Finances are often a challenge in church communications as it seems the communications ministry is one of the last in the church to get the updated equipment and software needed.
Working for a church or working at home, the challenges are the same. The financial support of the job I work at to pay for the costs of this site has been significantly nose-dived because of Covid. Since the income from that job has to pay household bills and ministry operational costs, new hardware is not even a remote option.
This isn't a moan and grown about tough times but what I hope will be an encouragement of what I've preached to all of you for years, but have currently been reminded of in a very real way and that is....
Our equipment is never what makes an effective communicator
My current computer was all I could afford when I got it (I was planning on getting a new updated and the super computer I thought I needed and then Covid hit). It is barely adequate, but it has been adequate. A few months ago, it began to overheat after operating for a few hours (and I work on it many hours a day). A few days ago I was working away, not paying attention. and it got so hot it shut down completely. Dead. Total black screen of death. I prayed over it. I set it aside. Came back to it. Still dead.
I panicked. I do have a backup, a desktop box of a very old computer I can use in an emergency, but it clanks loudly (sounds like a jet engine a friend of mine said) and the screen attached to it is going out and has streaks across images. I hate that thing but have had to use it at times. I can borrow my husband's Chromebook for short periods of time, but he needs it for his work. I wanted to cry.
Suddenly (I am not making this up) it seemed an inner voice from heaven said to me, "put it in the refrigerator." So I did. Overnight. The next morning I pulled out an icy cold and damp computer. I momentarily thought if the overheating hadn't fried it, the moisture from the refrigeration probably did it in.
I pressed the "on" button. It booted right up. I was incredibly thankful.
Going forward with my Lazarus computer, I've learned I must be very careful and when it heats up too much, I must put it into the refrigerator for a little time out and cool down. Then we get back to work.
I can't hook it up to a new larger monitor or the new microphone I got that I bought to make me more efficient—the computer can't handle the additional load on it and I can't give it any more cool-down timeouts than I already do or I won't get needed work done.
Funny and frustrating and instructive
I can't help but laugh at the present situation--work for a few hours, time out for computer in refrigerator, work some more; time out. At first, I was upset, but I've realized all over again the truth of what I've been telling people for years and that is that the success of what we do NEVER depends on software or hardware, the latest in gear or technology.
It depends on us, on the communication creator, and how much we want to work for and care for the people we are communicating to. I care deeply for the church communicators I want to equip and inspire and now I have the opportunity by example to practice what I preach that it's never the gear we have it's who we are that accomplishes the work God calls us to do.
We can do a lot with the most challenging equipment. Part of the reason we can do that today is because much of what we need for church communications work is available in the cloud, so we don't need to have huge software programs clogging our computers. One example is Canva, which I use to create graphics of all sorts and can be accessed by any machine, no matter how limited. As I said earlier, I briefly used my husband's Chromebook (that doesn't even have a hard-drive and almost no RAM) to continue a design project I was working on in Canva and it worked great.
I press ahead and create designs, and templates, write and publish eBooks, create and design printables, mugs, and t-shirts, work on websites, and record and publish podcasts, and videos all using an inexpensive Logitech headset and a PC laptop that needs periodic timeouts in the refrigerator.
It helps me remember where the real power comes from and to be thankful
I know that nothing I say or do will have any value if the Lord does not work in and through it. It's always tempting to think we'd reach more people or do better if we had the latest technology that we covet. I know that's not true and this current challenge has reminded me of that reality.
I still would like a super, souped-up Mac with a giant screen and the latest software and the time to learn how to use it well but I am honestly content with what a have and am thankful for it. Oh, I'd also like a video recording studio with a teleprompter. One can dream.
When I have those thoughts, I remind myself I have running water and electricity that works—gifts many of my brothers and sisters in Jesus who work to communicate the messages of God in situations far more challenging than I can imagine. This is not a goody-goody thought. It is reality and we need to smack ourselves when we forget.
With that in mind, let me close with the following quote from A.W. Tozer
Where adequate power is present almost any means will suffice, but where the power is absent not all the means in the world can secure the desired end. The Spirit of God may use a song, a sermon, a good deed, a text, or the mystery and majesty of nature, but always the final work will be done by the pressure of the in-living Spirit upon the human heart.
No matter what equipment we have, may our work be worthy of the Holy Spirit to work in and through it to change lives for eternity.