We’ve come to the final post in this series covering 7 ways to building a stronger media ministry. Although I’ve written this from the perspective of a media ministry leader, I’ve also done so with every area of leadership in perspective. Among those outside of the “media circle,” media ministry tends to carry a perception of the techie people, graphics folks, the video or sound guys, etc. While this perception covers some general characteristics, media ministry is so much more. It is (and appropriately so) the communication hub for every piece of information that gets disseminated, in-person, print and on the web. So it goes that we should give careful attention, development and evaluation to this support arm of ministry.
This series brings together a collection of thoughts, reflections and feedback during my time serving in media ministry. While this is geared toward media ministry leadership, I hope to broaden the perspective of those inside and outside of the media circle, regardless of position or the area that you serve in. Over the years I’ve generally found a significant need for development and resources in this area of serving in ministry.
Here are 4 more ways that you can invest in and equip your media ministry leaders, and ultimately help fulfill the mandate of Jesus .
: 4 Enable them to be successful.
This kind of goes without saying for anyone but is more often than not the case when we discover that we’re hindering more than we’re helping. One of the biggest challenges with serving in media ministry that so many can relate to is timeliness. Specifically, when you don’t honor the deadlines asked of by your media ministry leaders/team, you are more often than not setting the stage for failure, at least on some level, and eventually burn out. Good and well executed media ministry takes planning. In fact, nothing is produced without some level of preparation, even for what is presented to be “on the spot” material or production. And while there are time constraint strategies that can be implemented, a lack of planning will often result in a less than excellence presentation. From a morale standpoint, whether you intend to or not (and I don’t believe that most do), when you blow off deadlines you are conveying some of the following messages to your media leaders:
- My agenda/work/assignment is more important than yours
- I am not giving you the room/freedom to exercise your gift
- Your time is not important
- Your contribution is not that important
- I don’t care how you feel
These messages very blunt, but are in essence at the heart of what I have seen, and experienced, time and time again when timeliness is not a priority. For the media leader that really values their contributions, while being consistently put in a position to fail (and produce less than your best work), this eventually takes it’s toll in the form of burn out. In their eyes, they’re hindered from producing their best, they always work under what seems like unnecessary pressure, and at the end of the day, the result is that they don’t feel valued, not to mention creating an offense between parties that is just never productive to God’s work. Respecting deadlines is not just a formality, it allows a good media ministry team to produce their best—a win-win for everyone. Making timeliness a priority positions your media leaders to be successful in execution while continuing to build upon that and expounding their gifts, rather than shuffling from week to week, consumed with putting out fires. It also sends the message that you support their success as leader. More often than not, this is sensitive topic of discussion for both sides (inside and outside of the media circle), because of the pressures to get it done, and can usually involve some heated venting. Non-media leaders within the ministry also have their share of challenges and ever increasing demands on their time. Although it’s not purposeful, sometimes the requests and requirements of the media ministry team get overshadowed in the rush to put it all together. It happens.
If timeliness is an area of challenge for you or your ministry teams as a whole, specifically as it pertains to media needs, a “clear the air” meeting in a neutral setting is a good place to start. Each side should be open minded and come ready with solutions to implement for the betterment of all. Assigning blame back and forth will never produce a good result. These conflicts are always rooted in a break down of communication somewhere. A better mutual understanding of the needs, demands, constraints and internal workings of each ministry will go a long way in fostering a healthy collaborative environment. I’ve even seen conflicts diffuse and parties come together in mutual agreement when the constraints were put out on the table about why this or that wasn’t happening. At the very minimum, this allows for some alternative solutions to be proposed and places everyone on the same page of communication.
If there are currently unsolvable constraints, discussing some alternatives, back-up plans and expectations will go a long way in helping all involved to serve in excellence. Media leaders should also prepare for the unexpected as a regular practice and always be flexible. It sickens me when I see media leaders complicating things more than they have to be for the sake of convenience, in order to demonstrate a point or in an attempt to display their authority. These gestures are always rooted in pride and we know how that ends. Media team leaders must not forget that the media ministry has the privileged responsibility to serve each and every ministry team for the advancement of the vision as a whole. Being able to stay dynamic and flexible to ever changing needs underscores great media ministry.
