Technology Volunteers FeedbackDecember 13, 2004
A number of terrific comments have been added regarding this weekend's post on utilizing technology volunteers in the church. Some great perspectives and hard questions from fellow strugglers that are well worth reading.
Peter Davidson shares his technology volunteering manifesto. You can pay someone a lot of money to share this information with you, or you can read the comments on a blog for free! Trust me, stop what you're doing, read what Peter wrote, and think about how it can impact your church. I'm still trying to digest it all.
Jon Edminston offered a number of similar experiences and helpful tips from his time at Christ Church of the Valley. CCV is currently experimenting with an IT Advisory Board, something that we have tried as well. Our experience was less successful than what Jon describes. I felt that the group wanted focused projects (research and analysis), yet the very career success that led us to invite them meant that they were unavailable/traveling/on deadline to such a degree as to make the situation unworkable. We, also, were not diligent enough to keep the group moving forward and recruit new members as necessary. This may be worth another look.
DJ Chuang emphasizes relationships and personal invitation as the best way to recruit volunteers. My leader, Terry Storch, emphasizes this time and time again, and you're both clearly right. Nearly all of the great volunteers at FC were asked by engaged, front-line staff who saw a need and saw leaders waiting to be called out. These people had already developed relationships with potential volunteers and the invitation was natural, not forced. Again the difficulty (and this isn't an excuse, just honesty) lies in the fact that the technology staff is typically focused on enabling ministry in a manner more similar to graphics, communications, or finance than, say, singles or youth. This leads to far fewer opportunities for these relationships to casually develop and can also reflect a technology person's natural inward-bent.
If you followed my advice about Peter Davidson above, you know that he has a solution for this as well!