For many years I’ve wanted to be in a situation where I could put some computer training together for people who are about to enter the world of Christian ministry. As with most not-for-profit organisations, the budgets don’t always stretch to the point where full-time IT staff can be engaged to help with the challenges of modern life, and as a result, people who have been highly trained in one field end up spending a too-large proportion of their time on trying to work out what is wrong with their computers.
Imagine my excitement, then, when I received a phonecall a few months back from Nathain Secker at PY asking me to write a subject that’s part of a course they’re offering people to help them prepare for leadership in ministry. The section they want me to write? How to make the most of technology in ministry.
Having worked away on the subject for quite a while (including writing essay questions and marking guides), it finally came time to record the accompanying audio that went with the course. The approach taken here was unique to any courses I’ve been a part of. Instead of having the subject author do a solo commentary on their subject, all the course authors were gathered together, and sat down for two days to record their thoughts on all of the different course topics.
I’m not the only person who was skeptical about this – surely it’s a better use of time and resources to have people record their segment on their own – why arrange for people to sit in a room together? The logistics are harder, the technical setup for the room is harder – it would be much easier to have each person talk about their section, surely?
And how wrong I was. The two days spent in the recording studio (we managed to make 6 hours of usable recordings on the first day, and 7 on the second day) were just like being on a conference with some incredibly knowledgeable, articulate people. I learned a great deal, and apparently contributed some things that were worthwhile as well.
My own session was a little before lunch on the second day – it was great to hear horror stories about not backing up their data, and learn that – like so many people – no-one’s resolve to back up ever tended to last very long. I think it was a great benefit to have the perspectives of people in the group: I have plenty of experience using technology, but the people in the room were better able to give insights on what this might look like for people using technology in their everyday life (and in their ministry).
Thanks Nathain, for organising the lineup of speakers, and thanks to Sylvia for wrangling everyone to make sure they were all in the right place at the right time. Lastly, thanks to my fellow course authors: it was great to meet and work with you for such a short period: hopefully we’ll get to do this again sometime!