Amateur Users, Professional Systems
Sep 1, 2005 12:00 PM,
By Mark Johnson
OK, a brief survey. With a show of hands, how many of you drive a car? Of those with your hands up, how many of you feel confident enough to go out and mix it up in a NASCAR race with say, Jeff Gordon or Dale Ernhardt, Jr.? Not too many hands still up there?
Why is it then the prevailing attitude is that just any Joe can come in off the street and competently mix a church service? Or direct the video for IMAG or broadcast? Or even operate a video camera? Is it because this person has a cool hi-fi or the latest flat-panel display technology at home? Or maybe he has the word “technical” somewhere in his job title? None of these actually qualifies a person to operate a 48-input (or more) mixing console or direct a five-camera setup.
The majority of volunteers are, at best, amateurs. And to expect professional results from amateur contributors is neither realistic nor fair. The fact is for most churches, technical staff has nine-to-five jobs. Often, the only time these people have to practice what they volunteer for at their church is during an actual service. And it’s unrealistic to expect this to change.
How then do we best meet these challenges? It’s incumbent upon us to design and install stable, user-friendly systems and provide comprehensive training and service. That is the value that we, as professionals, can bring to this particular market. In fact, I’d go so far to say that in the HOW market, customer service should be the primary product we sell, with equipment secondary. It serves no one if we provide the fastest racecar in the field and there’s no one qualified to drive it.