9 Marks of a Great Church IT Volunteer
By: Brad Hill
The work of ministry depends on a dedicated and passionate group of paid AND unpaid people. God created us all with different skills and gifts, so it’s worth exploring a handful of characteristics that you should strive for in your IT team.
1. They have solid skills and experience.
While intimate knowledge of obscure networking topics may not be necessary, a good understanding of a wide range of software and hardware will be an invaluable tool in this role.
Many times, the effective church IT volunteer is also immersed in technology as part of his or her Monday-Friday vocation.
2. They have time.
Perhaps the most common phrase uttered by disheartened executive pastors about their IT volunteers is, “We just couldn’t consistently get his help; he was too busy.”
3. They are passionate.
When they do, they’ll use creativity and fresh ideas to execute the goals with the best technology solutions available. When they don’t, they’ll simply be going through the motions, and they may even become an impediment to forward progress.
4. They have disciplines and patterns of spiritual growth and maturity in their life.
Ensure that your IT volunteer is on a solid path spiritually and takes the time to grow, hold him/herself accountable, and regularly submits to a check-in (just as you would require with any of your other ministry staff).
5. They are teachable and open to other ideas.
Just as in life, having a humble and teachable spirit is a critical part of succeeding as an IT volunteer. This doesn’t mean that you are a doormat or that you never have your own ideas. It means that you are open and genuinely interested in considering the input of your users, your leaders and other stakeholders in order to arrive at the best solution.
6. They have a proven track record of success.
We don’t expect perfection, but we do want to see that our IT volunteer is adding value and moving us forward. Pointing to these successes is helpful in planning future projects and convincing leadership that the IT budget is being spent wisely.
7. They show a willingness to delegate.
When all of the key knowledge is stored between the ears of your IT volunteer, it elevates your risk and limits your growth potential. An effective IT volunteer is continually looking for ways to share the load, delegate tasks with others, and transfer knowledge.
This ensures continuity, enables growth, and makes your IT infrastructure more scalable.
8. They share the spotlight.
Major technology projects (e.g. switching to a new database, implementing giving kiosks, connecting campuses, etc.,) are run in a collaborative, team-based manner. The needs of users and stakeholders are considered early and often, and key success factors are used to gauge success.
9. They compare notes with other church IT folks and glean best practices.
These questions (and more) are the reasons that church tech communities exist. You should encourage, or even require, that your IT volunteers participate in one or more of these groups.
Pay for their membership, if necessary. Some of these groups meet physically, and nearly all of them have an online community to share ideas and best practices. Check sources like Church IT Roundtable, or your church database vendor for user community groups, regional workshops or other ways to connect with IT minds from other congregations.
The ideas and wisdom shared here will benefit your church and the Kingdom.
What other things do you look for in your IT volunteers?
Brad Hill is the founder of SiteOrganic, which equips churches with modern, integrated tools for online giving, congregation management, mobile apps and websites, www.siteorganic.com. This article is courtesy of Lifeway Christian Resources, www.lifeway.com.