The ‘get out of jail’ plan

In Advice, Thoughts, Tips, Volunteers
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Several Sundays ago I was setting up the tech for a portable church which I occasionally work for, when one of the volunteer techs came up to me and said “the projector is not working!” To give you some insight this particular church is part of a larger multisite church, a large amount of what takes places during the service is video based. One of the main parts of the service that requires the projector apart from sung worship is the sermon/ preach as these are generally streamed or sent as a video file.

Now very few churches will be able to afford to have a whole backup system, least of all the same make and models of equipment. For a church with its own building generally if something breaks or stops working there are generally easier ways to get round it than a portable. The big issue here was that the main site was well over an hour away and so there was no way we could get a replacement.  Luckily on this occasion someone from the church had a portable projector in the car which although was smaller worked as a get out of jail device. The only thing we had to work out was how to get a signal to the projector.

In most churches audio visual equipment are now more or less an essential requirement. When these then fail and go wrong it can be a common thing for people to panic and worry. The first thing to note here is that panic and worry does not help, big exclamation mark!  Depending on the timing and the issue it can actually make things much worse as you will most likely get a bunch of people wanting to help or ask questions. The point of this blog post is not the about equipment breaking but actually our response and how we handle a situation. The ‘get out of jail’ plan does not need to be about having spare equipment but more about what happens next or even more what happens now! Heres my suggested process when an issue arises

    1. Stop, don’t panic!
    2. How serious is the fault?
    3. How much time do I/we have?
    4. Who needs to know and how soon?
    5. How important is the piece of equipment?
    6. Will people notice?
    7. Is there a spare device?
    8. Can you rewire, move, or alter something temporarily?

Depending on the situation your responses will vary and so will the outcome. Unfortunately you can never prepare for a situation only have an idea what to do. For more experienced techs getting out of jail is much easier as you will generally be more skilled at solution finding. It is training and teaching these skills which are much harder. And if all else fails there is always duct tape.

Anthony Lear

Anthony lives in Sheffield with his wife Fiona and there 2 daughters. He works for AVMI within as a Event technician. Anthony is the founder of Church Tech UK, an initiative designed to support, develop and equip those that work and volunteer within a technical capacity in UK Churches.

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