Train Your Team In Layers

Chris Reed, CTS   -  
Training church tech teams is one of our favorite things to do.  We’re passionate about empowering and equipping the church to carry out her mission, of which we consider ourselves to be co-stewards.  Helping you leverage your systems more effectively is one of the practical ways we live out our desire to partner with you in the work God has called you to.
We’ve found it helpful to categorize this kind of training into 3 “layers”:  Concepts, Tools, and Application.    We refer to this stratification as the “Training Pyramid”, because each layer is built on an understanding of the layers beneath it:

The Training Pyramid

The base layer is an introduction to the concepts involved in whatever discipline is being focused on.  This involves an orientation to the foundational principles of audio, video, lighting, etc. – things like signal flow, frequency response, lighting theory, and video best practices.
Training at this layer isn’t context-dependent, meaning the material is largely the same whether the audience is a volunteer church tech team or a group of students hoping to work in professional event production someday.

The middle layer focuses on understanding specific tools.  In the case of a church tech team, it would  include instruction on each piece of equipment that users of the system interact with. Examples might include a deep dive into the capabilities of your audio console, a comprehensive overview of the features of each type of lighting fixture, or an explanation of the characteristics of each kind of microphone in your equipment room.

We commonly engage our manufacturing partners to participate with us in training at this layer.  Online resources such as forums and tutorial videos are often available for specific equipment as well.

The tip of the pyramid is the contex-specific operational training that focuses on how to best use your equipment as installed in your system for your specific application.  Rather than talking about everything your audio console is capable of, we’d focus on how to use the tools it offers to make your worship team and pastor sound the best they can through your installed speaker system, how to create a mix that is best optimized for viewers of your livestream, and how to create the best monitor mix for your musicians using whatever system you have installed for that purpose.

This top layer is the kind of training we’re most often asked to provide, but jumping right in at this level isn’t always the best initial step for teams that don’t already have a firm grasp on layers one and two.  This is one of the first things we talk about with people who are interested in working with us to train their teams, since clarifying the layer of training a team is most in need of will help us customize a training program that is best suited to the specific people and systems involved.

For us, a training engagement starts with developing an understanding of where your team is at.  If you’re doing your own in-house training, we encourage you to follow the same model.  Training your team in layers helps ensure that application-specific instruction is built on a solid foundation.  It can also help build a common understanding and unity of purpose among your team – both worthy goals in their own right within the body of Christ.

We always enjoy opportunities to help technical teams sharpen their craft.  If you’d like to discuss ways we can help your team, let us know!

That the gospel might be more clearly proclaimed,