Media ministers work behind the scenes to make it possible to share the message of a church with large groups of people through amplified sound, recordings, PowerPoint presentations, Web pages and other forms of communication. In larger congregations, the media ministry is led by a paid staff person who coordinates the efforts of a team of media ministry volunteers, while in smaller congregations the entire ministry is handled by volunteers.
The media ministry team is responsible for all of the technical functions of a congregation. For example, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod based in St. Louis, says that the purpose is to “serve the church by providing comprehensive media services for church events.” Church events can include Sunday morning worship, special services, youth events, choir festivals, congregational meetings and other gatherings.
The media ministry team has a wide variety of responsibilities. During worship services or other large events, they run the sound board for the worship band and speakers, including the pastor. If PowerPoint or other media are used, the media specialist sets up all of the necessary equipment and ensures that it will run smoothly. Some media specialists tape and distribute audio or video recordings of the sermon. Some churches broadcast their service live either on television or by creating a live stream on the church’s website. In some congregations, the media ministry team updates the entire church website.
Some churches have a media coordinator for specific ministries within the church who focuses on the use of media to share the message of that ministry. For example, the missions media coordinator at First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs “stays apprised of all that is going on in missions within the church and communicates that information to the congregation through the bulletin, Encounter, brochures, and the website.”
A paid staff person who specializes in media ministry should have a strong technical background and good leadership and communication skills. However, volunteers do not need as much technical background because most churches provide on-the-job training. Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tenn. only requires “technical savvy, some computer knowledge, some sound experience preferred but not necessary, [and] a heart to learn and worship through service. We can train for everything else.” Whether paid or volunteer, a media ministry team member should believe in the mission of the church.
In churches that have a paid media ministry staff person, the position is often part time. Many churches ask media ministry volunteers to make an ongoing commitment. A media ministry volunteer can serve at a particular service or event every week. Media ministry team members who participate in setup must arrive as much as an hour before the event or service begins.
If you are intrigued by technology and have a commitment to a church, consider volunteering in media ministry. It is an excellent place to learn. You will have the opportunity to use and experiment with many forms of technology that you may not have access to otherwise.
Salary and Job Outlook
As technology becomes central to the operations of more churches, more congregations may create paid positions for a media minister. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep separate data on media ministers, but the general category of religious workers made an average of $14.14 per hour or $29,410 per year in 2009. These positions are expected to grow between 7 and 13 percent by 2018, which is an average rate of growth.