I had the privilege of seeing and hearing Tony Morgan give the opening keynote to MinistryTECH conference today which was on the “10 Reasons Why Techies Scare Me”. It was a good way to open the conference – give all of us geeks an understanding of how we are often perceived by ministry leaders (who are usually non-techie by nature). Admittedly, Tony is a “gadget-geek” and he is quite comfortable blogging and twittering, but doing things really technical or even mechanical is not his forte. This is still a man who used duct tape to hold down the hood of sweet Ford Mustang convertible that he was renting on his 15th wedding anniversary!
So it was good to hear first hand from the man who holds the title of “Chief Strategic Officer” of NewSpring Church. With a title like that, you know the guy is not writing code or installing servers! But he is responsible, among other things, for the IT “department” at NewSpring and making sure that IT is serving the needs of the ministries there. The things that (sometimes) scare Tony about us techies are how we:
- Assume everyone thinks like us (a techie)
- Don’t like to bend on standardization.
(We need to learn how to be more flexible and realize that sometimes God wants to bring about a change)
- Hire (or recruit) the best geek rather than the best leader.
(His boss, Perry Noble, has told them they cannot hire any more “doer’s” – they must hire “leaders”)
- Always want more stuff
- Always want more money.
- Don’t document processes well.
- Implement technical solutions without considering the strategic systems.
(3 areas: Strategy, People, Technology – all 3 must be in balance)
- Implement technical solutions without communicating with the (leadership) team.
(good communication skills are often not a strong point for geeks)
- Focus on implementation without creating systems for training and support.
(We really need to be prepared to hold their hands and help them)
- Let technology drive the ministry rather than letting ministry drive the technology.
(Key questions: “What is the vision of the church?” and “What is the technology to help get us there?”)
Thanks Tony for the insights! I think it will definitely help us geeks to ultimately be more successful and help ministry leaders to understand us better and ultimately help the church do its mission better.