Pastors as Tech Managers: Managing Your Church's Technology
- Friday, April 29, 2005
Your church is awash in technology and it is here to stay. Whether you like it or not, as the pastor of a small, medium or large church, you are the manager of your technology systems. Even if you have other people doing the work, you are the manager ... or are you?
Are you in control of your office computers, networks, printers and software? Is your phone system adequate or your voice-mail user-friendly? Does your presentation system work reliably on Sunday mornings? Is your technology budget (if you have one) spiraling out of control?
Are you managing your church’s technology or is it managing you?
This series of articles will help you understand how to manage your technology and be certain it functions to support your church’s strategic purpose. Each article will introduce you to a part of your technical systems and give you guidelines for managing. At the end of each article there will be a checklist to help you evaluate your own systems.
Though you will continue to face technical issues, in the end you will have everything you need to stay on-top of your systems. With some simple management skills and attention to some detail, technical management can be reduced to bearable levels. Remember, the goal of technology is to support and enhance your church’s primary purpose to serve God, not pad the wallet of your local tech vendor.
Managing your church’s technology may seem to be the last thing you want to do. Like most pastors your training has probably been in Biblical studies and counseling. You’re a high-touch kind of person, yet you are increasingly surrounded by high-tech. How is a high-touch pastor going to manage high-technology?
As a pastor you already know how to manage. Management skills as applied to technology are no different than management in any other endeavor at church. Mostly you manage the people that actually do the work. Be they church volunteers or outside vendors, you only need to help them remain on task and aware of the end results of their work. The only difference is for you to be familiar with the how technology issues apply to a church setting.
The first step in understanding your technology is to look at how your church actually processes information. Most churches generally follow the 80/20 rule; 20 percent is attributable to spiritual contact time (preaching, teaching, counseling), and 80 percent to human organizational aspects (office work, committee meetings, facilities, events…ad nauseam).
Most pastors would consider the 20 percent spiritual contact time as the most important time where the primary purpose of the church is achieved. So Sunday morning worship services as the keynote meeting of the week would dictate the music/presentation system as the most important technical system in the church.
On the other hand the 80 percent time comprised of office work is where the supporting information is processed. If people don’t have adequate communications as to Who, What, When, Where, Why and How (hereinafter called W5H 1), then the spiritual contact time becomes less effective. As others such as Barna and Warren have noted, appropriate quality and delivery of information to your constituency should reflect the level of their technological lifestyle. Efficient and effective generation of that material is based upon your information systems which include computer and phone systems.
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