I have had a number of interesting conversations recently about what clergy should and shouldn't prioritise in their work. In all previous posts in churches (clergy and lay) regular operation of the duplicator ended up being a major feature, so it's quite a relief not to have that weekly expectation. However, on the relatively rare occasions I do run something off, I actually find it quite satisfying. I also enjoy creating document masters, powerpoints, websites and, of course, blogs and social networking.
So I have been reflecting on that. Being interested in methods of communication seems entirely appropriate for anyone who is seeking to communicate something of the Christian faith, or to raise awareness for a cause. The relationship between ministry and communication is obvious. In an era of new media and social networking, preaching the Gospel includes the use of blogs, facebook, Twitter and whatever comes next. That doesn't replace or supersede 'real' contact - far from it, but it can extend the reach and impact of a message or cause.
Having first worked with computers 30 years ago, and having stayed with them ever since, I am enjoying drawing on that experience. Computers are becoming ubiquitous, easier to use and a lot more fun.
There's also something else. I suspect quite a lot of clergy like to do certain kinds of tasks every so often which have a clear and well defined beginning, end, and (if possible) a 'product'. So much of what we do is intangible and difficult to quantify, and goes on indefinitely. You might take a service or make a visit, but you know the next one is round the corner. At one level a sermon is a 'product', but there's always another to write - the "tyranny of the sermon" as Abp Donald Coggan put it. Sometimes you just want a beginning, middle and an end.
So cutting some bushes or setting out some tables and chairs can be surprisingly refreshing and rewarding in a life full of ill-defined boundaries. Even writing a blog post can help you feel you have achieved something specific at the end of a day which feels full of activity but not achievement - it was one factor in me taking up blogging whilst a Chaplain.
Just wish it would stop raining long enough for me to hack some bushes or dig some earth.