I have something to admit to you that I’ve never gone public with. What I’m about to share with you through this article might shock you. It could anger you. It may make you laugh. Or, it may make you feel normal. But, I think now is the time to go public with this information before the youth ministry world catches me.
Here it is; I am a technology idiot! Honestly I am. Besides my laptop computer I don’t know how to use anything electronic (okay, besides the garage door opener—but, that’s it).
I’m not kidding…
I have never made a PowerPoint presentation—ever.M
I don’t know how to program our Magnavox bedside alarm clock.
I needed help installing iTunes.
I’ve never edited a video in my life.
I can’t install fonts (even though I’ve been taught 100 times).
I’ve had a CD player in my car for 3 years and I can’t figure out the pre-set stations.
I can’t work the soundboard at church.
The computer speakers in my office must be broken because I can’t get sound out of them.
The list could go on but I’m embarrassed as I type this. You may be thinking that I’m lying or exaggerating but honestly I’m not.
But, here’s the deal, I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to be good at something for it to be used in my ministry. I just need to find people who have strengths who make my weaknesses seem irrelevant. That’s what I’ve tried to do. Let me give you some examples:
Ten years ago I asked sophomore Paul Alexander if he could bring his computer to church and create PowerPoint slides; graphics, announcements, songs, my messages, etc. He agreed and we started a PowerPoint team in our youth ministry. He did it for several years and then became the first graphic designer at Simply Youth Ministry. I’ve still never learned how to put presentations together (although I’ve heard they’re easy to do).
Eight years ago I asked one of our teenagers to video tape a missions’ trip and put together a video for our reunion. He did an incredible job and then started a video team in our youth ministry. Today he’s a 23 year old film maker and currently making a film about the street children in Africa who sniff glue to stay alive (see www.reason4productions.com).
Seven years ago I asked one of our youth ministry volunteers to find me a video clip that would help me better communicate to teenagers. He found a great one that fit my message perfectly. I then asked him for one every week that followed. He went on to write three books titled Videos That Teach (click here). He had all the film clips and I added some Bible verses and questions and we created a resource that is being used in thousands of churches.
Four years ago I was at a Taco Bell restaurant and they were handing out CD’s that described everything about their menu and their company. It contained great photos, amazing graphics and downloadable applications. When I saw this visual brochure I thought, “Why doesn’t the church have this kind of stuff?” I showed the CD to Andy Brazelton and said, “I wish we could do this for our youth group?” He said, “We can, but it will cost $10,000…but I bet I can find someone to make one for us.” Long story made short—SnapShot was born (click here) and, in my opinion, it’s one of the best media products on the planet thanks to Andy.
Two months ago I mentioned to the team at SYM that I had read an article on podcasting and it sounded like it could become a great way for me to answer the youth ministry questions that I get. By the end of the day we recorded our first podcast with a couple of buddies and it was on iTunes later that day. [which, by the way, if you’re not subscribed to it, click here and join us every week]
Here’s my point, when I get out of the way—others use their gifts and shine. Media looks good and these knowledgeable friends have made me and my youth ministry look good. I haven’t done anything other than say, “Could you do this?” People respond to that question when they know you believe in them. Media is incredible and possesses great ways to communicate the unchanging message of Jesus to a changing and media-savvy culture.
People in your church have amazing media talents and skills! They’re out there and they’re just waiting for someone to believe in them enough to give them a chance to use their skills to bring glory to God.
Remember, I’m a media and technology idiot (although I am podcasting every week—but I don’t know how it gets to the web-site nor to iTunes—but, thankfully Matt McGill does). You don’t have to be great at media to use it for God’s glory.