Issue No. 349 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features 11 Twitter-worthy quotations from a very helpful niche book, published by Christianity Today’s Church Law & Tax. And this reminder: click here to check out my 20 management buckets (core competencies).
“What turns me on about the digital age, what excites me personally,” says Bono,” is that you have closed the gap between dreaming and doing.”
Not the quotation you’d expect to find in a book about strategies and solutions for information technology (IT) in churches and nonprofit ministries—but that’s why I love this book from the creative mind of Nick Nicholaou, president of Ministry Business Services, Inc. Every chapter starts with a zinger quote, including this one from Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law: “The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.”
“When is the last time you’ve thanked and blessed the IT person at your church or nonprofit organization?” I’m guessing NEVER! So, here’s your chance.
But…first…let’s get back to those zinger quotes:
• “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” (Steve Jobs)
• “If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.” (Tom Hanks)
• “It is far more important to be able to hit the target than it is to haggle over who makes a weapon or who pulls a trigger.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
• “Dan Bishop once said that the church is more like a newspaper business with daily and weekly publication deadlines than almost any other business analogy.”
• “Find the ‘sweet spot’ between absolute transparency and non-transparency—it’s called appropriate transparency—where trust is maximized with minimal disruption or risk to the ministry.” (Dan Busby)
Pop Quiz: True or False?
Hint: Just because a sentence below includes quotation marks, does not necessarily mean it is from the book (or true!).
#10. True or False: On rightsizing IT hardware for your church or organization, Nick Nicholaou writes: “If you can find it on a shelf in a store, you do not want it!”
#9. T or F: There are “four disciplines” of church IT: 1) web and graphic design; 2) AV; 3) social media; and 4) data infrastructure—and “the infrastructure guy” should always be the department head over the other three areas.
#8. T or F: There are two erroneous assumptions that IT people often make: 1) assuming another organization is nearly identical to us; and 2) that the other organization researched its choices effectively, so we don’t have to.
#7. T or F: There are three reasons you should never create your own software solution: 1) it will never be completed; 2) it will be difficult to support (and maybe your developer will die, without leaving any documentation); and 3) it will be very expensive.
#6. T or F: “A church in Missouri learned the hard way that open and unprotected WiFi can cause significant problems.” At night someone regularly used the open WiFi from the church parking lot—for criminal activity. Fast forward: “The FBI confiscated the church’s computers—all of them, including the servers!”
#5. T or F: Sometimes staff members (especially those new to the team) conclude, incorrectly, that the organization’s software is ineffective. “Lack of training is really at the heart of the problem.”
#4. T or F: Many churches, interestingly, are leading the IT industry with creative iterations of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies. Others are tilting towards SYOM or CYOM.
#3. T or F: Oops! State privacy laws might affect your church’s approach to system security. Example: “A church board is working through a sticky issue, such as the possible church discipline of a member as detailed in Matthew 18, and has referenced its discussion in its minutes.” If sensitive information is not adequately protected by your IT systems, laws might be broken.
#2. T or F: “The practice of changing passwords so often in churches [example: every 90 days] often lowers security!”
#1. T or F: According to Nicholaou’s work and observation of hundreds of clients, “When they change their passwords, they often write them on Post-It® notes or tape them to their monitors and displays.”
Bonus Question. T or F: John Pearson was privileged to write the foreword to this excellent nothing-like-it resource for churches. (Hint: True!)
RECOMMENDATION: Order the book today and thank and bless your church’s IT person with a valuable resource. He or she will thank you immensely! (And…you’ll find the correct answers to these 10 questions.)
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for Church IT: Strategies and Solutions, by Nick B. Nicholaou.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) In Nicholaou’s chapter on “IT Volunteers—Yes or No?” one section is titled, “What Can Go Wrong?” Be honest now—share the good, the bad, and the ugly that has resulted when you’ve used volunteers in your department.
2) When is the last time you’ve thanked and blessed your IT person? What could you do in the next seven days to show your appreciation?
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The Team Bucket, Chapter 9, in Mastering the Management Buckets, highlights this core competency:
“We believe that a balanced life honors God, each other, our families and our friends, so we leverage the unique set of talents and strengths given to each person by God. Thus we serve with more fulfillment and joy. We also leave work on time, physically and mentally.”
More than 20 million people worldwide have taken the innovative StrengthsFinder assessment which equips team members to leverage their strengths. Don Clifton, father of the strengths movement, famously said, “You will excel only by maximizing your strengths, never by fixing your weaknesses.”
For more on strengths, check out this new video from StrengthsFinder, “Everybody Needs a Coach.”
For more resources from “The Team Bucket,” Chapter 9, in Mastering the Management Buckets, visit this webpage featuring more than a dozen books from StrengthsFinder and others, including Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie.
P.S. Read John’s recent blog on board governance, "10 Organizational Dangers: Caution If You Check 3 or More!"
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