We have an expression in English: “Kick the can down the road.” It means to put off confronting a difficult issue or making an important decision, typically on a continuing basis.
Most every year recently in my career (and ministry) I receive about 25-30 invitations to guest speak or lead a media workshop. Many of these requests come from overseas – plenty of Latin America, some Africa & Asia too. Very little Europe, unfortunately (I love Europe and Europeans). Their continent is very tech and media savvy; the potential there – Portugal to Finland – is huge.
(The USA, it seems to me, is overfilled with media “experts” running from conference to workshop. But overseas? Lots of room for growth. Why? The workshops I lead are attended by young people who are self-taught. 95% of the time. Maybe they’ve had a class or two on cameras or editing. But, overall, they are thirsty for knowledge. That’s when and why I show up.)
One of the great challenges for me is that from these 25-30 very well meaning groups, only about 5 or so will commit in any single year to booking me for their media event…to take their communications team to the next level.
So, why do these other 25-30 groups consistently falter?
“Kick the can down the road…”
Often what I hear is “we will do it next year.” Or “the pastor says we are too busy” or that “our church schedule is too full.” And “would you be willing to speak for free?”
I understand. Because when they heard me speak in-person, enjoyed the presentation, walked up, bought a book, talked to me, handed me their card, they thought inviting me was a good idea. They had wonderful intentions. So, don’t get me wrong. These are good people. (And I’m not complaining here. Please understand.)
What’s the dilemma? Well, VISION is one of them. In a media saturated world, very few faith-based leaders have the foresight to harness media. Why not? They don’t understand it. Think it’s expensive. Don’t have time for it. Never were shown HOW. Or still believe that to be successful they need to be on weekly TV and buy equipment!
Just one seminar and I could easily address all of these issues…and show most any leader the incredible benefits to employing media to further their reach, benefit their members and spread their message. Not always by being on weekly TV.
Inability to make a DECISION. Sometimes the top leader is the only one authorized to make a decision. All power is invested in him (or her). Other groups just postpone a decision because they simply can’t make up their minds. So nothing gets decided. Emails and messages go unanswered. Or…they have bad news. We can’t do it. Eventually, they hope you’ll just forget about the invitation…and fade away. Fair enough.
Lack of BUDGET. I usually ask for airfare, hotel, a worthy honorarium. Some are shocked I don’t come for free. After all, to them, I’m a rich American. (Not true on the rich part.) Worse? That I don’t pay my own expenses too. The scriptural idea that a servant is worth his hire is ignored. Or that teachers are worth double honor.
Yes, organizing a seminar or conference takes funds. (And people power.) I’ve recently shown some groups how creating a SECULAR workshop (with a fee) can very often finance the entire media event (where Christians benefit too). Covers all the costs. Even makes a profit. Just add some Creativity. Promotion. Organizing.
Try thinking like an entrepreneur.
What’s the final solution? VISION. COMMITMENT. RESOURCES.
C’mon world. There are young, talented, creative people to be instructed, informed and inspired. They are ready to shake the nations.
With smart phones, tablets, digital cameras and computers. Via social media. Through compelling, redemptive stories that aim for both the head…and the heart!
Will you step up to do something now? This year? Soon?
Don’t kick the can down the road.