Let Your Light Shine!

Randy Neufeld – Worship Ministries

How Loud is Too Loud?

Good article from soundcheck.com:
http://www.churchsoundcheck.com/hlitl.html

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August 11, 2009 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

2008 Internet Ministry In The Mirror

Although statistics can be misleading and are not necessarily tied to changed lives, they can provide some insights!

Here are some stats for Westhill’s Internet Ministry in 2009.

Total visits to westhillchurch.ca in 2009 – 22, 241

Average daily visits to westhillchurch.ca


Total live webcasts viewed in 2009 – 732

Average weekly live webcasts viewed


January 2, 2009 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

Worship & Technical Ministries – Week Ending October 12, 2008

THE NUMBERS

October 9, 2008
Worship Team Practice – 18 in attendance

Webcast – October 12, 2008
Computers Connected – 9
Registered Viewers – 2

October 20, 2008 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

Worship & Technical Ministries – Week Ending October 19, 2008

THE NUMBERS

October 16, 2008
Worship Team Practice – no practice this week to accommodate Ignite! Rehearsal

Webcast – October 19, 2008
Computers Connected – 14
Registered Viewers – 2

October 20, 2008 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

Worship & Technical Ministries – Week Ending October 5, 2008

THE NUMBERS

October 2, 2008
Worship Team Practice – 18 in attendance

Webcast – October 5, 2008
Computers Connected – 7
Registered Viewers – 5

October 6, 2008 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

Worship & Technical Ministries – Week Ending September 28, 2008

THE NUMBERS

September 28, 2008
Worship Team Practice – 12 in attendance

Webcast – September 28, 2008
Computers Connected – 13
Registered Viewers – 4

———————————————————-

WORSHIP MINISTRIES
Sunday
– Morning worship went very well. It was great to have Melanie on platform with us playing congas. Despite my changing the setlist and verse/chorus sequence on the fly, the team adjusted fantastically. Dynamics were excellent in the second set, especially in “Here I Am To Worship”

General
– Very, very pleased with the electronic drums. From a congregational perspective, this change has been long overdue, excellent comments have been received. From a team perspective, we are adjusting to the change in platform sound. In particular, I am enjoying not going deaf when on keyboard!

TECH MINISTRIES
Sunday
Wow. Great job Sunday morning and evening. Lots of details to watch, and not a missed cue! Great job!

Blessings,
…Randy

September 29, 2008 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

Worship & Technical Ministries – Week Ending September 7, 2008

THE NUMBERS

September 4, 2008
Worship Team Practice – 17 in attendance

Webcast – September 7, 2008
Computers Connected – 16
Registered Viewers – 2
Countries Reached – Canada, United States

Countries Reached This Year – Canada, United States, South Africa, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Uruguay, India
———————————————————-

WORSHIP MINISTRIES
Sunday
– eMusic contribution from Merle was great!
– Trialed Dave’s electronic drum kit … excellent results, great sound in sanctuary, lower volumes on platform
– Darren and Adam’s music contribution on Sunday was very good
General
– Roland T3 V-drum kit on approval from B-Sharp is installed and ready
– Great to have Adam Tippe on board with worship Team
– We welcome Melanie Mayer to the team (drums)

TECH MINISTRIES
Sunday
– Computer problems during first service on Sunday resulting in some minor issues with projection.
– Mic problem during 9:30 Communion resolved for 11:00 service.
– Cable problem caused some interference during communion.
General
– Web site design underway – focus on Internet Campus
– Working with Byron to upgrade Audio/Visual capabilities in Lower Auditorium (or whatever we are calling it!)

UPCOMING
– Ignite! leading singing on Sept 14
– I will be away Sunday, September 14

Blessings,
…Randy

September 9, 2008 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

Building an Effective Technical Ministry

Randy Neufeld, Director of Worship and Technical Ministries
Westhill Park Baptist Church

The last thirty years have seen an explosion in technology throughout the world. Communications has advanced from the home

When David was establishing orderly worship in the temple, assigning roles and dividing up the work, technology was not a consideration. In the days of the early church of Peter, sound systems were not an issue. When Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church programming PowerPoint presentations for the Sunday service was not a priority.

