I’m currently reading the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth which talks about how people learn how to “hustle” really well. (I hate the term hustling and from now on, will always use the term grit instead) In the book, she addresses novelty as this idea where we quickly quit something and go try to do something else. Having completed the book, I want to actually call this out a little further and talk about the long-term curse of novelty and how it actually can be very harmful to the Church and how techies, like us, are very susceptible to it.
A Novel Idea
The idea of novelty is absolutely a part of technology. Whether it’s a new shiny new phone that you absolutely must get because your old one just does not operate at peak performance or a new gaming system comes out that allows you to play in 4k instead of 1080p. We experience novelty all the time, but this is actually a problem when we look at church tech.
Think about social media. How many times do people in church technology, church communications, and church design push for people to be innovative and try out a new social media platform? I just read an Instagram post that encourages churches who are trying to start doing vlogging to also do microblogging on Instagram.
What about getting constant information out to people? Some people talk about how apps are ineffective and so the best option is to give up that application you spent time making or ignore putting any money into it because websites are more flexible and better options.
Others would promote you use an application for your streaming service, so it goes right to phones. Others say that is a waste of time and money because you have Facebook to use. The first set of people with applications would say, “you don’t control the platform, don’t waste your time.”
Which is it? Maybe we need to just try them all out?
No, no, no!
[Video via TED]
Grit Is About Doing Something Well
Do not get distracted here. You had a mission within your church technology ministry. Get the Gospel out to the masses, build community effectively, support the Church in discipleship and worship. That’s your goal.
If you start going down the rabbit trail of “shiny stuff,” you are going to get lost. Even worse, you are probably not going to be effective. In fact, you may end up burning out. I don’t want that.
Churches are known to not have the biggest budgets, have tons of volunteers, or run at a fast pace. When we want to start a ministry, it takes months, maybe years, to start it up. In that time the technology has already undergone several iterations that may change how we interact with the ministry. But we cannot be distracted from the mission, first and foremost. Always keep that in mind.
Don’t Forget There are Charlatans Around
I feel obligated to talk about this too. Even in the church world, especially in the church world, there are people who are looking to make a buck off of your ignorance. A couple of distractions with fancy features, a couple of skewed research statistics, and they hope to have you buying their product immediately. These are charlatans, stay far away from them. They may not have your best interests at heart, especially went they have to try to run a successful business.
If someone is trying to get you to use a new service or platform, my first suggestion is to ask why. I won’t throw anyone under the bus, but that app developer, website company, and microblogging people I mentioned before? They were selling something.
Honestly, it sickens me. The Church is supposed to be a place of unity and they look to divide with even the pettiest of things. Further, if they can support their family off of your church’s inability to focus on the mission, all the better for them.
Novelty is a good distraction and when you have time and money to freely use, it can be a great option, but it actually takes away from doing church tech well in the long run. Please, be careful.