Creative LeadershipCreativityChristian Media

What Kind of Media Director Does Your Church or Ministry Need?

Most pastors, evangelists, and ministry leaders have a vision for media, but aren’t sure how to make that vision happen. The key to success is hiring the right person to create, shape, and lead your media outreach. In most cases where an organization is floundering, it’s because they’ve hired the wrong leader, who’s incapable of building an outreach to match the leader’s vision. To keep that from happening in your ministry, use this simple guide to help you find the right person at the right experience and salary level to make your media ministry a success:

The “Techie” Person –

Employment – Can be a freelancer or fulltime employee. Salary range – low.
Experience – Little to none. Sometimes, just a passion for electronics is enough. In other situations, someone from a local radio or TV station will work.

Expertise – Mostly a “techie” type person. Knows a little about video and/or audio, can generally shoot a video camera, do simple editing, and set up video screens, projectors, and audio gear. This is an important person on your team, because he knows a little about a lot of different things – but isn’t a real expert at anything. He’s your “all around” guy.

Best Use – To help you get started on a local basis. If you have a low budget, he or she’s probably your best bet. You can pay him or her on a part time or freelance basis, or per project. If the person’s a church member, better yet. Perhaps they could do it on a volunteer basis as part of their personal ministry.

But if you have a regional or national goal for your media outreach, don’t expect a “techie person” to be able to handle that. You’ll need a more experienced producer. For that, I would recommend you hire a:

The Church/Ministry Media Director –

Employment – Usually a fulltime employee, but occasionally can be freelance, depending on the production level of the program. Salary range – medium to high, depending on resume.

Experience – 5-10 years minimum.

Expertise – A church/ministry media director should at least have a background in audio or video production. But they are most often generalists (meaning: a one man band), so they can do a little bit of everything, which is important for a young media outreach. They often come from audio backgrounds, but not always.

Best Use – This category covers a wide range of good media directors, that include a local professional in your church community, but could also include the media directors at the largest church and ministry programs in the country. The more experience they have, the better for you. They should be able to coordinate a broad media outreach including social media, video streaming, your web presence, and potentially even radio and TV. The quality and production value of where you want to go will dictate the level of experience you’ll need in your media director, and the best ones are worth every penny.

But don’t expect him or her to necessarily have a strong outside perspective based on working with other top media ministries, understanding the ‘big picture’ of media, or be able to re-brand your media outreach. If your desire is to impact the culture on a national or global basis, then I would also suggest a:

Media Consultant –

Employment – Employed on a consultant basis either on a monthly retainer or per project. This is the most expensive option, but if you’re serious, this is an important step to take.

Experience – A great deal. Should have a strong track record working with numerous national level churches and ministries and be able to apply that experience to your outreach.

Expertise – Their experience working in many areas of media ministry has given them much broader expertise in specialties such as production, direct response, program syndication, donor development, creativity, strategic planning, and more. Another important advantage of a media consultant is access to their contacts. They will have extensive relationships in ministry support areas like direct mail marketing, media buying, fulfillment, lighting, equipment dealers, set designers, social media experts, publishers, etc.

Special Note – The best media consultants don’t take the place of your fulltime media director, but come alongside your ministry to give you an outside perspective, create a new look and style, enhance your marketing and audience response, and more. Media consultants often have numerous clients, which allows them to bring a wide range of experience to your media planning. So don’t let your fulltime staff feel intimidated or insecure when you bring a media consultant to the table. On the contrary, impress on them the incredible opportunity to expand their experience, knowledge, and possibilities. Your media director working with the right consultant can be a powerful combination for the success of your media ministry.

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  1. Good starting points there, Phil. I’ve found that identifying the person with the right strengths is key for a director. Like being able to tell the difference between a pastor and an administrator, and a techie from a people person.

    My experience is that people skills should take priority over technical skills. You can always teach someone the tech, but it’s a whole lot harder to teach relationship building, even impossible, sometimes.

    Have you ever seen really smart technical folk jockey to establish dominance and respect? It can get comical and it’s no good as a leadership skill. Rooted in pride and fear, that’s no good.

    A really great media director knows how to attract smart people to work for them by building trust and quality relationship, not performance competition. Oh, and some ‘woo’ factor, of course. He probably doesn’t know the technical answers, but he “knows a guy who can get it done.”

    I’ve been lucky to have that arrangement with my media director. (Thanks, Joe Hayes.)

  2. Oh, this is sorely needed at our place of worship. How to approach it when the door is seemingly closed to any input? I’m on the worship team, and my husband has great sound experience, but it’s been the proverbial “we know what we’re doing” when the reality is that the online sound is horrid. Wretchedly so.

    1. That’s a more common problem that you realize. I encounter it on a fairly regular basis. Lots of reasons – insecurity, inexperience, etc… The best approach isn’t to confront, but to partner. Offer to help without suggesting there’s a problem, and gain their trust. Most people will be more open to your ideas if they don’t feel threatened. Otherwise, the only way to solve it is to go higher – to the pastor or other leader.

      1. Thank you, Phil. I have tried simply letting them know that I was having a hard time hearing the pastor, when other vocal levels were okay. Or that I could only hear the drums/keyboard, and I was simply told that is by design and is part of their plan. Oy vey! We shall continue gently coming along side, but we are at a sad impasse as the “media director” is a guy that just loves computers but has no audio ear. I so appreciate you responding!!!

          1. How things have…changed. I printed this article and held onto it as I prayed about when to request time to discuss my concerns. Truly, I felt the Lord telling me to wait (so not my personality!), so I did. And we received word that the person resigned. The appointee for the current time is someone who is wanting – asking for – others in the worship ministry to come alongside and help get things in order. Praising God, yet I can honestly say that I’ve prayed for the family of the one whose skill set wasn’t well suited to the position. Soli deo Gloria.

  3. There are two uniforms for the media director “THE HERO” or “THE VILLAN”. How do you know which you’ll encounter? When are they open to a suggestion? Easy, although it requires some observational investment.

    1. Consider NOT offering suggestions when they are in the time crunch running a sound board, a powerpoint, and troubleshooting a technical problem.
    2. Invest in helping accompanied by the suggestion. Media Directors are too many times the first one to arrive and last ones to leave. Show up before the first service and help set up. Stay all day. Volunteer. It will not only help better understand the root of the technical issue but you’ll then be a part of the solution.

    You too can be the Arron to the Moses Media Director. Consultants can hold up one an arm, will you help hold up the other?

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