Beautiful, Complicated Communication

A large part of my job (as a worship leader) is communicating every week with volunteer musicians and tech staff. The people I communicate with regularly range between 17 and 55ish years old. Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time sending out schedule updates, info about music, etc. My preferred delivery system for this is email, but that’s not everyone’s preferred system. So I sent emails… made phone calls….. sent text messages…. posted on Facebook….. I also needed to get some info out to the small group my husband and I are a part of, all of whom are under 30 (except…for…you know… us). So I sent the info via email (because there was a lot of it), but then texted everyone to tell them to check their email.

If I were to delegate this to someone, or to an automated system, there would be no ‘just handing over the contact list’. Because one has to remember that the drummer has 3 email addresses, but really only checks this one. And the two high school guitar players never check their email, but are constantly on Facebook. But the high school drummer…. send a message on facebook, but to be safe, email the mom. Those who have desk/computer jobs will email back within 5 minutes, but the stay-at-home parent might need a phone call to remind her to check email for the new schedule. And there are those who always needs a ‘face-to-face’ conversation to walk through whatever was in the email. Some say they would check a blog, but I’m not convinced that most would. At this point, none are Twitterers.

Complicated? Yes. Somehow I find it exhilarating to try to get it all right. The differences don’t all follow generational lines, but there are trends. Maybe it’s a complex formula of generation and personality and whether one is an ‘immigrant’ or a ‘native’ of the current technology. Regardless, this is the world we live in. To do my role well in my context, I must participate in the various systems so that I am accessible. If I were to refuse to step into one of them, I would be eliminating some of the very talented people I am blessed to work with. And I also believe that if I were to delegate all of the communication (realizing that I should probably delegate some of it) I would lose the opportunity to respond to the personal updates people sometimes send along with team info.

So what about you? How do people on your team reach you?

This post is a part of Watercooler Wednesday, a collection of posts about Arts & Culture.

18 thoughts on “Beautiful, Complicated Communication

  1. Kim,
    I can’t encourage you ENOUGH to checkout PlanningCenterOnline (use the links on TheWorshipCommunity.Com ads so Jeff knows we sent ya, lol!) ….it’s really revolutionized this for us.

    Granted, you’ll have the same issues – some folks just won’t reply to the PlanningCenter emails .. but at least you can keep track of who has “agreed” and who has NOT agreed.

    Like you, I have a handful of folks that will always need that reminder phone call … folks who don’t check email, etc. But overall, PlanningCenterOnline has really helped on scheduling … a TON!

    For the Kingdom,

  2. If you wanted to make the switch, I would use Planning Center as your scheduler and planner. I would upload charts and MP3’s as you plan the songs. I would schedule everyone in there (instead of on excel or by paper). Then you can just print out the set list each week with the scheduled people and songs and use that as your cover sheet for your music packs.

    Another words, if you start using it for you, then those who start to “come over to the drak side of the interweb” will only have to join up, you already have the system in place.

    I think I used it for about 3 months with just a couple of team members before I actually started getting the whole team involved and telling them about it.

    Just start it up and use it at your pace. Once it’s part of your routine, it’s easy to get others involved.

  3. Wow. The ‘in..’ family singlehandedly almost doubled the comments on this post. You could have made your kids add something, you know. :)

    Thank you for the insight into how planning center is really helpful, Brent. I’ve been thinking about making that leap, but I’m in the classic catch-22. I could really use the more streamlined approach right now, while I’m having to manage & schedule 2 different bands. But while I’m managing 2 different bands and services, I feel as though I don’t have time to make the switch. But possibly if I’d just get off of twitter I’d have the time. :) And Tam, you’re right… I could set a more rigid standard.

    Thanks for your input!

  4. Okay Kim, I’m commenting :shock:

    I find this whole communicating thing frustrating. I understand everyone needs to be contacted but I think they should work with you on this too. Can it just be standard that to serve in this ministry, volunteered or paid, communication is best forwarded by email? It looks like all of them have access to it. I know Brent has made that very clear to the team. It’s about time management for him. There is only one person who doesn’t have a computer or access at all and B calls him. But everyone communicates via email. And Brent uses Planning Center too…which is awesome!

  5. I did want to say that I never forced our team into this. I started using services that I felt could make the teams life simpler. I then taught them about the services and showed them how it could help. As people were ready, they jumped in. I don’t have one person that doesn’t appreciate it.

    Also, now when new volunteers join up, they are required to enter into the system that is in place. They have always been more than happy to get involved.

  6. It took about 5 years to get our team almost 100% on the same page. I know have only 1 person out of all the worship and tech ministries that is not accessible via email.

    We are on planning Center and it has revolutionized that ability to get charts and mp3’s and quick notes out to anyone and everyone…except of course the 1.

    Also, I noticed that getting everyone communicating via email has opened up more communication between me and others on the teams. In the past, they would have had to call or schedule a time to come by and often it was hard to connect face to face. But with people getting the idea of email, they now know that at anytime, they can send a thought my way and I can get back to them when I am available. They like that and I like that they are now communicating, asking questions, throwing out ideas.

  7. Kim,

    great post!!! Oh, I have a wonderful idea…Get all your team, small fact, get the whole darn church on Twitter.

    That will solve all your problems. Smile.

    Your fellow Tweet.

    Thanks for joining us at the watercooler today, please bring a friend with you next week.


  8. g-nanny… what’s the 320 mean?
    You’ve described a wonderful way to live. And I believe we have, on occasion, done things similar to that. Just not all on the same day. Besides, I would have to add in things like “and then I would text my tech team while on horseback so that I’d know what to say to my soloist when I call her over banana splits…”


  9. I would not like that part of the job. But it is critical.

    I like communication where you rock on the front porch and the neighbors go by on their bikes and stop and you have some iced lemonade together. Then the other neighbors ride by on their horses and we get to mount up and ride around the lake once or twice with them, and then some other neighbors drive by and stop and we all decide to go swimming and fishing at dark and then decide to make banana splits.

    I’ve never done this actually.

  10. I loved this post. I live and operate in much this same world. I ALWAYS send a detailed email, followed up by a Text Message, and for 1 or 2 I MUST leave a voice mail as well. Definitely complicated and messy. Much like life all around me. I personally am available by phone or email from 6 am to midnight. My sister in CA calls me at 6am everyday on her way to the gym. I go to bed long after the rest of the family every night. I get caught up in emails, blogging, the whole blogging world, songwriting, etc. Delegating communication has never worked for me. It’s not a control thing – it’s a “take every opportunity to speak truth and love and blessing” thing…Marina Berryman blogging at

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