Colored Pencils

I like colored pencils! I just think they’re cool. You get fun colors, and when you mess up, you can erase it and start over! What is not to like?

colored pencils

In ministry, I tend to use a pencil when it comes to planning. Here is why…

When I traveled and worked in the entertainment lighting industry, I learned to use a pencil when drawing and marking up the design plans. When in the shop and talking with the designer, making notes, planning my strategy for all the work and organizing the equipment, I used a pencil on those plans. This is because, inevitably, when I got to the show site, something unforeseen had changed. Lighting positions needed to be slightly altered, the cable lengths needed were different, the stage was bigger or smaller than expected, a new celebrity was booked late and cues or colors needed to be added.

If I had used a pen on the drawings, I would have to scratch them out and write over the top, confusing everyone who constantly reviewed and referenced the drawings for guidance. It got messy fast. It looked ugly. It became harder to read and understand. And the lighting designer (technically my boss), would look at his beautiful drawing and wonder what I had done to it.

light plot by Bill Williams

Drawing by Bill Williams

So I used colored pencils…and lots of erasers.

The same is true for ministry. You must have a plan. But adjustments are inevitable. Unforeseen changes will occur. And during these alterations, the vision plans can get messy fast.

So use a pencil. The idea here is that, generally, the overall vision doesn’t change, but sometimes the tactics to reach that vision might. Perhaps the financial resources needed for a project might be different than you expected, or the time and location of a ministry might need to be altered. A change in staffing might need to occur to account for the changes in work. In church work, a change in time-frames is often needed. Maybe a communications challenge arose and you have to rethink how best to convey the vision.

The key here is to remember that the guiding vision should rarely, if ever, change. On that part of your drawing, use a highlighter! Mark it up with a bright yellow or orange highlighter that flashes in your face. It should be the brightest color on your plans. It is the sole purpose and reason you are there. Everything else, can be in pencil. All the pencil markings should reference the highlighted vision.

I used to do a lot of lighting work for NIKE. The designer always wrote a note on the drawings that said, “LIGHT THE SHOES!” He would put it in big bold letters then use a highlighter on top. That was the goal…the vision…the purpose we were there. NOTHING was more important that lighting the shoes. But as to HOW we lit the shoes, where we placed the lights, what adjustments were needed to light the shoes…that was all up for pencil markings.

Whatever your overall vision and goal is, use a highlighter.

When it comes to planning the implementation of that vision, use a pencil.

Or colored pencils.

And have plenty of erasers!

Something inevitably changes...bring erasers.

Something inevitably changes…bring erasers.