Church Communications resources and tips from Justin Dean

Cross Point Church’s Tech Ministry

In order to understand the full context of the tech and production aspect of Cross Point Church?s Christmas production, it?s important to see what a typical Sunday looks like for the team.

The church has five different locations?one central campus and four satellite campuses. They have no official creative or technical staff positions at the four campuses. All of the production/creative positions are staffed at the main campus. They do, however, contract front-of-house engineers at every campus on a weekly basis. They believe that no matter how good the bands are at their campuses, a weak sound engineer can make the music quality suffer. But volunteers in the tech ministry fill all of the other roles at those campuses.[quote]No matter how good the bands are, a weak sound engineer can make the music quality suffer.[/quote]

Those volunteers coordinate with their respective campus pastors as well as with Matt Warren (worship) and Matt Singleton (tech). Matt and Matt help to recruit key roles like service directors for the campuses. For these specialized roles, they bring the volunteers in to the Nashville campus and train them in the pressure cooker before they?re green-lit for another campus. Those service directors then train the volunteers at their campus.

At the central Nashville campus, their tech team roster looks like this:

  • Front-of-house engineer (Paid position)
  • Director (Matt Singleton)
  • Lighting director (Volunteer on Sunday mornings)
  • 2 Media techs (Volunteer)
  • 2 Camera operators (Volunteer)
  • Broadcast director (Volunteer)
  • Broadcast audio engineer for live web streaming (Volunteer)
  • Broadcast technician to keep the stream running (Volunteer)

During the week, they hire lighting directors to come in and program for the services. This allows them to have volunteers run the lights on a Sunday morning without having to sacrifice the quality of programming.[quote]During the week, they hire lighting directors to come in and program for the services.[/quote]

At the Christmas concerts, their tech roster looked fairly similar, with only a few changes:

  • Front-of-house engineer (Paid position)
  • Main media tech (Paid position)
  • 3 Stage managers (1 Paid position, 2 Volunteer)
    Talent escort, technical on-hand guru (intercom, DMX, video patching)
  • 2 Camera operators (Volunteer)
  • Lighting director (Paid position)
    Also responsible for stage design and setting everything up.
  • Service director (Matt Singleton)
  • Broadcast director (Volunteer)
  • Additional media support in broadcast suite (Volunteer)

Concerning screen content and LED lighting on the stage: They didn?t pre-program for the guest artists. They came up with that content as they rehearsed an hour before each performance. They accomplished this by pre-loading a lot of great media content into their systems so they had good stuff to work with. This was a lot of work for a 45-minute program jam packed with a lot of content. And they wanted things to move as fluidly as possible.

The Dynamic Between Worship/Tech/Creative

The dynamics between worship and tech comes pretty naturally to the team. Matt and Matt have both known each other for a long time?even before they were on staff at the church together. So friendship and trust are strong in their relationship.

Each week, the team has a few meetings to hammer out the weekend details. On Tuesdays, Matt Singleton runs a meeting with Stephen Brewster (Creative Arts Pastor), Matt Warren (Worship Pastor), and Jarrod Morris (a staff worship leader). This gives them the peek into what the weekend is going to be like. They also use this meeting to project as far forward as they can?pitching ideas, reviewing them, and a bit of brainstorming.

At the end of this meeting, they get some specifics on how the upcoming Sunday will roll out. Then Matt and Matt peel off and start putting the pieces together.

They work very tightly together because they both value each other?s roles. Matt Singleton does a lot of video and he?s very musically driven. Then Matt Warren is a very technical musician, so he?s very aware of the production aspect. There?s a lot of give and take. One can ask for an extra musical element to give him time to get a certain visual on screen. Or the other can ask for assistance in order to make a special worship moment. They work hard to make sure the best idea always wins.[quote]They work hard to make sure the best idea always wins.[/quote]

The same day as the big meeting with Brewster, Matt, and Jarrod, Matt meets with all the campus pastors to give them the lay of the land: the order of service, how they plug into the schedule, etc. This also gives the campus pastors a chance to provide feedback from their campus? perspective. (This is always one of the biggest challenges each week?trying to create the biggest and best ideas for elements for the central campus that can also scale down to the other campuses.)

Communication is also a very important part of the dynamic between creative, tech, and worship. Matt Singleton (tech) is more of a face-to-face and phone person. Stephen Brewster (creative) is more of an email and text message guy, mostly because that?s what his schedule allows. Matt Warren (worship) is more of a balance between the two. This means they?ve each had to grow in their communication skills and set up systems that allow them to work best with the information they have. It?s also been important to assume the best of each other and avoid reading intention or tone in an email or text message, which is all-to-easy to assume.[quote]They?ve each had to grow in their communication skills and set up systems that allow them to work best with the information they have.[/quote]

Fortunately, once they get their marching orders from their big meetings with the team and Brewster, then Matt and Matt are usually left to make things happen on their own. Brewster isn?t as worried with the technical details. This leaves the Matts to dot their i?s and cross their t?s?usually in face-to-face communication where details like this would become so tedious via email.

Impacting the Environment of the Concerts

Because they work hard to foster quality weekend services and a great working relationship among the team, putting together the Christmas concerts went rather smoothly. They were able to deal with minor emergencies like a massive rainstorm the night after their last concert and power outages weeks before the event. A team that can communicate well and function?in mutual respect can accomplish a lot.

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