In a church, IT is a bit of a funny thing. In most churches that I know of (mine included) it’s treated as an admin function. It doesn’t have the same glamour *cough cough* as some of the upfront ministries. But just because it doesn’t have direct impact on peoples’ lives as a pastoral ministry, doesn’t make it any less important to the body of Christ.
We all know that IT is a vital part of any organisation, the church included. And in the church context we know it’s not about having the best toys, but ensuring that the church is best equipped to serve the community. But it’s much more than that. Unlike commercial organisations, churches are not in competition with each other, in fact we should be building each other up.
This morning was a good case in point for me. I met with a delegation of three from another church, 10 minutes down the road from us, to share our experiences of implementing a new Church Management System. By sharing this and and other IT stories, we can ensure that we are doing things well and helping the church to perform the function that God intended.
With that in mind, if you have any IT roll within a church but have no contact with other IT peeps in other churches you need to ask yourself if you’re really serving the mission of the church to the very best of your ability and gifting. Take a look one of the following websites, and become part of the church IT community.
Earlier in March Saddleback Church hosted the National (US) Church IT RoundTable. As some of you may know I’ve been trying to get a local Victorian/Australian chapter of the CITRT up’n’running and I would have loved to be there. Anyway, for those who don’t know Saddleback is one of the largest churches in the US and it’s Pastor, Rick Warren one of the most influential church leaders in that country (he lead the prayer at President Obama’s inauguration and is the author of the best selling The Purpose Driven Life).
The delegates at the CITRT had a nice surprise when Pastor Rick Warren made an unscheduled visit to speak about technology and the mission of the church. Now we can all benefit from from his drop-in visit, as the CITRT guys have put the video online.
Check it out here: www.citrt.org
Oh, and if you want to know what Bad Girls In Heat have to do with all this, watch all the way through to the Q&A at the end.
For a great deconstruction of the Pastor Rick’s talk (with no mention of the Bad Girls In Heat… c’mon Steve, what’s with that?) head over to Steve Fogg’s Clear & Simple blog.
One the greatest problems doing IT in a church office is that it’s very easy to feel that you’re operating in a vacuum. Even in a larger church like Crossway where I have over 150 users on our system, I’m still the Lone Ranger (although I do have a casual Tonto who does come in about 1.5 days a week). So it’s very easy to get lost in the forest and see only trees.
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Being the IT Admin at a large church affords me the freedom to do things the way any medium sized business would do things; First-tier PCs, multiple (virtual) servers, terabytes of RAID 5 disk, redundant DSL links etc. But don’t don’t think I don’t know how to do things on a small scale. In fact before I was full-time in my current position I did a day-a-week supporting a smaller church with just a couple of people in the office. Recently I’ve been thinking, how would I do it small-scale? Some of the ideas are mine, others came out of a group discussion we had at the very first Aussie CITRT hosted at this years Crossway Conference. So over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some of these ideas.
NB: These ideas are equally applicable to small businesses or home offices.
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