If you are a church leader, it is likely that you have found yourself in the position where you need to provide church tech support. This can be an overwhelming task for some church leaders who find themselves scrambling to fix broken computers, troubleshoot faulty sound systems and projectors, or even just trying to figure out how their church’s website works. The good news is that there are ways to make this process easier on both your congregation and yourself by planning ahead and coming up with a plan of action for providing church tech support before something goes wrong.
In this article we will discuss three different strategies churches use when providing church tech support: (1) having a dedicated team member; (2) outsourcing; and (3) winging it!
Church tech support is a difficult job. The church environment is constantly changing, and the support on offer needs to be able to change with it. Whatever decision you make there will be pros and cons that come along with it.
A Dedicated Team Member
Having someone on staff – even a volunteer – to provide church tech support can be a lifesaver. It provides church leaders with the ability to either do more ministry or spend time developing their own skills and talents without having to worry about church technology, which is often an expensive investment for churches. However, it does come at a cost.
You may need to employ this person as IT and tech skills aren’t cheap, and as much as people are willing to volunteer, it can become a burden. People who work in this sector often feel underappreciated as they are only called on when something goes wrong – their work may have ensured something has worked for years without an issue, but the moment it breaks, it’s on them!
A church tech leader can build a team around them, which is vital for ensuring that tech problems are dealt with. When the main IT person takes a week off, something is certain to go wrong – having a team that has learned from the best can make everything go smoothly once again.
Depending on how your church works, you may find that your tech person has access to privileged information. It is wise to ensure a contract is in place for your chosen leader to make sure this information stays safe, even if they are only volunteering rather than occupying a paid position.
There are likely to be a number of people within your congregation who have specialist skills, and it makes sense to use all of them. Relying on a dedicated team member is generally a good idea, but the more support they have, the happier they are likely to be in this position.
Outsourcing Tech Support
Outsourcing church tech support offers church leaders a great mix. It lets them keep control of church tech while freeing up church members from the burden of managing church technology.
However, outsourcing requires that church leaders have a good understanding of what they are signing up for. Technology is constantly evolving, and this makes it difficult to find a company that will be able to keep up.
Outsourcing church tech support may also come with risks – church leaders need to be aware that another company will have access to the same privileged information that a tech team leader might have, and safeguards will need to be put in place.
Church leaders need to ensure that the outsourcing company is trustworthy and has a good history in providing church tech support. Plus, outsourcing church tech support may also come at an additional cost which may not be affordable for churches on a limited budget.
If you can find a reputable tech support company offering great prices, outsourcing is a good solution – but be careful, as there are many businesses who provide an expensive service without the comprehensive support they have promised.
Churches who wing it with church tech support are often the victims of poor quality service. Tech problems will likely occur, but church leaders may not have a dedicated team member to provide church tech support or go out on a limb and try an outsourcing company.
When there is no one to call for church tech support, church members are left with two options – they can either get on the phone with tech support companies/other tech-savvy people they know until their fingers are numb, or try to fix it themselves.
Winging church tech support is a risky option and will often end in frustration as church members struggle to find solutions – imagine being at work for hours only to be told that you need professional help!
There’s no easy way out of it, as one fix could lead to another problem, and the whole situation spirals out of control. It is better to plan for church tech support than to try and do it on an ad-hoc basis, because even if you know what you’re doing, you can’t manage it all on your own.
If the “you” in this case is the lead pastor, it’s a nightmare waiting to happen. What if the screens and microphones go down mid-service? Is the pastor expected to go around and check all the cables?
Make sure there is a plan in place and don’t leave it to chance.
Finding the Church Tech Support Solution that Works
The church tech support solution that is right for your church may be something you already have in place, or it could be a mix of different options.
A church with an awesome, dynamic and trusting team will need to focus on how they can improve their existing setup rather than going out looking for other solutions. Outsourcing church tech support can be helpful, but every situation may need a unique solution.
You need to know the skills of your church members, your budget for keeping everything running smoothly, and be ready for action whenever an issue occurs.
Being a church tech manager can be stressful, but it’s also tremendously rewarding. Just remember to get a plan in place sooner rather than later!