Your church’s technical systems are your primary information processing tools. Yet in many churches--small, medium or large--technical systems remain a back-burner issue until they break. Forethought and planning to keep the systems running reliably takes second (or fifth) place to the 20 percent spiritual contact time. Contact time does suffer in the end because managing a disaster always takes more time, money and effort than preventative measures.


One key to help you change your technical management style is to remember how you felt when one of your systems broke down and how desperate you were to get it fixed! If you were counseling a parishioner on how they keep avoiding an important issue, you might tell them to “suck it up” and “get with it.” Well? Take heart! It is not as hard as it sounds. Like most management you can take it one step at a time and build as you go!


Checklist 1: Keeping records on paper.


The following articles will include a checklist you can use to help you with your management. I encourage you to keep these checklists on paper! A major tenet of this series is what to do if there is a problem. Keeping your checklists in an offline notebook means you will have access to it at the very time you need it; when your systems are down.


1) Get a standard 8x10 ring-binder notebook. I like one with a red cover and a clear slip sheet front for a title page. I titled mine “Tech-System Bible.” Put 12 divider pages in it, one for each article in this series. Keep it someplace where others in your office can gain access, yet be secure from casual eyes.


2) Take a few moments to think of your church’s technical systems. Write them down on a page. Divide them up into three sections, computer systems (computers, networks, printers, backup devices), phone systems (phone key-system, extensions, fax machines, voice-mail system), and presentation systems (sound system, overheads, video players, TVs). Don’t worry about details, just write down what you know off the top of your head (you’ll compare your list with an actual survey later).


Pray for your systems! I know…but given the critical role these system play in your church’s life, they deserve some time. Let God help you understand your systems and bring things to mind. If he does, write them in your notebook for future reference.


Next Article: Recognizing your Church’s Technology.


1 The symbol of “W5H” ©1997 by Ray L. Bailey.

Ray L. Bailey ( is currently the senior network administrator for Bergquist Company, a global electronic-component manufacturer based in Minnesota, and resides in Prescott, Wisconsin, with his wife Mary. He has worked in the technology field for over 20 years.


Ray ministered for 13 years as a volunteer staff pastor at Alta Loma Brethren in Christ Church (Alta Loma, CA) serving variously as assistant pastor, youth pastor, and deacon board chair. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Azusa Pacific University where he specialized in Church & Technology.


Ray consults with churches and non-profit organizations on technology issues.

* Article taken from: A Three-Ring Circus: Taming the Lions, Tigers and Bears of Church Technology.