Having a vision for your media is essential. It get's everyone on the same page and working together strategically towards your goal.
I am a member of various online forums that serve church media techs. A common theme I see in posts on these forums is a disconnect between church leaders and church tech teams over the question of if and when they should upgrade their media set up. It seems to be a question that causes challenges for many but there is a solution to the disconnection – vision.
Many churches, jumped into live streaming at the start of the Covid pandemic as a way of keeping connection with their congregations when everything went into lockdown. Thinking this was a temporary situation they came up with what they believed was a temporary solution. But, a year on and the same set up is still doing the weekly broadcast.
If you were already broadcasting or filming at that point then you might have added some extra “temporary” things to your set up to improve it or make it more operationally friendly or to allow you to get more creative in how you did online church.
Whatever your situation, there is no question that most people had to make quick decisions to adapt to what was happening in the world but the things implemented have also created new challenges.
For many techs, they got up and running as quick as possible and I know most would have chosen to spend the minimum budget on their set up as it was only “temporary” – right? Of course, time has shown it wasn’t temporary at all and over a year on the “creaky/cheap” tech put in place is still doing the job. But the temporary set up is now causing real frustrations due to its limitations
Yet, the Pastor’s response is often “if it’s not broken why fix it”. Hence the disconnect.
Online streaming is here to stay for most churches so there needs to be a new approach that allows us all to move away from “temporary”.
I understand the reluctance to invest in tech. We all know that as soon as I take my new shiny toy out the box the value goes down. Also, as soon as we take the plunge and invest, we often discover there is something newer and better coming on the market – we can’t win. Also, for a church leader who spent considerable amounts of money a year ago, to now be told they need to finance an upgrade is a challenge unless they understand why.
Before I tell you my solution to the disconnect, I want to acknowledge the incredible job the church has done to cope with the pandemic and get up and running with their broadcasting. It is remarkable what you have achieved. I honour both the techs and the leaders for what they have done but, we need to ensure that the great work started continues and we build on our success.
The solution to this is communication. You need to work together to formulate a media vision for your church that can move you forward.
First, spend time celebrating what you have achieved. It has been remarkable, I am sure you have many stories and testimonies of how God showed up in your world and lots of responses from people who have connected to you through your media. Share these, enjoy the fruit of the work you have done, celebrate the stories of lives changed. Start here before you do anything else. Spending time being thankful and grateful will set the tone for your discussions.
Second, move onto having an honest and open discussion on the challenges you have all faced. Listen to each other, avoid jumping in and defending positions, instead make understanding NOT agreement the aim for this part of your time together. The idea here is that at the end of the process you are all in the loop on each other’s frustrations and understand how each person sees the past season. This is hard to do but is essential to build unity in your teams. For help with this (and trust me we all need help with this) check out this article by Danny Silk.
Third, spend time casting vision for the future. Don’t make this discussion about the tech or any other “detail” of what you need to deliver the vision, rather concentrate on what that vision is. This is the fun part, you get the chance to dream. Where do you want your media output to be in 2 years’ time? (2 years is a good projection as so much can change if you go further than that). Who do you want to be reaching? What content do you want to be producing? What impact do you want your media to have? – lots of questions to work through.
The key in this third part is there are no wrong thoughts. You want to treat every idea as a possibility and work it through, considering everything. The outcome of this process will be that you come up with a collective vision for where you want to be in two years’ time that all the stakeholders agree with.
This vision or blueprint for your media can then be the plan everyone works from to develop a strategy on how you will achieve it. The strategy will include tech upgrades, content changes, team training and development and much more – but it will all be coming from a place of excitement for WHAT is possible as you now have a shared vision, and an understanding of why these things are needed to deliver the vision.
The best way to overcome the disconnects I see is to be able to craft a definitive media vision for your church/ministry.
Do you have a clear vision for your church or ministry media? Comment below and if you need help working that out, I'd love to see how we might serve you - get in touch.