Friday, June 09, 2006

A place to vent

I'm going to tell you all about the movie I saw tonight in another post, but first I have to vent. It is about the small pond I swim in at church and I guess it is a micro-chasm of what a political leader might experience.

First, let me plead my case: I am a leader of a church group with a fair amount of responsibilities. Our web person quit last year because so many people in our group complained about how she treated them, and the minister (gently) called her on it.

By default, the website fell to me, the only technical person left in leadership. I had grand plans, but eventually had to tell the group that I just didn't have time to do anything with the website. We use yahoo lists to communicate anyway, and never use the site. The information on it is very out of date, and embarrassingly, an empty calendar sits on it, which is way worse than no calendar at all.

Now the lynching: A few months ago, it was time to renew the website. I said that I had no plans to renew it. This, of course, doesn't stop anyone else from renewing it. However, the previous web person sent out an email to our list and said basically that I and our co-leader were killing the website. As if we had decreed that it could no longer go on, rather than simply refusing to take it on ourselves. She asked, in a very passive aggressive note, that they direct any complaints to us. Now people are writing in, mainly people who never help with anything, and are saying that we should really update our site, and keep the calendar updated. Yes, we should. I open the floor to all you complainers and non action takers, and say, be my guest.

This is the anger I have decided not to take out on the group.


Thank you for listening.


Craig Schwalenberg said...

I suggest you buy the congregation the book 40 days & 40 bytes put out by the Alban Institute.

Actually, you might want to buy a few and spread it around. In it the authors tell a cautionary tale that is almost your situation verbatim. We've reached a point where it is no longer sufficient or effective to have a volunteer lay person take care of our congregation's websites, IT services, and computer support. Doing so almost guarantees a lack of support (volunteers have lives that demand their attention) and hard feelings (when things fall apart or fall out of date).

We can't afford to consider technology a non-budget, non-staff position anymore.

I'm sorry you are the one caught in the crossfire this time. I hope you extricate yourself soon.

Andrea said...

Ooooh, I'd be steamed too. Way to draw boundaries, though. If I were you I would just come up with a precise, polite form letter to shoot back at the complainers. Be concise and emotionally neutral about why you won't be doing it, and then say "the position of webmaster is open to anyone who is interested in continuing the web site. You are invited to contact _______ to discuss this opportunity." Grrrrrr. I hate it when people do what that lady did to you. I'm mad FOR you. Hopefully that makes you feel better even if you don't want all this unsolicited advice :)


Braidwood said...

Thank you Craig for putting this problem in perspective. It sounds like it is not unusual given the dynamic. I am going to extricate myself from that part of the group very soon!

Thank you, Andrea for your sympathy!! It is MUCH appreciated!

Today I had my art group and everyone vented. Usually we are not a venting group, but I needed some other venters and it felt good. Now I am back in responsible mode and I'm going to go through the proper channels and just not address the rude note that was sent to the list.

SIGH! :)

Also, I re-remembered all that I like about our group. I was about to say to heck with it, but I guess this is just one of those many experiements in community that church life offers. ;)

Braidwood said...

Also, I'm really glad I wrote my vent on here now. I really needed that feedback. Thank you both again.