The Pause I Don’t Like

This coming weekend The American Baptist Churches of New Jersey will hold its Annual Session. It’s an event I’ve spent the bulk of my ABCNJ work hours on since mid-April 1. Throughout these months I’ve been swept into the promotion and production elements surrounding the gathering. Logos were created 2, a design language was established, print materials were developed, a email & social media campaign was run, the annual directory interior was laid out, online ticket sales were set up, the annual directory covers were created, videos were edited and compiled, photos which highlight our various missions were acquired, a keynote template was designed, the public presentation was created, and a database was made in order to create the name badges 3.

That was the stuff I worked on solo. I also participated in editing the directory, tweaked online registration to get in sync with our Executive Assistant’s workflow, interacted with our sound company and the hotel A/V company 4, and had some input on the podium schedule. And the thing is, by the time September hits the entire full-time staff has been swept up with Annual Session 24/7 the way I’ve been for the past few months 5. This is a big production, in which the entire team is hands on.

My last day in the office was yesterday. I sat with my boss to go over the public presentation, and adjusted the slides to match last minute schedule changes 6. Then I added some names to the Database which had somehow escaped registration, and printed their event badges 7. Finally, I worked with a friend to create labels for our offering containers 8. And then, after a few other odds and ends were tied down, I was done 9.

And now I’m in the pause I do not like. Everything is ready, so the only thing I have to do is wait. After so many months battling through task after task, waiting feels so anti-climatic.

But this time gives me an opportunity to ponder. For me, Annual Session is a task-oriented pursuit – what matters is checking off the boxes to get things done. The point of the gathering never comes into play while I’m burning through my project list. This moment is the first time I’ve had to breathe and consider why our team has done all this hard work – because we’re gathering, there are lives all over the world which could be changed for the better. That’s kinda cool.

I said I don’t like the pause.

I never said it wasn’t good.

  1. I only work there two days a week, so it’s not quite as long as it sounds. 
  2. It’s two events this year, Friday and Saturday, so there are two variants. 
  3. Actually, it was tweaked. I’d created a database for a previous training event, and adjusted it for Annual Session. It was probably the most fun I’d had during the process, which says something about how my brain works. 
  4. On technical issues only, I don’t do contracts. I’m not good at it. 
  5. As my weeks are compressed, I need to be myopic from an earlier date. 
  6. And recompiled a video. I hate recompiling video. Bleh. 
  7. Everyone is eating chicken! It is the one true banquet food! I’m getting chicken fingers. 
  8. ABCNJ gives out anti-poverty grants every year. Annual Session is perhaps the biggest source of funding for the program. 
  9. The rest of the staff is still fighting logistics, and our Executive Assistant is organizing all the physical materials which have to be transported. Her last week before Annual Session is like my previous 4 months – but with big pointy teeth. 


  1. Jamison says:

    I get similar feeling when I’m putting on race events, or running races. The couple of days before running a race there’s not much left I can do to help my success. I’ve done everything I can and now I just need to trust that I did it all right to prepare.

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