Each month, we’ll follow Ward member, Cindy Ziemba, on her adventures around the “volunteer” globe. Did you know there are over 100 unique roles filled by volunteers each month? Cindy will share the good, the surprising, the challenging… the authentic experience behind a wide range of volunteer roles at Ward Church, all serving to connect people to God!
It felt a bit frantic. T-minus 19 minutes to service start (yes, there was a countdown clock), and the small production room was buzzing. A key staff member was gone, and a guest speaker was preaching in Knox Hall instead of the Sanctuary – which meant cameras had to move into that room before services. Doug was checking communication devices, preparing to record the sermon in Knox and have it ready at the right moment to play into the Sanctuary. He also was checking the network and would oversee the Ward live stream. Gena was running through ProPresenter (a more powerful type of PowerPoint) slides remotely with the guest speaker and was rearranging/adding more as needed. Karen was checking light levels on cameras and making sure the camera staff communication systems were working. Various volunteers and staff kept stopping in with revisions and questions. I felt a bit overwhelmed and wondered if it would be better for me not to be peering over their shoulders that day. I later realized it was a team doing their last minutes of detailed prep before game time.
Shortly before service was to begin, the worship and production teams from Knox crowded into the small room for prayer. We were all reminded of what we do and why. The team was encouraged to lean into grace, the focus of the morning. The entire atmosphere shifted. The worship team exited, and the production leaders settled into their roles as the service went live.
From that point on, I watched an amazing team calmly working together. Gena deftly switched slides during the songs, announcements and sermon, reinforcing the talking points for the congregation. Karen calmly gave instructions to the camera volunteers: “Camera 1, focus on the soloist. Great shot. Camera 1 now live.” “Camera 2, push (a new term I learned for zoom in) on the drummer and guitarist on the right. Perfect, thank you. Camera 2 now live.” Doug watched the three venues (Sanctuary, Knox, and online) and would even take opportunity to explain to me what was happening next. Songs were skipped because of time, there were a few glitches with communication systems, and the team handled such moments with – grace.
Incredibly, all of these leaders were volunteers, as were the camera crew and almost all of the in-room Production Team members. Some volunteers have professional tech training and willingly bring their skills to the Ward team, but many others had an interest and have been trained by the staff. Certainly, if I had a high schooler who loves screens and technology, it is a place I’d encourage them to serve. That’s what one father and son are doing together. And after watching – I’d even say it’s fun.
The team puts in a long day – they arrive early for rehearsal on Sunday morning, and they work through both services. But all of the team members were enthusiastic about their service. Production teams generally volunteer one Sunday a month, and as one said, “I certainly watch the whole service with great focus!”
Current volunteer positions include audio techs for in-room sound (training or experience preferred), stage managers, video switcher/directors, and positions running cameras, slides, and lights.
You get a cool Production Team polo shirt, an affirming team around you, and feel like you’ve accomplished something great when you’re finished. Interested in exploring the production team? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Creative Director) or email@example.com (Production + Events Engineer).
Questions for Cindy about finding your spot on one of the many serve teams? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.