In the last thirty years, technology has and continues to advance rapidly. Sound systems that were once reserved for concert halls are now being installed in churches. Sermon Notes are being projected on screens using capabilities previously only available in movie theatres. Churches are now able to broadcast their services using readily available hardware and software, a capability that was once the exclusive domain of the large TV churches.

The rapid growth of technology in worship has brought with it a new ministry challenge, that of establishing a team of Christians to support the new communication tools of the church.

The early church was an organized organism. All organisms that function correctly are organized – they function in an ordered sequence. Paul commanded the Corinthians to “let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).

In Acts 6 we see the early church as an effective organism in need of better organization. They had greatly influenced the Jewish community in Jerusalem, astounding people with miracles and signs. Multitudes had come to Christ. Believers were sharing their possessions with others in a spirit of love. The church was a beautifully functioning organism. But the Holy Spirit knew it needed better organization, so He used a crisis in chapter 6 to start that process.

The Technical ministry at Westhill has grown dramatically in the past eight years. This growth has been driven primarily by emerging needs of the congregation. We have been able to respond to these needs through application of technology.
For many years Westhill had been advancing worship through the use of new and emerging sources of music. This initially included the use of overhead projection (acetate sheets) to allow us to “sing a new song”. The growth of the “Praise and Worship Movement” created a flood of new music and songs, going beyond the traditional hymns and choruses to include new hymns and songs of worship.
These principals have served as a foundation for building the Technical Team at Westhill.

The Right to a Suitable Assignment – Each team member needs to be matched up with a role that meets their personal preference, temperament, life experiences, education, and secular experience. Again, a volunteer job description helps here. It is important to clearly identify the key qualifications for each role. Keeping in mind the earlier discussion of attitude and aptitude, a volunteer needs to be confident that they can succeed in the role.
(c)2007, ShineWest Communications

The Early Church

Some people believe that when Christians get organized, they become unchristian. They point out that New Testament church is an organism: its life is its connection to Christ. But to conclude that the church is an organism and cannot be organized is wrong; to say it is only an organization and shouldn’t be a functioning, living entity is wrong.

Respond to Needs

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. – Acts 6:1

The original church at Jerusalem was formed of the converts of Pentecost, and increased day by day by the addition of “those that were being saved.” The early church’s evangelism was mushrooming. But they reached a plateau where they needed better structure to evangelize more effectively. Effective organization accommodates God’s Spirit so whatever ministry believers want to pursue can be done smoothly and with the greatest benefit.

Administration of the song sheets was becoming tedious and more often than not the words to the songs were crooked, upside down, or fell off the projector during the song. Rather than enhancing the service, it was providing a large distraction to worship. Costs of LCD projectors and computers were plummeting during this period and we were able to install projection capability. Not only did we eliminate the need to constantly purchase new song books and create new overheads, we found that the congregation was now looking up to sing and the worship team was now connected to the congregation.

As the fellowship at Westhill continued to grow, the need to reach out to our members continued to grow. We had always had a very effective tape ministry. It too was growing and the effort required was growing with it as well. As a congregation we were being blessed by powerful messages from our pastor and the number of requests for copies of the message was increasing. Technology was also changing the delivery media. More and more were requesting CDs since their new vehicles didn’t have tape decks any longer. Once again we faced a need.
Internet technology was becoming more and more available to our membership. We had had a web presence for a number of years and made a decision to exploit the available technology and provide archived recordings of the Sunday messages.

The congregation of Westhill was undergoing change as well. Many of our seniors were finding it difficult to come to church on Sundays, especially during the cold Saskatchewan winters. We were also seeing the erosion of the Sabbath, with more and more of our members having to work on Sunday mornings. One of our guiding principals has always been to provide options.
Instead of taking the step to record video of our services and then manually distribute the material, we once again decided to exploit technology.

For some time we had been playing around with streaming video (webcast) technology. The time now seemed right to implement the capability. We began with streaming just the audio portion, but before long the demand exceeded the capacity of our network. There was a need. On January 12, 2006, we completed a major change to the delivery of our material through the internet. We were now able to provide streaming video as well as the audio. That Sunday, our city was hit with an ice storm that left streets and parking lots as skating rinks. That Sunday we had over 25 computers connected watching our Sunday worship service. We had responded to an emerging need, and God blessed it.

