Paper Tools Versus Digital Tools

I know a lot of older people are loathe to give up their paper tools and if you notice, I haven't suggested we jettison any of them (the tools, not the older people).

The digital tools don't necessarily replace the paper tools but they do make the paper tools work a lot better.

For so many years, we've needed better communication tools than what we had. In the paper era, we had telephone and snail mail. That was it. We got our information over the podium at church or announced in our regular meetings. Often, some basic details were on the bulletin or on bulletin boards.

But these tools have limitations, limitations that don't exist with our digital tools. We haven't really exploited the benefits of these digital tools, yet.

Utilizing the digital calendars well could really help a lot.

Bulletin Coordinators

If the calendars are done properly, constructing the bulletin every week should be easy. All the coordinator has to do is pull events from the digital calendar and place them on the bulletin.

In fact, it makes sense for whoever is doing the bulletin to be the Email Communication Specialist or else manually assigned as a Ward Website Administrator.

They all deal with the same information. It cuts down on redundancy.

Public Information Not Confidential Information

One of the puzzling barriers I've encountered over the years, especially with leaders, is the idea that local top leadership needs to enter calendar information.

This is how it was done in the past, but that is not how the Church envisions the digital present and the digital future.

As one of the ward clerks remarked to me, "You aren't dealing with any confidential information. This is all public information."

Entering calendar information doesn't give you access to the MLS or LCR system or any other digital tool exclusively reserved for leadership.

Entering calendar information doesn't give you access to anything other than ... drumroll ... the calendar. That's it.

Multitudes of people are capable of entering digital information on a digital calendar. If some sort of problem does occur, their access can end with an instant click of a mouse. It is not a problem.

As the Church has told us, the calendar system is "collaborative" and "distributive." Another way of saying this is that instead of being centralized like it was in the past, it is now decentralized.

They want the various entities in the Church entering their own information and scheduling the building resources they need. That is why they set up the system the way they did.

This is a significant responsibility the Church has absolved local top leadership from having to do. Let the underlings do it. Leaders have plenty of other responsibilities.

The Church has stated in the past that if you spend more than a few minutes on calendaring in meetings, you are not doing it properly.

Yikes, People Will Know!

One other barrier I've encountered with people doing calendaring properly is that some people have realized that the system records who enters the information.

If you are messing something up on the calendars, everyone will know because your digital signature will be attached to it in the event details.

That is one way of looking at it. I look at it this way:
  • Somebody is motivated enough to enter information on the calendar. YEAH!
  • Wow, they didn't do it exactly right but I know who to train now!
In my view, anybody who enters anything is to be celebrated.

Next: Part 12: Who is Responsible and Responsible for What?

Assignment for Leaders: Move to consolidate these information callings. If you have two different people as Email Communication Specialist and Bulletin Coordinator, consider merging them. If you have a Bulletin Coordinator, consider making them the Email Communication Specialist. Consider whether to manually appoint a Ward Website Administrator if it makes sense for your unit.

Assignment for Members: Educate yourself on these two callings. Read over my blog series on the bulletin.

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