When your church has multiple locations, there is an entirely new set of hurdles for your media and production team. It’s often difficult to duplicate the quality experience of the home campus at other locations. There can also be the challenge of keeping volunteers aligned with the same vision. Here are some simple tips that have made life easier for us and will make a big difference when you’re managing teams across multiple campuses.
1. Use Consistent Equipment
Keeping your equipment consistent across environments will make your life much easier. For example, at our church we have a Behringer X32 for audio, Jands Vista software for lighting, and use ProPresenter for on-screen content. Having the same hardware and software in each space makes it significantly easier to cross-train volunteers, roll out software/firmware upgrades, and diagnose any problems that may arise when preparing for a service.
2. Distribute Content And Share Files With Dropbox
One of the first hurdles that comes with multi-site ministry is figuring out how to distribute content. With the advent of the cloud, gone are the days of hand delivering flash drives (or dare I say, CDs) to all of your environments to distribute media. Dropbox is a file-syncing service that makes file distribution a breeze. Just create a free Dropbox account and install the Dropbox app on any computer you would like to distribute to. Then, simply put your media file in your Dropbox folder, and this service takes care of copying that file to all of your computers. Dropbox Basic plans provide a free 2GBs of space or a Dropbox Pro account provides a whopping 1TB of storage for just $10 a month. Check it out here.
3. Train Your Volunteers Well
The longer I serve in ministry, the more I realize my job is to train people to replace me. Training your volunteers well – not just about your equipment, but about your vision & philosophy for ministry – will really help to create a consistent experience at all of your campuses. If you only train your volunteers to be able to handle a service if everything goes smoothly, you’ll be slammed with messages the second anything goes wrong. Training your volunteers on how to handle unexpected situations can become the difference between leading and babysitting on a Sunday morning.
4. Schedule Volunteers With Planning Center
I’ve been using Planning Center for years now, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. We recently wrote about Planning Center in this article, and for good reason. Planning Center doesn’t just help you plan a service; you can use it to schedule and communicate with volunteers, distribute worship documents (e.g. lyric sheets & chord charts), and even plan your stage layout. Pricing varies depending on the size of your ministry, but rest assured, it’s worth twice what you pay. Check it out here.
5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Communication will make or break your teams. Make sure you have open lines of communication during your services—with your band, your pastor, and your production team. Volunteers need to feel confident that they can reach out to you when they need help. Your worship team and pastor need to know they can reach out to you when there’s a last minute change. Make sure that you communicate your vision for the weekend service clearly and make yourself accessible for any questions that may come up. I recommend using GroupMe for keeping in touch with your team. You can have different message threads for different teams (band, production, church staff, etc.), which makes keeping everyone up to date during a service super easy. Check it out here.
6. Screen Share With TeamViewer
Often times, it’s difficult to diagnose a computer problem when you’re not in front of that specific computer. Remote Desktop allows you to log into and control a computer over the internet, just as if you were right in front of that computer. TeamViewer is one of many remote desktop tools out there, but it’s our favorite because of its cross-platform compatibility and ease of installation. When a volunteer calls with a ProPresenter problem, or if you just need to log in and grab a file you left on another computer, TeamViewer can save you a lot of time and hassle. Check it out here.
Multi-site ministry can be a challenging beast, but with the proper tools, you can keep a high bar of excellence across the board. Above all, always be sure to communicate well with your teams to really set them up for success. It can be the difference in dividing yourself and multiplying yourself in ministry.