Over the years there were a number of times where we introduced technology, primarily for the sake of technology. Everyone was raving about the capability of having a moving background behind the song words that we were projecting. We all felt that this would be very “cool”. We soon realized that it had become a major distraction to worshippers and to worship team members. The pictures had become more important than the words. We had responded, but there had never been a need.

We have learned that God blesses a ministry, when that ministry is in response to a need, rather than our own agenda. Technologists, by their nature, are fascinated by technology. Too often we tend to have solutions looking for a problem. Technology must serve us and through us serve God. We must never find ourselves serving technology.

Set Clear Priorities

So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. – Acts 6:2

When the apostles were establishing the early church, they soon found themselves overwhelmed with the work of ministry. The Twelve had recognized their proper priorities in the ministry of the Word of God and prayer (cf. v. 4). The ministry of the preaching and teaching the word of God is a ministry that is designated as being of very high priority.

The rapid growth in the use of technology soon began to put a significant strain on the leadership. As the Director of both Worship and Technical Ministries, I was finding myself so very busy with technical details, that I was not finding the time to focus on the need to prepare meaningful and spirit-led worship services. Like the apostles, I realized that my priority needed to be with the worship planning and preparation. God had provided a great team of technical people to run the systems and it was now time for me to let go of some of the control. This meant turning over some of the areas that I am passionate about.

I was blessed with the way God provided emerging leaders to take on many of the tasks. By now we were up to two morning services along with many special events that required technical support. One of the technicians jumped in and took over the job of scheduling the technical team. I felt a load had been taken off of my shoulders.

As leaders we need to continually renew our focus on priorities. This goes back to being aware of the needs. I have learned that as much as I enjoy technology, God has gifted me in leading and preparing worship. I have had to let go of some of the “fun” tasks and equip and trust others to take them on.

Discern Spiritual Giftedness

Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” – Acts 6:3

The apostles too had to let go of ministries that they were involved in. It is interesting to note that they did not instruct the believers to “go and choose seven men from among you who are good at serving food”. Their instructions focused on finding men who had the necessary spiritual gifts.

In the same way, choosing technical team members should not be focused on technical capabilities. In fact technical capability is a secondary qualification. In my secular jobs, I have had opportunity to hire many people. I soon learned that there are two primary qualifications.

The first of these qualifications is attitude. I feel strongly that the single most important qualification for a ministry team member, whether it be a technical team, worship team, Sunday School teachers, or any other ministry group, needs to be their heart attitude. Their attitude towards God is must be at an acceptable level of maturity. Their attitude to me as a leader must be good. And finally, their attitude towards the other team members, toward other leadership in the church, and toward the congregation should all be at a high level.

Second to attitude is aptitude. Wikipedia defines aptitude as “an innate ability to do a certain kind of work.” As the technical team grew, I soon learned that although a person may like technology, and many do in this world of personal computers, iPods, and Blackberry’s, it does not necessarily mean that they are able to effectively work with the technology. I have found that technical aptitude is far more important than technical knowledge. One of our technicians had a great love for the Lord. And he was making great strides in his attitudes towards team members. Although, he enjoyed operating the technology, he never came to fully understand the technology. When faced with a technical issue, he would become immobilized and not know what to do. Technology ministers need to realize that technology will fail. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. Technology in worship will fail at the most inopportune times. Technicians need to be able to respond confidently.

I am currently in the process of developing job descriptions for the volunteer team. In addition to the standard qualifications, I will be including a qualification relating to the “gifts of the spirit”.
It is absolutely critical to look at the how God has equipped individuals for ministry. This is generally made very clear to us as we discover their attitudes and nurture their aptitudes.

Build A Team

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. – Acts 6:5

Many books have been written about team building, how to make effective teams and how to lead teams. In the same way as the early church needed to be the product of a well organized team, such is the case for any ministry team, including a technical ministry team.

Many years ago, as a Boy Scout leader, I was introduced to “The Volunteer Bill of Rights”

The Right to be Treated As a Co-worker – One of the keys in building a team focuses on respect. In the church we must all be co-workers. It happens that some are part of the church staff and some team members are volunteers. It is important that staff or volunteers must be treated as co-workers. One of the keys is to ensure that expectations of the position are clear. I have used a very secular tool to facilitate this. Volunteer job descriptions serve as an excellent communication tool to clearly lay out the expectations and responsibilities of the position.

