3 Ways the iPhone Changed Leadership

Before we had kids, Kaye taught public school for eight years. When we found out we were having our first daughter, we decided she would take step away from teaching for several years. Her last day as a teacher (the first time around) was one day in June of 2007.

The first iPhone was released on June 29th that same year (more on that later).

After our daughters started going to school, Kaye decided to go back to teaching. She missed it and wanted to make an impact in that way again. She went back to the classroom in the fall of 2015.

While she was away from the classroom, the smartphone grew more and more ingrained into the culture and in the regular rhythms of how people live. I think if Kaye had been teaching through those years, she likely would not have noticed the changes in such a visible way, as she would have experienced them incrementally. But to go back to teaching after eight years off, the same eight years where the smartphone took deep root, was initially jarring.

Here are three changes Kaye noticed, as a teacher, after eight years off (the same eight years after the advent of the iPhone):

Speed of Communication

Before the smartphone, communication with parents and other teachers may take place over several days. An email would be sent and a day later the response would be sent back. The process was slower but also allowed people to spend more time formulating their responses and thinking about the implications of the decision. The smartphone has sped up decision-making. At times this is great and at times the result is decisions that are not been well-informed.

Expectations for Response

During the first eight years of Kaye’s teaching career parents emailed, and their expectation for response was within a day or so. When Kaye went back to teaching, and everyone had been using smartphones for several years, the expectation parents had on response time was exponentially higher. If some parents did not receive an answer back within a few hours, they assumed something was wrong – and not that Kaye was actually teaching a room full of kids. Our phones have trained us to expect faster responses. We both benefit from and can be enslaved by the heightened expectation for response time because of our phones.

Decreased Focus

While we love to believe we can multi-task, research continually proves we are not nearly as good at it as we think. Just google “multitasking makes you stupid” for a list of articles based on research, including one study that shows multitasking impacts your brain in a meeting more than smoking weed in a meeting would. Before the iPhone, the typical parent-teacher conference was different than it is now. You were able to get through 30 minutes of content and conversation in, well, in thirty minutes. Now those 30 minutes are often less focused. There is more “let me send this really quick to our babysitter,” or “my spouse is running late, let me check something really fast.” The smartphone on the table puts in everyone’s mind that this meeting can be interrupted at any moment, and thus lowers the effectiveness of it.

Are there benefits, though, Eric? Absolutely. When Kaye went back to teaching, she rarely had to run back to school to print something. It was on a doc on her phone. She could also easily check appointments, handle details in a quick text, and connect with other teachers in a group text.

But watching Kaye go back to teaching helped me realize that the phone has impacted us/ me more than we often realize.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
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Technology, Leadership and Their Influence on Ministry

We are about three months into a new year – new goals, new ideas, new plans. But for some, there are old problems hanging around like questions about technology. Decisions about church technology are usually put off until something breaks or fails regularly. At that point, the decision about what to do next is often delegated to someone who understands tech lingo rather than someone who knows how technology actually needs to help people accomplish the mission of the church.

Technology can have more of an impact than you initially think…

…it can be seen as a commodity like the paper in your copier or it can be seen as a powerful tool that empowers people and supports ministry processes.

Let’s unpack that statement and look at some of the ways technology can give you a way to measure and see that you are moving people through a path to deeper engagement with your church and in their walk with Christ.

What if using technology doesn’t feel natural to me?

This is a great starting place. Steve Caton in Getting Disciple Making Right hit the nail on the head when he said that many called into ministry, “…are probably not naturally drawn to numbers,…data analysis and complex algorithms.” Technology isn’t something you necessarily anticipated being an integral part of an effective ministry.

You spend a great deal of time preparing for such things as pastoral counseling, preaching, education strategy, and effective leadership. There are very few seminary classes on technology, especially how to use technology to make better ministry decisions.

But just because using technology might not come naturally to you doesn’t mean it can’t easily become one of the most beneficial tools for improving your ministry.

So how do we leverage it even when it doesn’t feel natural? Here are a few ideas:

  • