Pastors and church leaders often have to think about things they never thought of before. A church computer policy is one example.
This often happens because of a bad idea, not because it was a good idea. Someone has experienced something that caused them to react and felt the need to provide guidelines for how church computers should be used.
These incidents are tragic, but I don’t think it is wise for a church to create a computer use policy based on a response. What if your church’s computer policy was based on a vision and a mission? This would be a much better approach.
Here are some things to consider when creating a church policy on computer use for your ministry.
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Developing a Mission-Oriented Church Computer Use Policy
What is the Mission of Your Church?
My church’s mission statement is “To extend the hands of Jesus to the world with love and acceptance, forgiveness and empowerment.” This mission guides all that we do and don’t do.
We feel God has given us many good things that do not fit into our mission. We are willing and able to sacrifice these good things. After all, we can’t be everything to everyone. This will make it impossible to do any work.
Your church is likely to be the same. God has given your church a mission. It might be a good idea to ask the question, “How does my computer use policy fit in with the mission God has given us to accomplish?” You might need to apply it to two different users. These could be your staff, your members, or the general public.
The Church Computer Use Policy for Staff
Staff members can be different than regular staff members or the general population. They are employees of your company. There are many liabilities associated with this position.
You should at least consider whether you want the computers to be used for any other church-related business when they are on duty.
It has less to do with them using the internet for sinful or harmful purposes than productivity. The internet can be a time-waster.
You might also wish to install software on church computers that prevents you from accessing specific websites. You can block access to sites not related to the church and websites rated X. You can also block access to Facebook and Twitter.
Information Technology Policy for Members of The Church
This is where you might have to adjust your policy compared with your staff policy, depending on your church’s mission. It might be possible for your church to allow your members to use a computer if they have a need.
It’s a simple question. Think about it.
Yes, there are times when people may abuse the service you provide, but that is part and parcel of serving. Sometimes it is necessary to serve people who are difficult to help.
You might not want the general public to be able to access the same computers as those that contain private or church records. This is perfectly understandable. Perhaps you designate one or two laptops for congregational use, and another for staff use. This allows you to give back to your community while protecting private information.
What is the Vision of Your Church?
Mission is different from vision because it is what God has called for you to do. Vision is the direction God calls you to go. Where is your church heading?
This is how you should think about your church’s policy on computer use. What policy will help you reach the destination God has called you to?
Is your youth group making videos for YouTube? Are you seeing your staff create classes that benefit your community? What are the ways computers can help you achieve your vision?
These are the things that you should think about before creating a policy for church computer use.
Isn’t this better than figuring out who can use the computer?
If you find this helpful, please let me know. This website was designed to assist churches in resolving their technology problems.
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