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Site Seeing

After the Church IT RoundTable Jeremie, Jason Powell and I did a little site seeing on Sunday.

We first attended the 1 pm Experience at LifeChurch.TV.  All I can say is 1 pm service NICE!

Here are some photos from the Oklahoma City National Memorial

“The Gates of Time: Monumental twin bronze gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 – and mark the formal entrances to the Outdoor Memorial. 9:01, found on the eastern gate, represents the last moments of peace, while its opposite on the western gate, 9:03, represents the first moments of recovery. Both time stamps are inscribed on the interior of the monument, facing each other and the Reflecting Pool. The outside of each gate bears this inscription:
‘We come here to remember those who were killed, Those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity’. ”
OKC Memorial  IMAG0015 (Small) 

The Survivor Tree: An American elm on the north side of the Memorial, this tree was the only shade tree in the parking lot across the street from the Murrah Building, and commuters came in to work early to get one of the shady parking spots provided by its branches. The force of the blast ripped most of the branches from the Survivor Tree, glass and debris were embedded in its trunk and fire from the cars parked beneath it blackened what was left of the tree. Most thought the tree could not survive. However, almost a year after the bombing, family members, survivors and rescue workers gathered for a memorial ceremony under the tree noticed it was beginning to bloom again. In that instant the tree became a symbol of what the city had come through.”
IMAG0023 (Small)  IMAG0013 (Small) 

“Reflecting Pool: A thin layer of water flowing over polished black granite, the Reflecting Pool runs east to west down the center of the Memorial (also see reflecting pool) on what was once Fifth Street. Visitors who see their reflection in the reflecting pool are supposed to see “a face of a person changed by domestic terrorism”.”
OKC Memorial  OKC Memorial 

OKC Memorial OKC Memorial 

It was nice to have the ‘extra’ day in OKC and not rush out of town after the RoundTable.  A great trip and alot learned.

Spring Church IT RoundTable

We are finishing the setup setup for for the round table.

We will be attempting to stream the roundtable with a new cool tool called mogulus.com

MinistryTech Session 9


Paul Braoudakis

Communications Director

Willow Creek Association

Barrington, IL


Thoughts from Paul’s session:


The things that we do for progress don’t always get the job done.

Motion doesn’t equal progress

God Creates Techies with passion… but what should we do with it?

Does it matter if we use our passions and giftedness for the Kingdom


Tech has the responsibility of getting out the message of the Gospel in a way that has never been done in history before

MinistryTech Session 8

 Clif Guy
Information Technology Director
Methodist Church of the Resurrection

Clif Guy - Users or Customers? 

Overcoming the “Nick Burns” Mindset for IT Staff and Users


What do you do if…
- A lower priority request jeopardizes higher-priority project timeline

- Request is way beyond reason or capacity

-Request would compromise security

-Request would violate policy

-Request Falls outside your area of responsibility


What are we afraid of?

-Unmanaged workload

-Unmanageable expectations

-Compromised security

-Service Outages

-Poor Stewardship

-Resources falling short of demand


“Yes” is hard

-Are we unwilling or unable?

Is it impossible or undesirable?

-Can we meet the need another way?

How can we say yes to the request.  What can we offer and say yes?

Users usually bring a solution to IT… to we accept that solution or work for the best solution.


-What can we say ‘yes’ to?


User or Customer?

-How do you say it matters a lot?

Propose a solution you can say “yes” to


Two kinds of People: (TWO KINDS OF IT PEOPLE)

Pie Slicers or Pie Bakers or  Bandwidth Slicers or Bandwidth Bakers


We often focus on the problem not the solution.


Take away: how you ‘say’ it matters


MinistryTech Session 7

The Paradox
Tony Dye, Perimeter Church


Tony Dye - IT Paradox  


Operations or Support

Support or Projects

Security or Flexibility

Technologist or Pastor


How frequently does IT stop Ministry?  If it doesn’t stop it does cause unnecessary slow-down


Customer Service:  Great service or no need for service?


Techies aren’t always people persons… but that isn’t excuse to not serve well.


Relationships – Humility, and Authenticity.. When you have built relationships people are more tolerant when things go drastically wrong.


Policy vs. Freedom

When the policy is violated, do we ask “how can I help you” or  do you challenge the violation?


“Its More Valuable when I am not there” – Tony Dye

MinistryTech Session 5

 ’Be an Idiot’
 Terry Storch
Digerati Pastor – LifeChurch.TV

Terry Storch Keynote Session


Serving in the church… are you an idiot? 


“ADD, its part of being a Mac User” – Terry Storch


An idiot is an everyday ordinary person


Three things to be an Idiot

  • Idiots embrace being idiots – Acts 14

An ordinary person seeking God doesn’t always make sense, especially to those in the world watching.

Man is looking for qualifications, skills etc.


 15% of success is about knowledge 85% is about connecting


  • Idiots are comfortably uncomfortable

IT has too many “S” words, strategy, stability, security

The church isn’t designed to be comfortable…. We don’t follow a comfortable Jesus.

IT Has a tendency to focus on the process not the results… Its all about the Gospel… its easy to miss that focus with all the “S” words.

Don’t start worshiping the process


  • Idiots expose their weaknesses
    • Do you know and admit your weaknesses?

