I could have just as easily named this post “Tech Arts staff – Make time for Worship!”, because burnout happens a lot less when we spend time in corporate worship – away from the knobs, sliders and buttons.
Oh, I’ve heard it before: “I can worship while I’m serving in tech.” I’m sure you can, because I do, too. But that worship isn’t the same as being out of the sight line of the tech gear! When you can totally focus on your own worship of God, then and only then will you be able to recharge, refresh and – here’s the bonus – force the church leadership to replicate you!
“But I’m paid to be there! It’s my job to run (insert job here)!” Having been on staff at three mega churches, I know all about this one. Sure, the responsibility to ensure everything is technically ready for the weekend is your job. But to physically be the only person capable of performing a job? I’ve got news for you – that’s NOT your job exclusively!! I don’t care what role you have in tech, if you’re not spending time out of the booth, you’re not leading a balanced worship life. Period.
“We’re a small/medium/large church and this job requires special skills. I can’t just leave it up to a volunteer!” In some churches, the equipment is so advanced that the training can require months and months of experience to get it right. I get that. So use contract labor! Outsource so that others can do the super-tech jobs when you’re not there. “We can’t afford that!” Bull crap. Your church leadership can’t afford NOT to give you a break, nor can they expect you to Biblically be in obedience unless you have time off for worship.
What happens if you get sick? Or get hit by a car? Or die? Would the church service flop without you? If the answer is ‘yes’, then your church is playing with fire! Force the issue, talk with your leadership and explain how dangerous it is to rely on just on person. It’s not smart, it burns staff and volunteers out and most of all, it’s not Biblical.
So how much time off should you take? That depends on you, but I’ll tell you something I’ve observed in my work with hundreds of techies: If it’s not once a month – minimally – then you’re going to end up with burnout. Guaranteed. Don’t believe me? Just look around and see who isn’t there that used to be heavily involved. Burnout is everywhere and to avoid dealing with it is irresponsible. Do yourself a favor – and do the right thing – by sitting down with your church leadership ASAP and gently show them how you want to ensure that tech runs smooth and people are able to worship. Any good leader will agree with you and help you to make the change a reality. If they won’t – and no excuse will do – then you need to find a new church.
That’s it for today. Later I’ll deal with how to help those about to deal with burnout, those already dealing with burnout and how to work through it.
What are your experiences and thoughts? Share so we can all learn together!
My name is Anthony D. Coppedge. I’m a follower of Jesus and my job is helping ministries leverage technology to effectively communicate the Gospel. I’m passionate about this, so that makes me a Technology Evangelist. I attend and volunteer at Gateway Church in Southlake, TX and love it in every way!