This series is on Church IT, but our guest really likes to think of it as mitigating risk. From help desk to cyber security, their company does it all. With church’s AV teams, to Children’s Ministry check-in, to the live stream – churches really rely on technology and cyber security exponentially each year.
IT Services for Churches
With that, what should churches be looking for? First and foremost, it’s managing information. Churches need to know if they can manage the IT staff, needs, and budget. It helps to be realistic on the staff and budget necessary.
Common IT Struggles
Common IT struggles for smaller churches include using volunteers for everything from actual hardware to donated technology. They may not know what kind of mess they are presenting to an outside firm and the clean up that is required before they can begin servicing the actual needs. This conversation can be a little difficult.
The other struggle deals with the larger churches. Maybe the budget is there for these folks, and the technology is there. But the change over from your staff run to outsourcing run is going to be a little painful at first. Just growing pains. (Similar to MM onboarding clients when we ask for your bank statements and vendor lists. It takes a few months for us to get up to speed, and there are sometimes growing pains when first outsourcing.) But the end result – in both cases – is usually a better run system by experts in the field.
A note on budget
A percentage of budget to spend on IT may not be a consistent number right now, but because of the cost of technology and needs, the costs are going up. Stay tuned for more discusion on budgeting later in the series.
Who should be have the oversight?
Generally the office administrator/ business administrator is the best person. The least appropriate person is the teaching pastor. The point person should also be a person on staff, not a volunteer. This people aren’t the ones that know all there is to know about IT, but they know where to go to get the help.
Advantage of Outsourcing
One key is the depth of knowledge from a whole outsource provider company than a single person. (Excluding the mega church that has a whole team at the moment.) This is similar to a general practitioner vs. a specialist doctor in the medical field. When you have specific needs in IT, it helps to have a specific technition in the field.
We encourage you to have a point person for your organization’s IT oversight, if you don’t already. And make sure they have the ability to contact the IT experts that your organization is currently utilizing.
Next week Chris & Nathan will discuss cyber security and the types of threats that churches can face. And also the protections you can put in place!
Special thanks to our guest, Nathan Maxwell, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this first episode in our Church IT series.