Working in the church, your Relationships with Christ, Family, Work, Church become one item… Working at the church isn’t your relationship with Christ.

  • What are your Boundaries

Do you disconnect? 

  • Accountability

You can live the lie of accountability and not live accountable.

Don’t live in the fear of rejection at the risk ok of not developing relationships.

Hebrews 11:6, without faith its impossible to please god. 

Faith is being completely sold out and an “Idiot” for God… sold out to God to change the world.


What are we trying to control personally that we need to let go… what do I need to let be exposed to let God take over?


“Church IT… Focus on why you are here (in the church)” -  Terry Storch

RedRobin got to love it

I must thank the team from ACS for picking up the the bill for even more community time tonight.  Dean, Josh and Curt took our group of 18 to Red Robin for dinner tonight… its crazy to think how many baskets of steak fries this many guys can polish off.

I don’t know why I love Red Robin so much, but its even more fun than normal when you are spending time with guys from the CITRT.

Thanks for Dinner ACS!

MinistryTech Session 4

Jeff Hook

CEO, Fellowship Technologies


What is IT Strategy?


Information Technology – why is the tech in place in the first place?


If you are HERE… where are you wanting to be?> What is the Plan

 - Involve as many people as possible in the PLANNING.


IT Strategy should be a reflection of your church’s overall strategy!


Shouldn’t the ‘systems’ reflect the customer?

Who is the IT Customer?

If you are a ‘high tech’ church and you use paper check in what are you communicating the customer?

Session 4

Is IT supporting the Facilities, Ministries and Staff by providing information in a usable format?


IS IT a value or a cost?


Data is not just Data.


What can you do now?

Give thyself a promotion… think like your boss should think.

Engage in Ministries

Document requirements and processes

Begin to measure congregant engagement

Identify and report on congregation segmentation

Enhance congregant experience: convenience/security

Improve staff/volunteer efficiency and accountability

Develop self-service congregant/member applications

Outsource non-core competency items



  • How does the Strategy of the Information Technology at Northwoods reflect E4? 
  • Is IT helping or hurting the E4 Strategy?
  • If we are seeking to be the church of tomorrow, are we positioning our staff to succeed with the tools that will help them be the leaders of tomorrow?
  • How involved is IT in the functions of ministries
  • A lot of similarities between John and Jeff’s sessions…

MinistryTech Session 3

John Edmiston

Christ’s Church of the Valley


Traditional IT
Hardware and Software


A new view of IT

Infrastructure and People


Solution Layer vs. the Infrastructure Layer

What foundation do you need, the base of Hoover dam or a sky scraper


Reality is the majority of time is Infrastructure and we squeeze in time for solutions.


The Church is not a Corporation… don’t have to manufacture, have inventory or distribution.

“In reality its ok to have a little down time”

We are a Sum of Our Experiences

The first thing you are successful is usually what you become.

As a result you enter a direction spin cycle.

At some point you have to exit the spin cycle to work on the solutions for the people and not keep circling around the infrastructure.


When you have free cycles what do you dream about?


Keys to an effective solutions layer

  • Your Membership system

A system that you can get the data you what when you want it.

If you can’t extend it you are stuck with someone else’s’ vision.

If you can’t drive your website from your Membership system you have an major problem.

Single Platforms trump disparate but integrated solutions

Data Accuracy, your membership system is only as good as the quality of the data.

  • Skill Sets…

someone needs to know how to extract the data.

Scripting and Programming

Basic Statistics

Graphic Design – ‘The Non-Designers’ Design Book’ by Robin Williams

  • Key Technologies

CCV – Geo-coding or connecting by location

Data Analysis Tools – giving unique views of the data

Unified Messaging – Especially the phone integration allows for personalized communication

Social Networks – why not share acceptable data in a secure way.

Mobile Technologies – solutions that extend the reach of our solutions.

  • Pastors on call getting info from the DB at the Hospital etc.
  • Live information about check in data


Strategic Prioritization

Proactively think about the future

Start with the solutions not the infrastructure

  • If we don’t think and dream first, we have to live with the vision of someone else.
  • Why not dream and cast vision for larger options than what those in senior leadership already know about.

Are need for approval from staff is our greatest weakness and limits our impact to ministry

  • If we are trying to save the day we fill our time with tasks vs. solutions. its ok to say know to be able to say yes to something far better.
  • CCV – First Try to please the member then the staff.
  • Staff service is critical but not at the expense of serving the church as a whole thru innovative technology.
  • Be careful for what the customer asks for….
  • Know when its right when… If your staff isn’t happy with your efforts, then you might be investing your efforts in the wrong place or are fixing the issue with the wrong solution.
  • “The lack of a strategic plan is like a chimp with a Glock.”



  • Infrastructure should be simple, complexity runs to lower reliability.
    • Be reliable but no overly so.
  • Stay Away from the bleeding edge.
  • New Technologies that save money rarely do.
  • Every Task you start ever day is at the expense of another activity.


John Edmiston Biases

  • Don’t talk  about it… don’t be a talking head.
  • Lead from the Trench
  • Don’t stand around work and volunteer in other ministries
  • Beware of bright shiny objects… are you the fish or the fisherman?