Building an effective church media team will take time and commitment but also needs a clear strategy. After years of both running a media team and coaching other churches as they grow their teams. I’ve found that every effective church media team should be based on these three main components: recruitment, training, and retention.
In this article, I’ll aim to break down each of these effective church media team components to help you understand the details of how important each one is to the overall church media ministry.
Table of Contents
Component #1: Church Media Team Recruitment
Recruiting the right people for your church media team is crucial. Don’t get sucked into the belief that the most important aspect to look for in future team members is aptitude and skills. While these attributes are great to find in a team member, they are not the most important thing to focus on.
Instead, you need to follow the hierarchy of character, commitment, and competence when choosing team members.
Selecting a team member who has high character must come first because you want people who are trustworthy, dependable, and have a servant’s heart. This will mean you are building a team of people who will thrive, grow, and serve with enthusiasm.
Next, commitment is important because team members who will show up on time, be prepared for all eventualities, and take their responsibilities seriously will be greatly valued on your team. Commitment will also keep them going when things get tough and ensure they continue to show up and bring their best to what you are building.
Lastly, competence, whilst important, is not as critical as you can teach skills and train people in expertise and see them grow to new levels, but you can’t teach character or commitment.
When recruiting your media team, it’s also important to look for people who have a passion for THIS ministry and show potential in production skills that match their passion. But again, the skills element can be taught.
I recommend that if you identify someone with a passion for video production but lacks experience, you start them out running cables, assisting the audio team, or as a camera trainee, and then introduce them to other areas that you can train them in.
Component #2: Church Media Team Training
Training needs to be your next priority if you want to build a sustainable media team that can consistently deliver great-quality content. You need to plan for both short-term and long-term training to build an effective church media team.
Short-term training can be done in many ways. Through this, team members can get to learn new skills and techniques. Hands-on training using either local resources or online options is a great way to provide your team with skills to get them started.
One quick word of caution, YouTube videos may NOT be your friend. There are some great videos out there, but you need to research who the person is doing the training, and what are their experiences in the real world. Some of the things I have seen online will only pass on bad habits and not good practice – so be wise.
One thing I highly recommend is that every team member learns every role at a basic level BEFORE they specialize in a specific area. This not only ensures that team members are well-rounded, but it also helps to build teamwork and camaraderie, and an understanding of what everyone contributes.
You can also use this to identify which areas someone may excel in, not only for now but also for the future. Someone with a great “eye” for shot composition may be a brilliant cameraman now BUT they also have the aptitude to be a director long term. You should always be looking for the now and the next stages of people’s development. And allow people to follow their passions – give them room and encouragement to grow.
By giving great training opportunities to your team, you are also showing how much you value them. You are giving something to them that will be a skill they possess whatever they go on to do. I have friends who started as volunteers on church media teams and received great training and input. These folks are now carving out successful careers in the TV and film production industries. You never know whose destiny you are shaping with what you offer in terms of training.
Training really can’t be underestimated and if you are serious about it, as well as the resources above, you might want to consider internships if your church can offer those.
One example of where this works is at Life.Church in Oklahoma. Their media department offers various internship programs where interns receive training and mentorship/coaching in various areas, including video production, audio production, lighting, and stage design. They also provide ongoing training for their team members, with a focus on leadership development.
Talking of which, you also MUST have a plan for your leadership development as the effectiveness of any team will come down to how well it is led. Good leadership will result in a culture that people want to be a part of and that is the most important part of our third aspect – retention.
Component #3: Church Media Team Retention
Creating a culture that people want to be a part of is essential to retaining team members. This culture will help you ‘shut the back door’ on what is often a revolving door of staff.
I am a huge fan of making sure you have a detailed strategy when it comes to your digital ministry BUT as Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Culture is the vital ingredient of long-term success in Digital Ministry.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”Peter Drucker
The culture you create needs to provide a positive and encouraging environment. You need to recognize and celebrate team members’ accomplishments and offer opportunities for growth and advancement (back to the need for training again).
You also need a process for authentic accountability. Making sure people have clarity on what you expect from them (and what you don’t) and also giving them parameters to operate in, setting down guidelines and expectations that they know they need to adhere to as part of the team is important too.
Your leadership will determine your culture. As a leader, you need to be approachable and supportive. You need to make sure you communicate clear directions and expectations. You also must be committed to developing your team members’ skills and fostering a sense of community.
Here are some initial ideas to get you started on building a great culture:
- Make sure you plan regular times of encouragement and celebration – bringing people together outside of what they “do”. Making time for regular team-building events (I highly recommend building these around food too). Also, find ways to recognize and celebrate team members’ achievements.
- Share stories and feedback. Particularly around the impact your content is having and how it is changing and transforming people. Stirring up passion through the way what we are doing is making a difference is so important to keep people’s WHY at the forefront of what they do – that will enable them to stick with it when they see the results.
- Also, as I mentioned in the section on training, providing opportunities for the team members’ growth and advancement, such as leadership development and specialized training will go a long way in making sure they feel valued.
- Spend time praying together, ministering to each other, and loving each other. Sometimes it can be useful to see your team as a church small group and build an environment that is spiritual as well as practical.
This Step-By-Step guide will help you know where to start when improving your online video content.
In this eBook “Let’s Make it Better”, Graeme Spencer answers the questions you have been asking.
With over 25 years of experience in Christian media, Graeme walks you through his top five tips to move your media ministry forward.
This will be an invaluable resource to all those who want to grow and improve their media output or provide a great foundation to anyone starting out.
The Bottom Line
Building an effective church media team requires strong leadership. That’s why you must invest in your growth first and foremost.
Then, concentrate your efforts on three things:
The recruitment process should focus on finding individuals who have a passion for the ministry and a willingness to learn. Training should be ongoing and provide opportunities (such as the WAVE Conference) for both short-term and long-term growth. Retention is crucial, and a positive culture that recognizes and celebrates team members’ achievements is essential.
Ultimately, the success of a church media team is built on a commitment to excellence and a shared passion for ministry. I have seen this work brilliantly in ministries I have been involved in and seen people who started off as volunteers, often knowing very little now making their living working in broadcast production.
You never know who’s gifting you might unlock by giving them a start on your media team. I’d love to know how you apply these principles to their own teams and what else you might add.