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Production Team Culture Part 2

In the last post, I introduced the mantra for our production team: “Everything we do is profoundly spiritual”. This one statement has gone a long way for our team. It’s been our rallying cry. But most importantly, it has formed the foundation of our team culture.

At the beginning of every one of our training sessions, we take time to address this foundation of our team culture. Even though all of our camera team is there for a camera team training on how to operate cameras at another level, we always take the first 10-15 minutes to talk about the foundation of our team culture. Some members of our team have heard this exact talk a few times already, but we still go over it. It’s that important that we talk about it every time we gather to improve our team.  It’s worth noting as our team grows there’s always someone that needs to hear the foundation of the team culture, but even if there wasn’t any new people, we’d still go over this foundation.

Remember that our last post talked about the base foundation: “Everything we do is profoundly spritual.”  From that, our team operates from three simple ideas.


One of the biggest hesitations that people have in joining a production team, especially in larger churches is that they are scared to mess up. We have a good mixture of people on our team with previous experience and no previous experience. What’s interesting to find out is that even the experienced one have hesitations in serving because of a fear of messing up. So we bring this up front – Since everything we do is profoundly spiritual, we will always show grace for making mistakes.  And we make it very clear, that we will have grace for mistakes.  I’ve personally been in production long enough to make every mistake there is to make. Any time humans are involved there will be mistakes.

There is another side to the statement of how we react to other team members making mistakes. As a team member, we extend the same grace to them when they mess up that we would want for ourselves when we mess up.  This covers how we talk to each other on headset, how we recover from mistakes, and the conversations had after service in our down time.


However, since everything we do is profoundly spiritual, we are not comfortable with mistakes. Beyond our team, which is what point one primarily deals with, we realize that everything we do has a profound spiritual impact for those walking in the room or watching online. Because of that, we are not comfortable with mistakes.  Just because our team shows grace, doesn’t mean at the end of the day that we are ok with the mistake happening. Spiritual impact of our services doesn’t last for a day, it lasts for eternity. Naturally, we take what we do very seriously, we approach it with seriousness, professionalism, and excellence in mind.


The final practical step we focus on is the idea of constantly getting better, constantly training, constantly looking for new areas of improvement. Since everything we do is profoundly spiritual, we will always push to be better. Sometimes the best team statements are the obvious ones.  But putting it into words gives it validity.  It gives the idea a tangible way for the team to remember what’s important for our team culture. For us, our church is growing at a fast rate, and it’s important to keep this idea of constantly being on the lookout for ways to make things better – both personally and team wide. We push to be better not so that we have the best production team, not so that we have the best church, but because of spiritual impact.  We push to get better because lives hang in the balance, because families hang in the balance, and because eternity hangs in the balance.

You might say to yourself, that seems a bit deep for a production team to focus on when people only really notice if the projectors work or if the lyrics are in time. But when you start laying a foundation for your production team that has motivation and vision beyond tech equipment, great things start to happen and your team starts to grow!

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Preparation

There are certain steps that our production team has to take each week to stay on top of our game. I have found that if we are prepared like we need to be each weekend, then it gives us the flexibility to create, and it gives us the space to solve problems, not if they come, but when they come. Call me a pessimist, but we plan on a computer not booting up, a projector not turning on, or a screen not working properly. Not that we want those things to happen at all, but when they do happen, we want to have the time and metal space to fix the problems properly with low stress, so we can lead our volunteers well. There are the obvious weekly steps, like scheduling volunteers, inputting song lyrics into pro-presenter, picking backgrounds, and programming lights. But what about the less obvious weekly steps?

One of those less obvious steps for us is simply planing where every person on the worship team will be on the platform for every single weekend. This may seem small, but it only takes a few minutes each week to avoid unnecessary head ache and confusion. Planning Center Online has built in functionality for this that we use to keep things simple and quick. Here’s why we do this:

  • It keeps our worship leader from having to decide on the spot as people come into practice. It let’s he or she lead in what matters most rather than having to decide who goes where on the spot.
  • It allows our production team to properly prepare the platform before our weekly band practices. We’re able to have microphones labeled, boom stands in place, guitar rigs in place, and audio boards properly labeled.
  • It allows our production team to properly prepare our lighting cues around who is leading which song. This is probably another post within it self, but if you want a great run through or practice for your weekend services, lighting is key as it affects so many other areas.
  • It instills a sense of confidence to our worship team that the production team is thinking in advance for them. We are all on one team, and we have their back by making sure everything is ready for them to start.
  • It allows us to catch mistakes in our weekly planning. This is one more step to putting ourselves “in” the weekend services to help us think through if we have too many of any one instrument scheduled, if the platform will be over crowded or under scheduled.
  • It answers a lot of questions and keeps our team in sync. It reduces the inevitable text messages about what does the worship set look like? Or, what does the special or closer look like? Where is this person going to stand? Through using planning center, anyone scheduled on the weekend knows exactly where they will be before they even show up.
  • If our services are more complicated, we’ll do multiple stage plots for each different look. This helps us think through those tricky transitions.

I’m not sure who said it first, but I’ve heard it a lot over the past few years: Trust the process. This is one step in our weekly process. No matter how complicated or simple the week, we make sure it gets done.