Mickey Lyons
Technical Director
Mount Pisgah – United Methodist Church
Johns Creek, GA

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself:
“I grew up in the church and was always involved in video production ever since I was early on in high school—back when it was still VHS and Beta and all that. I basically went to school for video; I never changed majors or anything. I was always broadcast journalism and I worked at the FOX 5 affiliate in Atlanta. The whole time I was very involved in my home church, in youth ministry and starting up a video ministry there as well. One of the pastors at my church said ‘Hey, there’s this opening over at Mount Pisgah, I don’t know if you’d be interested in it or not.’ That was 2005, and I’ve been at Mount Pisgah ever since. I came in as the audio/visual technician. In 2011, I moved to technical director. I’ve always felt a call to the ministry and my mother always said, ‘Just use your talents for the Lord, and you’ll be good,’ and so that’s kind of where the rubber hit the road. I finally had this opportunity and didn’t really know what was going to happen when I took a full-time job with the church. But, it’s 11 years later and it has been a long path of obedience.”

2. What does ministry look like for you?
“My role is technical director so that’s over all audio, video, and lighting. Currently our structure includes a videographer, an event technician, a technical producer who does lighting and audio. Right now it’s a staff of four and we support all of the ministries of the church. We have around a 2500 member congregation.”

3. What have been the most difficult parts of your job?
“The biggest struggle for me personally is the balance between family, faith, and work and to be able to determine when it’s work and when it’s God. The first ministry that we’re given is our families. I’ve got two kids and a wife at home and I’m trying to make sure that I’m at baseball games, I’m able to tuck them in at night, I’m not working every single weekend. That’s the biggest struggle for me and I can imagine that would be for a lot of people. I try to look at everything with sustainability, sometimes that will get me in trouble when I’m not flexible enough, but at the same time I think you have to have some sort of boundary. Then, still trying to find a way to say yes but to also make sure that you’re not doing it at the detriment of your personal life.”

4. Do you come to SALT Conference with a group or by yourself? What’s has that experience been like?
“I brought the team and the funny thing is that it’s been a slightly different team each year that we’ve gone. I think I’ve only had one guy that’s doubled up. But, it’s been beneficial for all of us each time.
One thing that I’ve always liked that SALT did was that they try to make sure that your group gets split up into different community groups. I think it’s really beneficial for everyone on the team to meet other people and to see how other people are dealing with the same problems. We would always get dinner together at night and discuss what we all talked about. We also purchased SALT University too so we could share that with the rest of the volunteer team when we got back.

5. What revelations/innovations did you gain from SALT conference? Any success stories?
“The breakouts are always good. Sometimes you learn something that you don’t know, sometimes it’s a reinforcement of stuff that you do know, and sometimes you see things from a new perspective.
Specifically, last year, the “Makers Movement” class that Nick Rivero did was awesome. He was talking about outsourcing stuff from China and taking a bit of the mystery out of that. I put that to action actually at the SALT Conference. I went to that session and that night I was starting up e-mail conversations and was able to purchase a star curtain. I got in touch directly with a vendor from China and told them exactly what I wanted. I didn’t say, ‘Hey, do you have a product’ but, ‘Hey—this is what I need.’ It just got the ball rolling and now, we own it; we purchased an LED star curtain! We do a big Christmas show each year and have been renting a star curtain for the past eight years. It was kind of neat to say ‘Hey—I know this might look a little bit sketchy, but you can get this stuff and it will work if you take the time.’”

[Mickey told us he was spending approximately $2500 per year renting a curtain, and with this insight from the SALT Breakout, he was able to buy a much better model for about the same price, thus saving him $2500 per year!]

 

6. What projects are you currently working on in your church?
“I’m actually pretty excited about this one because we just pulled the trigger on it. We’ve got an LED wall coming in a few months. It will be 16 ft. by 9 ft. (roughly 30 panels) so we’ll be able to do a full 16 ft. by 9 ft. screen or we can split it up into columns or whatever shapes we want. I’m really excited about that and glad we have some time with the learning curve with playing with what kind of configurations we can use it in. I think it will be a really versatile tool for us in our staging.
I’m always looking for a way to buy it, be able to use it, and not have to rent. We’ve used that star curtain at least four times since Christmas which is awesome. Anytime we can get something and get multiple uses out of it is great and with the church you’re always trying to stretch the dollar too.

7. Any recommendations to other church techs about the SALT conference or final reflections?
“You should go to SALT because you’re going to be in community with people just like you. There’s not many places that you can get that many technical church people in one space. The benefit of knowing that there’s a community out there and that people are going through the same issues, but also have the same triumphs as you is priceless.”