dsc_4810 The following is a guest blog from my friend, Brian Davis – Media Resources Manager at Highland Park United Methodist Church.

For months I have heard Paul Rasmussen (Pastor of our modern worship service) say, Don’t let resources dictate vision”. As a resources manager, I live in a very concrete world of what we have and what we don’t have – what’s real and what’s imaginary. I know what gear we have available, and what money we have in our budget. So I have to live with the tension of what we have and what everyone would like to do. Recently in a staff meeting, Paul fleshed out what he means, and I think it’s worth a few bullet points here.

* Resources is not the same thing as money. Resources include money, but also include you (what you personally bring to the table in terms of influence, skill and other traits), systems, and human resources (volunteers).
* Most people are pretty good with the You. A talented video producer might tend to simply take all the assigned videos and crank them out by himself. That mat be because he’s a perfectionist or control freak. But it may also be that the systems aren’t in place to accommodate volunteer editors. Or maybe there isn’t a system in place to allow the video producer enough time to develop people in that role.
* Many people who may be in good shape with the You or the money, but meet with opposition when trying to expand or change systems. In church work we often tend to operate without much personal margin, so when we are met with the slightest opposition, we retreat back to what we know. It takes continual pushing against the status quo to affect change.

Andy Stanley has said “Your people are exactly where they have been led to be”. And I’ve heard it another way – “Your systems are perfectly designed to give you the results you’re getting”. Historically, our church has not had a really strong emphasis on volunteering. In some areas, yes, but certainly not in the areas of music and worship service production. We are committed to changing that. At the very least, it will require two things. First, our people have to be led to a different place. Led by our pastor, led by me, led by our tech staff. Secondly, it will require a culture change on our part. We have to change the way we think about our work – who owns it, who we’re doing it for. We’ll have to be prepared to volunteers be better at our jobs than we are (that can be intimidating). Paul told us “The reason for increasing our volunteer force is not to get free labor, but to increase buy-in of our mission”. So lastly, we’ll have to change our definition of success. Success will have to mean much more than successful operation of equipment, and “professional” performance. We’re not giving up on that, but success has to be expanded to how well we engage the body and allow our people to increasingly take leadership in our services.

I’m convinced that doing this will help our people grow. And it will help us grow, too.

Greg Atkinson

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