The Right to Training for the Job – Too often church members are tossed into a ministry role assuming that they have all the abilities and training needed to get the job done. In the area of technical ministries, this can be a great challenge. In some technical areas, training is readily available. We have made use of excellent training videos for sound system operators. Projection and broadcast roles have required a great deal of mentoring and coaching. These are areas where training just isn’t availability. One of the keys for the Westhill team is clear documentation on how things work. Although this is a task that most technical persons avoid (myself included), it is one of the keys to being able to provide opportunities for success.

The Right to Sound Guidance and Direction – This is the area where I personally have had to focus. My tendency is to be very hand on. I’ve again and again had to learn to let go and trust the team. I’m still there to guide and direction, however I need to continue to realize that I need to let the team members handle the doing.

The Right to Be Informed – One of the most important aspects of team leadership is communications. When it comes to developing and working with a technical ministries team, there are many opportunities at the leader’s disposal. Electronic mail has been invaluable. We have been able to handle scheduling issues and keeping the information flowing very effectively. Another important tool is the team meeting, a time to share ideas and to discuss issues. This is an area where we struggled. It seemed that for most of the team (me included) time has and continues to be at a premium. The “Bulletin Board” or “Forum” has likely been one of the most effective tools we have used. They are essentially an electronic meeting. The biggest advantage is that they have no fixed agenda, they tend to focus on the important issues and they are convenient. No longer are we bound to a scheduled time an place. We have been able to make timely decisions and deal with concerns very rapidly.

The Right to Recognition – Volunteers in every ministry area need to be recognized.

They presented them to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. – Acts 6:6Everything that we do in ministry needs to be focused on God. But there are other focuses that we need to be aware of. Yes, we minister and serve God. We also need to ensure that our ministry serves people. In the case of the Technical ministry, this is the church staff and the congregation. Too often we forget that when we serve, we are also ministering to ourselves. It is okay to feel good about what we are doing. We need to ensure that our volunteers are recognized for their efforts. In the same way as the volunteers were presented to the apostles, we need to ensure that our volunteers receive support and encouragement from the church leaders. They too need to be prayed for and commissioned for ministry.

Make Disciples

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. – Acts 6:7

The final lesson that we learn from the apostles is the most important. In building ministries and ministry teams, we need to ensure that our volunteers are growing spiritually. It is so easy for us to become to busy in “doing ministry”, that we forget what ministry is all about. As the Church, our commission is to spread the gospel and make disciples. As ministry leaders, we need to ensure that the end result of our ministries is spiritual growth. This is an area that is too easily overlooked in Technical Ministry. This is an area that is fast-paced (especially on a Sunday morning). It is easy to say, “Wow, we did a good job! Did you hear how well the sound tech mixed the worship team? The projectionist didn’t miss a queue. The announcement slides were really cool today. We had twenty people listening on-line”.

As wonderful as those accomplishments are, we need to ensure that our focus continues to be primarily on serving God. We need to pray for and with our technicians, before, during and after services. We need to pray for them and encourage them spiritually throughout the week.

Conclusion

Working together is a very important part of Christianity. God has so many different jobs for us to do. We need to be open and willing to serve one another and with one another.

One of the most important things you can do as a person and as a leader is to make disciples. Discipleship is a biblical command that is not practiced as much as it needs to be. When disciples are made, unbelievers are displaced.

You cannot serve two masters at the same time. You must serve God or something else. To be a disciple of Christ means that you study His words, see what He did, and then do what He said and did.

This is the work of the church, to expand the kingdom of God to His glory. Each of us has a gift or two or more. God wants each of us to be used, to be a part of His ministry to the world.

In building a Technical Ministry, there are many practical steps that we can take. The most important step is to keep the focus on serving God.

May 7, 2007 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment

How Loud Is Too Loud?

Good article from soundcheck.com:
http://www.churchsoundcheck.com/hlitl.html

September 20, 2006 Posted by | TechTalk | Leave a comment