I recently had the honour and privilege of travelling to the U.S. with a colleague and meeting church technology leaders across the country. It was an eye-opening experience and we made some great relationships along the way. Here are a few lessons that we’ve learnt and had confirmed from the experience.
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1. Make the “main thing” the main thing
What's the main thing at your church? For us, it's the weekend. Worship, fellowship, teaching and salvation. Prioritise your week and your team around whatever the “main thing” is in your church and don't get distracted by the things that actually don't really matter.
2. Find people to learn from – inside as well as outside
Find someone, anywhere, who has different experiences to your own and start talking about how God is using each of you. You'll find it an enlightening experience and will form friendships that will last forever. Don't just email. Meet up and Skype one another – follow up on each other's initiatives and challenges, and learn from successes and failures. We're one Church and we're better together.
3. Share your ideas
Got a crazy idea that you're sure is going to change the world? Don't keep it to yourself! Share your concepts and find people to help make them better. One amazing leader we met shared with us that he intentionally finds colleagues whom he suspects will not like his new ideas so he can consider them from other angles and refine them. What humility!
4. Need more money? Prove technology's value first
It's easy to believe that more money or more staff will solve our problems. Yes, technology costs money – but let's find the BEST ways to invest what we've been entrusted with and prove that we can turn a little into a lot. Sometimes the most technically elegant, masterfully crafted solution is not what is actually needed, so remember to look for the biggest possible wins at the lowest possible cost first.
5. Necessity breeds innovation
Sure, money and people can help innovation, but it's in the tough circumstances when we really need to come up with fresh ideas. More often than not, if we spend out of desperation, we're just digging a deeper hole. Conversely, the temptation in tough situations is just to throw ourselves at problems at the expense of relationships. This rarely breeds innovation and more often than not results in burn-out. When the pressure is on, we need to get some rest, ask our Father for help and lift ourselves above the situation. It's amazing the ideas that can come from a rested soul yearning for Christ.
6. Find people with the right strengths, not just the right skills
At some stage, we've all had to work or serve with someone who was put in their position for their skills but lacked the strengths necessary to win. In our own teams, let's learn to understand and work to the strengths of the individuals around us. When we're bringing new people in, let's look for strengths that complement our teams. Having a team full of visionaries is great, but if no one is skilled at following through then we're not going to go anywhere.
7. Remember the bigger picture
It's easy to become distracted when constantly having to deal with technology. God has placed us in these positions not to fix things, not to worry about budgets, and not to come up with the perfect technical solutions to problems. He's put us in these roles to help advance His Kingdom through the tools He's given us. Let's wake up every morning thinking about how our tools can help our churches reach more people, and I whole-heartedly believe that God will never fail us!
IT Manager, Hillsong Church