Have a Backup Plan
A week ago, my local church was burglarized. The thieves stole technology equipment, including all of the computers from the childrens' classrooms. Yesterday when we arrived for morning services, we discovered that the childrens' Sunday school classes had been cancelled. I inquired about this. Apparently the reason for the cancellations was due to a hesitation to conduct the classes without the use of the computers. Perhaps I don't have the full story, but it troubled me that we had such a dependence on technology -- and I'm a technology guy.
Nothing was stolen from the worship center, but if things had been stolen, I expect we would have found some way to continue with the worship services. But it got me thinking about backup plans -- plans put in place prior to an unplanned event that could prove disrupting to key technologies we use.
Let's address an unplanned event that could disrupt the use of video projection. Arriving a few hours before a service only to find the projection equipment stolen would be one type of unplanned event. Equipment failure would be another. There are several points of possible failure staring with the computer, on to the video switcher, video amplifier, the projector, and any cabling between these devices. Some people are cool headed and can think quickly under pressure, but lets assume that most people aren't like that. Having some backup plans in place can help make a stressful situation into something manageable.
So if something happens that prevents you from using your video projection equipment, what are the ramifications to your church? Would you likely continue with the worship set as planned? Perhaps the songs are too new to the congregation which would prevent a worship experience, replacing it with a mere performance. If this could be the case, then consider having a backup song folder set aside ready to go. This folder would contain only songs that are well known to the congregation (can sing from memory), the worship team and musicians. All lyrics and music would be printed ahead of time and stored in the folder, making it easy to distribute to the worship team and musicians.
This plan also would be beneficial in the event that the worship leader comes down with a sudden illness, preventing that person from leading. Replacing the worship leader with someone else the last minute could be troublesome, particularly if the only replacement available may not be familiar with the songs in the worship set or is uncomfortable leading them. That person could then browse the backup plan folder and pick out songs that are more familiar.
It's not just the worship team that would be affected by a loss of the video projection system. Those who are presenting the message should be prepared to present their message without dependence on slide text or visuals. These things are quite helpful and should be used when appropriate, but its a good principle the be prepared to do without them.
Returning to the original issue, each childrens' Sunday school class should have a backup lesson or two ready to go -- ones that don't rely on any use of technology. In case something disruptive happens to the plan for a class, the backup lesson is ready to go so the teacher doesn't have to scramble for an alternate plan or cancel the class altogether. I haven't worked in a children's Sunday school class in a long time, but it seems to me that this would be a worthwhile bit of preparation, and one that I'd want to have if I were involved.
These ideas only touch one a couple of aspects of disruption. Other areas to consider are ones that involve the loss of a sound system, lights, power, and check-in system, to name a few.
What backup plans does your church have in place for an unplanned event that disrupts key technologies?