Worker beeA series of great comments (Jess, Lizard Eater, Philocrites, and Mark Alves) reminded me of an ah-ha moment I had several months ago. I went to my church’s first visioning meeting fired up and ready to tell the world how important communications were. I thought (correctly) that most congregants didn’t know how much pressure was put on our Communication Committee. The Committee is told (sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly) that we’re expected to produce an excellent semi-monthly print newsletter, an excellent weekly email newsletter, excellent bulletin boards, and, naturally, an excellent website.

From my worker bee perspective, it was all a bit much. Because of this feedback I thought that’s what people really wanted. And people like me are at risk of burning out without more support – the way I saw it when I walked into the meeting.

However, as we talked I realized it was really some individuals who cared deeply about one form of communication or another. The congregation as a whole wasn’t ready to have it all. To scramble to provide all things in one sense is the easy way out – avoiding hard decisions. It’s not that the church doesn’t want all these forms of communication. It’s just that excellent communications are not a clearly defined priority.

I emerged from that meeting with my perspective turned around. Now I want to know what types of communications the church most needs. Where do the different forms fit in the overall priorities? If we need more (e.g. if we should have podcast sermons), what kind of resources will we devote to this? Will we hire more staff to help with some of these functions? Is making the church larger a goal for us? If so, do people understand the role the website can play in this? Should we increase the percentage of time staff devotes to communications? Should the Music Director oversee podcasts? Should the Youth Coordinator blog?

My hope is that our visioning process will clarify this some – give us a groundwork from which it’s easier to make these tough decisions. Once we know better who we are, presumably we’ll know better what matters most.