What Church Tech Teams can Learn from a Cartoon

two cartoon mice

Does your church know how they will use technology to accomplish your its mission? Does everyone even know what your mission is? Every day, the Animaniacs characters Pinky and The Brain attempt to take over the world. We can learn something from this single-minded approach to missions. In this article I will provide X tools to help us.

I want to say that I was not expecting to actually get inspiration from a cartoon show. In a UIE podcast, Jared Spool pointed out how the show’s characters had a better handle on mission than most companies. This candid statement during his podcast just struck me. After conversation with friends & coworkers, I realized there was something here. I hope you apreciate my points and see we can find inspiration from many sources.

Singular Purpose

Your church should not have multiple number one priorities. They need to be rank ordered to help your teams understand what comes out on top when there appears to be a tie. There is something to be said about how Pinky and the Brain plan out their day. Pinky asks “What are we going to do tonight Brain?” Brain responds “The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world!”. While it is the same answer in every episode, there is a laser focus to it. Your church should have a 1, 3, and 5 year plan. Your digital ministries should be in step with those agendas. And everyone needs to know and expect it.

Reduce Complexity

One of the primary reasons Brain’s plans fail is because they are overly complex. Pinky screwing up plays a big factor as well. But I am sure you have competent staff members. I am looking at church communications team leaders and pastors. You might set your team up for failure if you add too much complexity. Processes serve a purpose. But any process can slow down a team. Ask yourself and your team what value your process adds.

Handling Failure

In the timeline of the show, Pink and The Brain have yet to succeed in taking over the world. The awesome thing is that this does not deter them. They tirelessly plug away at their plan. The characters in this show have the luxury in that they are cartoons. They are not real people with real needs. You and your team require regular sustenance. You cannot take day after day of failure in stride as well as cartoons. So I suggest that when (not if) you fail, pause. Take time to learn a lesson. Avoid placing blame and determine what you can fix to avoid it in the future. A recently discussed tool is a project post-mortem. Conduct something like this and move on. Then, like in the show, try accomplishing the same mission, but with a new plan.

Action Item

Take some cues from a cartoon and get your web team rolling in the right direction. Get everyone in line with what your church’s primary mission is for that season. Create simple processes if you have none. Reduce complexity if your largest obstacles are committees and group review sessions. Finally, handle your failures with style. Understand that they will happen. Review your mistakes. Then press on to your next project with a slightly altered approach. In no time you will have a web team that functions as well, if not better, than Pinky and the Brain!

Inspiration for this article was from the UIE podcast with the always stellar, Jared Spool.

The image and likeness of Pinky and The Brain are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Animation, and are used under the Fair Use Act of 1976.

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.