Helping Your Church Staff Overcome the Technology Curve

Confused young man

Expectations of church staff in today’s digital world are high.  We expect church staff to be disciples, content/program producers for their ministry, and able to keep up with millennials when it comes to technology and social media.  We give them access to all kinds of tools but rarely take the time to teach them how to use these tools properly to get the most out of our investment.

How can you help your church staff overcome the technology curve?

    1. Demonstrate Benefit To get church staff to embrace new technology you have to first demonstrate to them that there is clear benefit to using the new technology.  Are you helping them work more efficiently?  Are you eliminating frustrations caused by current systems?  Are you giving them a tool that will help them connect better with their individual ministry?
    2. Purchase with Purpose Technology should align with ministry goals and solve a specific need.  Technology for the sake of technology is not a valid purchase decision.  Identify how the technology will help your staff be more efficient, connect and engage with your community, grow, and relate to a constantly changing demographic.
    3. Match the Right Experience to the Right Job Hiring a millennial-aged youth pastor might make him/her appear more relevant to teenagers but it doesn’t mean he/she automatically understands technology.  For example, there is a huge difference between an effective website versus one that is poorly implemented. Don’t expect your youth pastor to be a web designer, communications specialist, and an effective social media marketer.  Match the right experience to the right job.  Invest in a good website designed specifically for ministry by experts and then train appropriate staff how to use it.  A good church website can be a tremendous asset to helping you connect with your community and grow your ministry IF it is properly implemented and maintained.
    4. Implement with a Plan Once you have made a purchase decision, decide on an implementation plan that includes training.  What are your time frames?  Does the implementation require conversion from the old system to the new? What support is available to make the transition a smooth one?  Is there an optimal time to launch the new technology or specific times to avoid?  Take into account both the church schedule and give your staff adequate time to plan their schedules to implement and train.  Nobody enjoys being set up for failure because they weren’t given sufficient time to plan and learn.Who will use the new technology?  Even if only one ministry leader is planning to use it, include others in the training so they can step in if the lead person is not available. While one person might be comfortable with a quick scan of the user manual, another person might require more direct teaching.  Identify who will participate in training and then decide which training methods work best for your users:  self-directed documentation, live training sessions, videos, or all of the above.
    5. Equip for success Give church staff training opportunities. In a recent study, “70% of organizations cite ‘capability gaps’ as one of their top five challenges.”  Churches are no different.  Take time to meet with staff to have an honest discussion about their comfort level with relevant technology and identify opportunities for training, both formal and informal.Training doesn’t have to be expensive.  Give staff time and opportunity to share knowledge.  Take advantage of free training.  There is a wealth of information available for free on the Internet.  Give staff time away from daily tasks to take advantage of it.  Do your vendors offer training? For example, does your church software provider offer ongoing support?  Take advantage of it!  Allocate the proper resources – time and money – to help your staff become more comfortable with technology.

Need help identifying church management technology that will help your staff be more efficient, connect and engage with your community, grow, and relate to a constantly changing demographic? Contact us!

Image Credits: iStockPhoto