Helping over 4,000 churches implement software over the last 13 years has taught us a few things at Church Community Builder. One of the most important lessons has been about the role of the Executive Pastor (or the Lead Pastor when the XP position doesn’t exist). Here’s the bottom line about that role: While they may not directly deal with the day-to-day management of church technology, they absolutely set the pace for those who do.
More often than not, we observe executive pastors delegating technology decisions and implementation processes to others without considering the foundational principles necessary for long-term success. The resulting lack of unity and utilization leads to regret, lost opportunity, and wasted money. Let me illustrate: A church of 500 people can easily spend close to $10,000 implementing a new church management system in the first year alone. The ongoing costs of licensing and staff time can make this expenditure one of your largest outside of facilities and salaries. It’s simply good stewardship to make sure you lead this well!
So what does ‘leading well’ look like? As you might imagine, we tend to pay attention to successful churches and what they do well. While there are always nuances in every individual church, there is one constant for all of them: The XP is at the center of the process from start to finish. They aren’t controlling it, but they are most certainly leading it.
The key to their success is found in these 5 principles!
- They have a basic understanding of how technology works. You may not manage the day-to-day activities, but you need to understand the tools. If you try to set expectations or hold others accountable for managing your ChMS without really understanding how it works, you’re only going to create frustration amongst your team. You don’t have to know all of the ins and outs, but you should have an understanding of how it works in improving your ministry.
- They surround themselves with a network of people who understand what they’re trying to accomplish and how technology can help them achieve it. If you want to get the most out of your church management software, you should create a network of people to share the responsibility of managing it. Make sure they understand the ministry goals you’re trying to accomplish and how your church management software can help you reach them.
- They set clear expectations and create accountability. What are the things your software must do? Set those objectives as expectations for successful implementation. Once everyone is on the same page, be sure you create accountability so that everyone is working toward reaching your goals.
- They create the processes and prioritize what’s important. You may not be responsible for setting up your church management software, but you are responsible for establishing the processes that will make it successful. You also set the direction for the areas your team should focus on first — is it small groups, giving, children’s ministry?
- They clear the obstacles that are preventing people from maximizing technology for ministry. Most of the friction that occurs in ministry can be traced back to processes, not people. As a leader, it’s your job to help eliminate some of the ministry silos that are preventing your team from getting the most of your church management software.
Success with technology leads to greater Kingdom impact!
We live in a time where every church should be using technology to equip people and empower ministry. As the Executive Pastor, you have a responsibility to set the precedent for how your church is going to steward the resources you have and the people God has brought into your church. Taking the time to focus on these areas will not only improve the overall effectiveness of your church technology, it will ultimately make a tremendous difference in the way your church impacts your community.
How are you setting the pace for how your church leverages technology? How is it working for you?