The Ultimate Summer Guide For Church Techs
It’s summer! Programs take a pause. People take vacation. There are no church holy days to spend weeks preparing for and weeks recovering from.So what can you do during this time where the rhythm is different to make your life easier during the other months? Here are twelve powerful ideas: Impress your team. Do some strategic planning. Summer is a perfect time to pull back and look at the macro view. Spend time asking the people you work with—especially senior leadership—where they think the church is going. Find out what their dreams are. Your conversation will not only help subtly reconnect your team with the bigger vision, but it will also give you valuable insight into where their hearts are. Spending time with the big dreams can help you form your tactical plan for September through May. Simply perform a gap analysis on where things are now and where they need to be. Start with the dream, then work backwards asking yourself, “if we want to be there then, what can we do with the resources we have now to move closer to that direction?” Then write it down and share it.Change your personal scenery to create an epic moment. If you are in a major city, get out of it. There are some great books series like “60 Hikes in 60 Miles” and “Day Trips from __________” to give you ideas on how to change your scenery. If you are not in a major city, get in your car and drive to the closest one. Search “best free things to do in _____________”, fill up your car and get going. Donald Miller writes that in movies, scenes often take place in strange places. It makes them memorable. Changing our scenery does the same thing. When we deliberately choose a different backdrop for moments with our friends or family, it makes the moment stick better in our hearts and minds because it stands out from the sameness of our everyday lives. Ordinary interactions can suddenly become epic.Prevent a meltdown. Do some maintenance. Because church production moves at such a rapid pace, churches are notorious for neglecting maintenance on their equipment. When is the last time you cleaned your ellipsoidals or checked the bench focus? When did you last clean the air filters on your movers? Summer is a good time to swap faded gels, pull out the chip chart and white balance, bring in the designer to re-EQ the sound system, and schedule technicians for annual maintenance. The investment not only extends the life of your equipment, but it also makes everything just that much better. Invest in that thing that lights you up inside. Each one of us have activities that are life-giving. It might be artistic. It might be athletic. It might be social. Invest a little money in that thing that gives you joy. Buy the guitar. Repair the bike. Pay for the babysitter and spring for the romantic dinner. Of course to do that, you may need to earn some extra cash with a side job. Ramit Sethi (who is sort of the anti-Dave Ramsey) writes that constantly over-analyzing tiny purchases is exhausting and ineffectual. He encourages people to stop skipping lattes and just find a way to make an extra $750 so they can fund them for the year. What short-term freelance gig could you take so that you have extra cash to do the thing that lights you up inside?Update your personal branding. How long has it been since you took a look at your LinkedIn profile? What about Twitter? Do a search for your name using DuckDuckGo.com (which won’t customize the results based on your search history and location) and see what comes up. How current is your bio? Do you need a new profile picture? Spend a little time and freshen your personal brand. Consider what message you most want to be connected with and make sure the words and images you use support that. Take the Strengths Finder Assessment. We don’t always have a clear picture of what it is about us that makes us valuable. Gallup offers Strengths Finder to assess what we bring to a team that often goes overlooked. Finding out your Top 5 can give you insight into yourself (and as a bonus can also give you words to describe your strengths when you update your online profiles) The cost of the assessment is $15 and it takes about 30 minutes to complete. (visit link). Join the treasure hunt. Get into Geocaching. Did you know that there is a whole world of hidden caches all around you that people search for? Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using an app to find GPS coordinates to navigate to a container hidden at a location with a log inside of it that people sign. To learn more, (visit link). Once you get into it, you will be amazed at how many of these are hidden all around you, and you may even decide to hide one on your church campus. (People who don’t know about the game are called muggles. Don’t be a muggle.)Show some love to your volunteers. Volunteers thrive when they feel like they are part of something. While we often say thank you, finding the words that effectively articulate exactly why we are thankful can have exponential impact. Let people feel noticed. Brag on specific things about a volunteer when they aren’t around (it often gets back to them) and be sure to spread the compliments evenly. We all want to be seen and appreciated. Taking the time to express gratitude in specific ways can move like wildfire through a team re-igniting passion for the work. Turn old tech into money for new tech. A big challenge for churches is that they often have closets and shelves of old tech because no one feels like they have the authority to give it away. But what if you made it a team project and could make some cash in the process? There are a number of organizations that will team with you to set up an electronics recycling day for your church. Everyone brings their old technology in, the organization takes it away for recycling and the church gets a check. Unloading your old tech, netting more storage space and getting extra cash for new technology? #winwinwinUp your game by asking for some coaching. The thing about technical skill is that it quickly atrophies if we don’t stay current by learning new things. And the best way to learn new things is by connecting with the person who is better at it than you. In church technical roles, it is easy to become a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none. Who could you connect with that would help you up your game? Is someone a better mixer than you? Master of the lighting cues? Asking for coaching is humbling but also incredibly effective. Plus, it creates bonds because you wind up acknowledging appreciation of someone’s talent simply through the ask. Besides, true experts are always and forever students first. Spend some time on cable management. In a perfect world, every cable would be labeled and zip tied. Except that sometimes we have to pull something off in a pinch and we take an “in the moment” shortcut. Too many of those over time results in a mass of cable spaghetti that gives us a migraine every time we look at it. Cable management isn’t glamorous, but it can feel amazing when it is done and saves so much time on the back end. Recruit some friends, order a ton of labels and zip ties from Amazon, then turn on some great music and just get it done. Take a small step toward thing that scares you. Eleanor Roosevelt is attributed with saying, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” It’s the sort of thing that shows up on inspirational graphics on Facebook. The fact is that of us have that one big dream that makes our lungs close up when we think about it. The dream that requires risk. Summer is a great time to assess where you are in relation to the thing that you want most. You know, the one that terrifies you when you think about it. Is it time to pull that dream out from under the bed, dust it off and look at it? Could you have the conversation with your spouse or best friend? Is there a small version of it that might actually be viable? Now is a perfect time to take a small step to find out.
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