Part 2: Recognizing Your Church's Technology
- Monday, May 02, 2005
Then there is the embarrassing story (true-I was there!) of a church where the presentation system PC was infected. In the middle of the Sunday morning worship, a pornography-based infection message popped onto the screen-graphic nudity and all! Since the sound booth was normally unlocked and unsupervised, someone succumbed to Satan's temptations to surf for porn infecting the PC with an autodialer that popped up at the worst possible time. I am sure you can provide your own technical disaster story!
The point is: If it can happen, it will happen. In the church as in Las Vegas, the odds are against you. Your only defense is to be prepared by managing your systems by having a technical plan--and a fall-back plan in case something does go wrong.
Checklist: Detailed Survey of your Technical Systems.
The first step to implementing your technical plan is to do a complete survey of your systems. You may need to ask for help. As the senior pastor (and a good manager) you will be tempted to delegate the survey to another person. That is okay, as long as you actually study the product of the survey and discuss it with your delegate. You need to know what your systems are!
You don't need to understand all the detail, just get an accurate overview of what your church actually contains. Compare this survey with the checklist you did from the previous article! Most churches accrue technology and the pastor often has little idea what is actually present within the buildings (especially the presentation systems which are most often handled by the Minister of Music or sound crew).
You may use a spreadsheet or other digital means of recording your survey, but make sure it is printed out on paper and placed in your system notebook. This information will be invaluable to you later on.
Office Systems: Make sure you find all of the PCs. Especially if you have a local area network connecting them together be sure every PC is identified. Don't forget to survey the volunteer's private laptops that may connect to the network at any hour of the day or night.
Phone Systems: Call the phone company if necessary to have them give you the make model and serial number of your system. Count the number of extension phones with their extension numbers. Check with the Elder (or Trustee) Board members for their remembrance. Don't forget the voicemail system. Have somebody call into your voicemail and try all the possible choices. Have them write down any dead message boxes or invalid choices.
Presentation Systems: Likewise, survey the sound system and the related equipment. Don't be too concerned with the details of how it is all hooked together. Just get the major pieces recorded. Pay attention if the sound system PC is hooked to the office network. Don't forget equipment in the Sunday school rooms.
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