MinistryTECH: The I in IT

Presenter: Jon Edmiston, Director of IT and Communications at Christ’s Church of the Valley.

  • More time on solutions, less on infrastructure.
  • Unlike corporate IT, we can focus just on the customer (congregants).  Few mission-critical applications.
  • Membership system is the core application.
  • Member data must drive the website.
  • Single platforms trump disparate but integrated solutions (best in class)
  • Your membership system is only as good as the data quality
  • Skills you should have: reporting, scripting, statistics, graphical design
  • Key technologies: geographical information systems, data analysis tools, data visualization tools, unified messaging, social networking, mobile technologies
  • Strategic prioritization: plan ahead, start with solutions not infrastructure
  • Don’t seek staff approval – it limits our impact to the ministry.  Staff service is critical but not at the expense of impacting the congregation through technology.
  • Infrastructure should be simple.  Don’t overkill the reliability.  Stay away from the bleeding edge of infrastructure unless it directly provides the solution (e.g. Asterisk).  New technologies that save $ rarely do.
  • Be aware of opportunity cost.
  • Let big ideas stew.  (This is Jon’s variation of my "discernment stew" idea.  Can’t believe I’ve never posted on that.)
  • MapPoint is incredible. 

Books mentioned:

My counterpoint:

  • Integrating multiple, best-in-class systems vs. a single, integrated solution is a classic IT tradeoff that’s been around for at least 15 years.  I didn’t see any special insight in Jon’s view on that.
  • Of course, our default answer is "yes".  Enough said.

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