Saturday, November 14, 2009

Technologically not so savvy

I am not a techie by any stretch of the imagination. I can run my computer for the most necessary programs and do a decent job on creating documents/brochures/spreadsheets etc. I can hold my own. I cannot do any programming or any website's really not my gig. And, in the last 10 years I have gone back and forth between jobs that require a lot of technology and jobs that don't. Better said, I have been in jobs that need a lot of emailing and jobs that don't.

At Emory, everything was through email. Notices, updates, to-do lists, all of it came via email. It was functional and fast and very efficient. At my first church, not so much. With an older congregation (many of whom did not even have email) and a senior pastor who checked his email about once a day email was not super functional.

At my current church (once we got email installed in the church office...the need for which should tell you something about our technological state) I use it all the time. I email staff, committee members and congregants all the time. Though, admittedly there are a number of folks not on email, so in some ways they get left out of the loop. It is definitely not intentional, it just happens, and as part of that, sometimes feelings get hurt.

One example of this came months ago when I had to arrange a last minute potluck. We had a University choral group coming to sing and I totally forgot we were supposed to offer lunch. So, two days before they came, I sent an email to everyone I had an email for and asked for people to bring things. On Sunday, we had a wonderful meal and reception for the group. And it was only a matter of minutes before I was hearing third hand reports about certain women wondering why they hadn't been asked to bring things. Fortunately, the person they spoke with knew that it had been last minute and had been emailed out and it was, in no way, meant to be an affront to anyone and it said nothing of anyone's respect (or lack thereof) for their cooking.

It was a minor thing, but it said a lot. It's important to make sure people feel included. And sadly, it hasn't been the only time. There have been prayer concerns, meeting announcements, and requests that go out regularly that some people get. In some ways you could say it's ageist (though when my oldest member who is 90 still checks email, that argument loses some power), but really it's just faster. It takes time to call and individually ask people, and you have to be ready to call at the right hours (and for the record 10:00 at night when I remember is NOT the best time!)

To be honest, it's hard for me sometimes to slow down enough to just use the phone. Email is handy and easy and available almost anytime anywhere. But, as a reminder to myself and a caution for folks who aren't attentive to it, it's important to make those phone calls and include those people, even if it takes more time.

1 comment:

Pat said...

Just a suggestion. Maybe there is someone on your e-mail list who has the time and interest to call the people who do not have e-mail? In that way it does not take up your time, and everyone gets included.