.: 5 Think bigger picture.
One of the exciting things about media ministry is being able to harmonize the messages and efforts from individual ministry teams to communicate a unified vision (point #2). While it’s true that there are many smaller tasks and assignments that directly or indirectly impact the bigger the picture (very important), we have to be careful not to put to much emphasis into low mileage tasks. For example, over the years I’ve seen leaders pull out all of stops for a flier, presentation, video that was used one time or never even used at all. I’ve seen media leaders give too much focus to production prep, for instance, that produced little enhancement to the overall experience and/or goal. While this is a very subjective matter, I am NOT saying that we shouldn’t give our best in everything that we do, and yes, details are significant. I am saying that our overarching perspective should be, did it lift Jesus up, did it enhance our witness leading more to come to Him, was it done in excellence? And… how much mileage will we get from this? Think about the bigger picture.
While this applies to all leaders, in this context, we should also be mindful not to overburden media leaders with low mileage tasks and assignments. Getting good mileage out of something produced should never be the exclusive determining factor, but it is significant. The bottom line is that major and smaller tasks should have an end goal that connects the dots to the bigger picture. Investing huge amounts of time into low mileage tasks is likely not to produce the fruit that we want. And often the disconnect is that non-media leaders don’t understand all of the behind scenes work and prep that is required to produce the final outcome of what looks “simple.” Not only is this practicing good stewardship with our talents, time and resources, it also builds momentum. And momentum helps us as a ministry, get there.
.: 6 Tell the story.
If the media production/efforts is not adding value to the message, campaign, etc., what’s the point? All too often, leaders (media and non-media) tend to fall in love with what’s catchy, attractive, and sensational. And while it’s important to be able to tap into the attention span and trends of today’s church by varying creative means, it must all add value that ultimately furthers and enhances the presentation of the gospel, leading people to Jesus. And beyond that, are our efforts telling the story of our ministry? Of what we’re doing and contributing week in and week out? Media is more than just artsy and techie stuff, it is communicating and telling a story that will invite people into a narrative bigger than their own. We do this not only through our weekly teachings and messages, but through every event, campaign, and so on. This is branding at it’s basic level. Is what we’re doing and producing accomplishing that? Or are we just going with the flow?
Media teams, in many instances, don’t see how what they do comes full circle in the day to day and long term mission and goals of the ministry. Share the vision and sell them on it. Help them to be aware of how what they do is adding up and impacting the goal, mission and most importantly, lives. Without rehearsing and re-visiting that picture, it becomes a little easier to fall into the rut of the mundane. Help them to understand (and thus add) the value of what they do.
.: 7 Measure and adjust.
Fancy and artsy is nice, but it should accompany the question, are we reaching the target? Are we getting the most mileage out of our efforts? Are we duplicating efforts and we are stewarding our talents, time and resources well? It’s typical to demand and put more weight, time, energy and resources into the presentation of what we do (which is important) but the data is important too. What are the numbers saying? What are the stats? Advancements are a collective effort of measuring, reflecting, and adjusting. One of my mentors once hit me with a question that left me with a lot to ponder. She said,”where are you seeing fruit in your life?” Often times we don’t correlate or understand closely enough how our efforts are supporting our desired goals. Likewise, with whatever the media ministry team is producing or being asked to produce, we should look for what is producing fruit, or lack thereof, and measure and adjust accordingly. These are also great opportunities to look at what can we adjust to to grow beyond where we are. This is not just changing for the sake of doing something new, but changing with growth in mind by staying ever relevant. A successful ministry is a relevant ministry.
What are your thoughts on these 7 ways to help build a stronger media ministry? Have you encountered or applied any of these tactics before? What other recommendations and tactics have you come across? I would love to hear from you @ facebook.com/theMelMills. Thanks for coming along on this 3 part blog series!