Outsourcing The Word? Michael Duduit May 1, 2004 One of the hot topics of this year is outsourcing – that is, businesses sending functions (and jobs) to less expensive (i.e., non-U.S.) locations. Businesses use outsourcing for the same reason people go to Wal-Mart: to save money. (And all this time you thought it was the friendly greeters at the door attracting all those shoppers.) According to a recent survey, 30 percent of Americans say they know someone who has lost his or her job because it was shipped overseas. First it was manufacturing jobs being shifted, because the company could open a plant in Mexico and pay 50 cents an hour instead of $20.00 an hour in Chicago. (The problem for those same companies will soon be that their labor force has moved to the U.S. in search of jobs that pay more than 50 cents an hour.) Then the outsourced jobs were “customer service” jobs – people who answer the phone when you call to complain about a broken appliance or a software product that is eating your computer. After all, businesses reason, if they can find proficient English-speakers in India who can say “Not our problem” for $1.50 an hour, versus the same answer from Des Moines for $8.50 an hour, that’s money they can reinvest in developing new products that don’t work. The April 8 Arizona Republic even reported that Arizona’s Department of Economic Security (the welfare office) has outsourced its toll-free help line to a company employing callers in India and Mexico. Now when unemployed people call to find out where there check is, they get a chance to visit with an employed person in Bombay. (Which does cause one to wonder if it wouldn’t be cheaper in the long run just to hire the people who are already getting the checks? But then, I’m not a high-powered government bureaucrat, so what do I know?) Now even more high-end jobs (such as computer programmers) are being outsourced. Remember when the job counselors were advising everyone to go to school to learn to be a computer programmer? Turned out to be less-than-solid advice, unless you live in New Delhi. Since all cultural trends tend to hit the church at some point or another, the outsourcing movement offers a potential boon to church administrators everywhere. For example, instead of hiring a church receptionist, why not just outsource her functions to a church in Singapore? Either one can answer the telephone and sit quietly while members complain about last week’s potluck and prayer meeting. And why keep expensive American deacons/elders around when you could outsource all your deacons meetings to Bangladesh? I’ll guarantee you you’ll get less complaints about the monthly fellowship breakfast! And then there are all those pesky pastoral duties that could be outsourced. Why do all that study, research, and sermon preparation, when you could just outsource those responsibilities to an eager homiletics researcher in Manila? You can probably get someone else to write your entire sermon, typed-up and ready to deliver on Sunday morning. In fact, you could probably get someone else to preach your sermon, videotape it, and ship it to your church ready-for-presentation! Oops, I think that brand of outsourcing is already underway. ___________________________ Michael Duduit is Editor of Preaching magazine and President of American Ministry Resources. You can write to him at email@example.com, or visit his website at www.michaelduduit.com. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.