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AV Operations - Training the Team

Developing the Team

All church teams whether in the AV ministry or not have to be consistently developed. Imagine a choir that does not rehearse before they sing or a preacher that does not prepare before speaking. AV ministry teams need constant and consistent development. This development is predicated on the fact that the team is consistent of people.


As we know, we all have come short and are sinful, and thus grace provides us with the ability to start over again. The same is with training and development of an AV ministry. We must find opportunities within the team to teach, instruct and correct. The most surprising concept that might be hard to fathom is that these opportunities often come in the form of “in-the moment” inspiration.


Let’s explore 3 ways that we can develop an AV ministry team that allows for learning and correcting in the hopes that we are developing a well informed and capable AV team member.


Off Site Training

Onsite Training

In the Moment


Off Site Training

Our favorite approach to training and more of a specific focus on developing any church AV ministry is by getting the team up and out of their comfort zone. Consider making a trip to a neighboring church that has a comparable audio-visual system. The insight that can be learned from a system and team run by a different team can be invaluable.


During this visit attempt to accomplish a few things:


  1. Discuss and compare system setup and layout

  2. Discuss and compare team dynamics and organization

  3. Take notes on what you might think works for you


Onsite Training

The most practical avenue for training is simply setting specific and focused time for the team to train with in the space. Note: that this does not necessarily mean with other teams like the worship ministry. Although the AV team may need assistance from these teams, your specific focus should be on the experience and thus the outcome of the training for the AV team.


Consider this: yes a music rehearsal can serve as an excellent training opportunity for any audio, video or lighting technician but would you want to confuse the expectations of musicians and performers with what the AV team is attempting to accomplish? In normal circumstances, a music rehearsal is for the benefit of the musicians. This would not serve as a great time to do “on-the-job-training”. Instead reserve your musical rehearsals for the musicians and performers.


Dedicate a time that you can bring your entire AV team with all departments to go through either a specialized training session with intent to expand a technical skill or perform a “mock-service”.


If you are developing a specialized training for your team, here are some tips to ensure a productive session:


  • Block time to provide direct instruction training and hand-on training

  • Keep groups small and create rotations if you have a lot of team members

  • Focus on setup/startup, operations, and tear down/shutdown of the equipment or role you are training

  • Consider bringing in outside expert to provide a more guided approach


If you decided to go the “mock-service” route; consider these tips to ensure a productive sessions:


  • Invite musicians and performers to the training and set expectations

  • Alternatively, record a service and playback in real time

  • Set expectations with the AV team and provide feedback in real time

  • At the end of the session review performance and provide feedback


The best types of training sessions create a space conducive for asking questions and trying new things. Similar to a music rehearsal the technicians, in place of the musicians and performers, are performing their skill in the rehearsal space allow for creative expression mixed with cautious optimism.


In the Moment

Final stop on our Training and Development of the church AV team is, “in the moment”. Let’s label this method the least preferred but the final step before allowing a developing AV team member the ability to “serve in the moment”.


Yes, we are suggesting that in some cases, training has to happen during a service. This must be done with great awareness and caution but it is a necessary step in the development of any AV team member.


Here are some best practices when training “in the moment”:


  • Pair the trainee with an experienced trainer

  • Employ the: “I do you watch, I do you and you do with me, You do and I do with you, You do and I watch” method

  • Provide in the moment feedback and be prepared to change course


When “in the moment” training works it will lead to a confident and well developed AV team member who is now ready to “serve in the moment”. You now can activate this member into the weekly schedule and benefit from the development of the team Member


Conclusion

It truly takes all three elements to train and develop and AV team member. This can mean a lot of time and effort but when done correctly the benefits far outweigh the effort.


It is possible that you could develop a training system with these three components: offsite, onsite and in the moment, that not only develop the team that you currently have but creates a cyclical system that continues developing AV team members. Careful cultivation of the training experience mixed with factual training programs will easily kickstart a level 4 training program but create a team culture infectious to draw in additional members.


The final point to make about AV Team training and development is that it is up to you and the effort you put into the process. We see it as a 1:2 ratio in effort. Put 1 day of training and development into your AV team and 2 team members will appear. This isn’t a guarantee as you still need to manage the training experience but it’s a way to understand the risk of your efforts.


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