Success Is Transparency

by Terry Wilhite

As the preacher, you probably never imagined that you'd be heading a multimedia team. Even if it's only you and the "sound man" when you're behind the pulpit, you have yourself a multimedia team and whether you know it or not, you're the quarterback! In your position, there are key goals and habits that you should follow and teach your team members in order to be successful.

First, it is vitally important to share with the members of your multimedia team that they are more than "button pushers." They are, indeed, worship leaders. For example, if you project the lyrics of hymns on a screen, your designated multimedia specialist is the "hands" that turn the pages of the projected "hymnbook." Secondly, their job is to exalt Christ, not themselves or their multimedia function. Thirdly, our goal as multimedia team members is to eliminate distractions. For example, lighting can put a visual spotlight on a prop and thereby help keep distracting stage elements to a minimum. Fourthly, as paradoxical as it may seem with multimedia, our chief goal is to be transparent. By that I mean if the sound, lighting, the video on the projection screen, or any other multimedia element distracts from the message, we as team members have not been successful.

Let me state again, transparency is our measurement of success. When I teach these concepts, I go on to say that we're powered by God's Holy Spirit and that our real reward for performing this ministry is, indeed, a heavenly one. (It's still a good idea to write a personal "thank you" regularly to each multimedia team member!)

Based on my experience as a television news producer, church multimedia team player, presenter, and even as a musician, I've developed a list of seven habits that are, in my opinion, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Multimedia Teams, the title of my new DVD training video. Having taught this seminar around the country, I was asked by pastors, worship leaders, and multimedia team members themselves to put these principles on video to "take back home."

As a preacher, your team members need from you an understanding of the technical nature of their jobs. They don't necessarily need you to know how to do their jobs, but at a minimum, they want you to know and appreciate what goes into what they do. In addition, they need your leadership; they're looking for you to be the multimedia "pacesetter." Likewise, you should expect from them, as you demand of yourself, the following seven habits.

#1: Communication: I am a strong advocate of a "worship service plan" or format akin to what I used as a television news producer, which literally puts everybody on the same page.

#2: Preparation: I teach that spiritual preparation should take place first, then technical preparation. I'm also a proponent of a "preflight checklist" for each job that should be performed prior to every sermon or presentation.

#3: Concentration: Since multimedia work usually takes place in a confined space, it's easy to become distracted by another team member's job. Each member should concentrate on his role and his alone.

#4: Synchronization: Teamwork in this case means that the worship roster is in front of each multimedia member, eyes are focused on the stage and hands are on the controls.

#5: Specialization: "Find out what you're good at and give it all you've got," is what I teach. One job, one function. Each person should become a specialist at his or her task.

#6: Anticipation: As easy as this may seem, multimedia team members must be in three places at once. The big picture. Right now. A step ahead. One second too late performing a task, and a multimedia team member has distracted. (Remember our goal? Transparency!)

#7: Evaluation: It is important for the preacher and team members to "huddle" often. None of us is perfect, but each time the gospel is communicated, it deserves our best effort.

Terry Wilhite will be teaching at a conference in Virginia Beach in April and another in Charlotte, North Carolina in May. See his Website for details. He welcomes your emails at pulpithelps@terrywilhite.com.<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

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