With this being my first blog post on the new Production site, I’d like to start with a bit of an introduction. I’m Matt Berry, and I’m the Production Coordinator for the Student Ministries at the Wilmington Campus. Now, most people have no idea what that means and truth be told, I don’t always know either. Often times while I’m at work, I’m living in three worlds.
One is full of 300+ middle schoolers running around dangerously close to production gear, with their cheers during the night often exceeding 101dB. They ooze energy, chaos, passion, and crazy. We’ve had incredible nights, where students have been fully engaged and with us throughout the night, and other not so incredible nights where Jenga blocks have been thrown at worship leaders. Middle schoolers seem to have an on/off switch, where they switch (sometimes quickly and frequently) between insane, wild, balls of energy, and the sweetest kids you’ll ever meet.
My second world is full of 180+ High Schoolers, who are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Or at least I thought so. I’m constantly having to re-evaluate our ever-changing high school culture. For the most part, our high schoolers are really passionate about just being together. They like more low-key nights where they get a chance to spend time with their friends and leaders. They also love the chance to come to the church and sing together in worship. Last year, we launched a new format of High School ministry, where our students only come to the church for a service once a month - the other 3 to 4 weeks out of the month, they are in homes around town together in smaller groups.
My third and final world is totally different from the first two, as I’m also in charge of any events that happen in Studio 3, our multi-purpose space at the opposite end of the building from our main auditorium. Our addictions ministry, Refuge, meets every Tuesday night there, and although I’m not in the room helping to run the event, I’m usually around to make sure their set up goes smoothly. We also host Pastors Lunches, third party events, small group dinners, fundraisers for our partner organizations, funerals, men’s events, women’s events, baby dedication services, etc. It’s a constantly changing landscape, with the possibility of each event being completely different than the next.
As different as our environments can be, our mission in each is the same. At our core, we want to do as our churches mission statement says - To Reach People, and Help Them Walk With God. As PC3 Production, we choose to do that by Creating Engaging Experiences in Distraction Free Environments. I get the privilege to work in a role that allows me to be in multiple environments, and it’s positioned me to be able to learn a lot about crafting and creating environments that are engaging to our target audience, and to do it in a way that’s not distracting. It’s something my team and I are definitely still learning as we go, too.
Here’s an example or two: For our middle school students, chairs are almost always a win. Although we have more flexibility with our large group games without putting out chairs, we know that when we have chairs out, it creates defined spaces for students to sit in. Chairs also operate as physical barriers to stop students from constantly running around, which is super helpful for keeping their energy somewhat contained. When it comes to lighting and audio, we know our middle schoolers are generally well engaged by more up beat songs which means we’re going to light and mix accordingly. Strobes are a middle schoolers best friend! Because middle schoolers are so full of energy and passion, though, and because their attention span is nearly non-existent, we have to work hard to make sure we have well defined transitions as we step our program down in energy, so our students know when it’s time for them to take a step down in energy, too.
I’m never really sure how to wrap up something like this, but here’s my best shot:
Whatever environment you serve in, we’d love your help in thinking through and helping us refine how we try to engage our guests. We (staff) only see so much, and we value your opinions, expertise, and perspectives! Thank you all so much for the ways you serve here at PC3, and a special shout out to my team of middle and high school students who keep Studio 3 functioning! Donuts, you da man.
Student Ministries Production Coordinator, Wilmington Campus