In our experience working with multisite portable church launches, we have recognized that technology is a common pain point for leadership in these new campuses. It is difficult to run a great service these days without a great technical system. Today, we want to offer you a few tips that will hopefully lead to the technology piece of your multisite being as stress-free as possible…
Appoint great technology leaders
When launching a new campus, you really need at least one technical expert on your team. This is someone who understands how to troubleshoot issues, create a basic audio mix, and work with audio, video, and lighting signal flow. They don’t need to know it all right away, but they need to be teachable and excited to learn. If you don’t have someone like this, bring in a consultant, a trusted mentor, or an experienced contract hire who can help develop a person like this. Make sure your technology leader is connected to your vision and then they can help you to make the best choices for your audio, video, and lighting needs. It’s also very important that you find a technology leader who is likable, will invest in others, and build a great team. You are going to be heavily dependent on volunteers, so look for someone others will want to work with.
Get the right equipment
The right equipment does not necessarily have to be the most expensive equipment. In fact, it often isn’t. However, it’s important that you get the right sound system for your room, the right projectors for the size of your room and screens, and adequate lighting to see those teaching or leading worship. The tech is there to support the message, so you want to spend enough to do this adequately, otherwise you’re wasting your money. Also, keep in mind the individuals using the equipment. Buying the biggest name brand out there can be a hindrance if you are working with a crew of newer techs/volunteers. If the gear has more features than will ever be used, your tech team has a chance of getting overwhelmed or confused. You also may end up spending more money than is needed on features you will never use. However, ‘cheap’ gear can also cause frustration and confusion from poor layouts or frequent need for troubleshooting. Listen to your technology leaders and take what they have to say into account when deciding on a system for the new campus.
Communication between leaders
We’ve already discussed that communication is a critical part of running a multisite church. Even if your campus leaders don’t fully understand the technology, make sure there is trust between them and the technology leaders. It will be difficult for every pastor or leader to understand why something was staged or set up a certain way, but if there is trust between the leaders the lack of understanding won’t matter so much. Your leaders must understand each others’ needs and concerns so that they can work together in creating an impact through your church’s audio and video.
Look at the bigger picture
The new campus will most likely not need the same system as the original campus. In theory, your main campus is well established and overloaded with people, but your new multisite is just starting. Depending on the venue, your portable system might not need all the bells and whistles. Your church most likely didn’t have all these things when it first launched. You probably don’t want to be as scrappy as you were when you first started, so outfit this new campus with what it needs to look and feel like your church identity, but also give it the opportunity to grow and evolve into its best incarnation in this new location. You’ll want to add to the system over time as the campus grows, so give yourself the margin to do that. More importantly, you should also consider how the size of your system might impact your leadership and volunteers. Do you have enough tech staff to properly run the system? Is the size of the system easy to setup and teardown with the number of volunteers the campus has? Everything you add is another potential set-up minute or volunteer required to pull it off. Think about your capacity and plan accordingly.
Has technology been a limiting factor in your multisite expansion? If you have been through the multisite launch process, what are some of the ways you solved your technology ‘issues’? Let us know in the comments below.