Small Town, Mid-Size Church – Big Concepts with Execution – Learn How To Involve Your Youth!

Abbie Stancato of Rockin' God's HouseThis is a fascinating interview. This interview transformed my personal methods of growing a technology team and a church!

At most small to mid-size churches, the music director, by design, wears many hats. Effectively running and delegating multiple aspects of the worship experience: sound, lighting, video, and multi-media. This includes but is not limited to team training and project management. Liz Dolan of New Life Church excels at team execution and is a great example of how to practically think on your feet and how to build a congregation.

Liz is the Music Director at New Life Church which is located in Sullivan, Illinois. New Life is embedded in a scarcely populated area. Although the amount of members exceeds eight hundred, approximately four hundred attend weekly services.

Congregation members drive from hours away, passing other churches along the way to worship at this particular church. Why? Because the staff and Liz communicate well, and because she has a heart for the worship experience. Her approach is very different from the norm, very original, and highly effective.

Her general approach is quite standard: coordination of the music to sermon, preparing and planning of the team via Planning Center Online.

What makes Liz Dolan unique? She is an innovator at getting youth involved in all areas of the services. Most churches spend all their time in Planning Center organizing busy adults. (Yes, that would be me too!)

Liz has figured how to train the youth of her congregation and raise up a new generation excited about Christ. Many churches talk about it, few actually execute and succeed. She offers skills to children as young as twelve years old. They have students as young as twelve running cameras, pro presenter, and switcher. She trained a sixteen year old as a summer intern last year to organize a youth worship program. She mentored this intern to organize and self-sustain the entire youth worship team who now runs the youth worship service Wednesday evenings. This year Liz is training a fourteen year old summer intern to organize the children’s worship program.

Liz explained, “We understand the importance of raising up the younger generation. With changing technology, the younger kids are so much easier to train. They learn the technology more quickly and are more passionate about it. I can’t say we’ve purposefully sought to involve so many young kids, but we start them young, train them up, and keep them excited about God. It is something that is working for New Life. We’ve had guests comment on how amazing it is to see young kids operating large cameras. We respond, ‘Yes, they learn really fast, and they are very excited about it, so why not?’ Why would we say they can’t do it just because they’re young?”

So what’s your training process?

“We have dedicated training sessions, but the best training is during a service. We have them watch and they learn hands-on how to operate the equipment during the service. It’s at least a three week process. We conduct outside training, followed by one week of observing, then one week of taking direction. Then for consecutive weeks we have a mentor assisting them until they become proficient and can work on their own.”