that mistakes will happen. We do our best to plan, prepare and double check that and have back up plans in case it all fails. We also extend grace to each other and our volunteers and use these ‘glitches’ and mistakes as opportunities to grow both in relationship and skill level.

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