Volunteer Technical Director
Victory of the Lamb – Lutheran Church
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself:
“Well I guess I should say I don’t have any formal training in the technical creative arts. My degree was in physical education and I have a Masters in cardiac rehab and adult fitness. I’ve always been an active volunteer at church; early on I was mostly in kids ministry. As my kids were growing up I kind of just got involved in kids ministry.
About 10 years ago we joined Victory of the Lamb, which was a church plant. The first summer, we had a soccer camp for the kids—it was our version of VBS. I had put together a simple slideshow of some pictures we took at the camp and I guess that qualified me to be a visual worship coordinator. Our pastor just asked me, ‘So… do you want to research what presentation software we should use?’ and I said, ‘What’s presentation software?’ So, after quite a bit of research and testing out trial versions, I decided on ProPresenter—that was my first little taste of visual tech! I am proud of myself—I think I made the right choice there haha! My role in tech has grown as the church has grown; from starting in a soccer club hall, to meeting in a movie theater, to our recent move into our own ministry center—it’s been a lot of fun.”
2. Are you a volunteer or do you work full time at your church? What does your role and team look like?
“Yes to being a volunteer, and… yes to working a lot. I don’t think that combination is unusual for people who attend SALT. I think my official title would be ‘volunteer technical director.’ My major knowledge and talents are with the visual. Our ministry center seats about 350 and we’ve gone from one service at the movie theater to two services currently. We’ve had to build up all of our volunteer teams since the move. We have 15-20 volunteers on the tech team and we have about 4-5 positions to fill every Sunday. We stream, archive our services, and put together the ProPresenter slides weekly. Then, I pretty much schedule the tech team, train volunteers, and try to put together helpful resources. We’re really a volunteer-driven ministry—our church is that size where there are lots of things to do, but there’s not really the money to have a lot of paid people doing it.”
3. What have been the most challenging parts of your job?
“Well, I think moving into a new building is an immediate challenge. Everything is new: all the equipment is new, the building is new, some of the volunteers are new. It’s a challenge, but it’s fun too.
Not having a formal technical background, you’d think the technical part of the job would be the most challenging, but if you spend the time and ask enough questions, you can figure that stuff out. SALT has helped point me to resources and add people to my network for support. I think it’s more challenging to lead your team well and make sure that they feel like they aren’t volunteering to push buttons, but to help share Christ’s victory and change lives. Then, consistency is also a challenge. With new volunteers and different volunteers each week, it takes good training processes, which we’re still developing, to keep everyone on the same page from week to week.”
4. Did you come to SALT with a group or by yourself? What is that experience like?
“I have always come by myself and I think it would be really fun to come with a team, but I don’t mind coming alone. I get so much out of it because it’s personal development as well as professional development. It’s such a valuable experience that I continue to come even though I use personal funds and it’s a 10 hour drive. Hey, a long drive is the perfect time to catch up on podcasts, right? I feel that there are so many people to connect with and the community groups are a nice way for people who come without a team to make connections. It’s also a time to leverage what we learn in the breakout sessions and get different perspectives from the others in our group. This last year I really enjoyed my group. It was just a really good group and we shared our contact information and connected a few times afterwards. This is reminding me I should send out some e-mails to see how everyone is doing!”
5. What revelations did you gain from SALT Conference?
“Well, this will be my fourth conference. The beginning to the end is a whole revelation. I think of it as more of an experience at this point. In the process of, for example, being creatively unique and learning about that, we are actually experiencing uniqueness throughout the details of the conference. I remember last year was so great. Take the first day of the conference last year: before you had even stepped in the building, there was music playing, hosts greeting you, and lots of energy. Then, when you stepped inside, you’re greeted by this butler guy dressed in formal attire, holding a tray and serving you a drink. That was unique. It made me think… ‘How could we apply this same concept at our church? How can we make our guests feel this special?’ SALT actually puts into practice what they’re trying to teach you, and every detail of the conference was very intentional. That’s one of things that I want to be more of as a technical leader.”
6. Did you have a favorite memory during the conference?
“I think Brad Zimmerman’s breakout on being a one-man team was really helpful. It helped in building confidence. Also knowing that all the presenters are so generous with sharing their information and time, and they encourage you to contact them later if you have further questions, which is really helpful for someone like me.”
7. What projects are you currently working on in your church?
“I think, as far as the tech part of it goes, we’ve moved beyond the ‘Oh my gosh, I hope we can just get sound to come out of the speakers’ and we’re settling into our new ministry center. What I’m working on now is building the volunteer team, casting vision for the team, and being more consistent in our implementation.”
8. Any recommendations to other church techs about SALT Conference?
“I just tell people ‘Get it on the calendar!’ I guess every time I go, I feel like SALT was created just for me. Like the team sat around the table and said, ‘What would Nancy need in a conference? What does she need to help share Christ’s victory?’ and I always feel like they’ve done it. It’s always different and just when I think they can’t give me something more, they always do.”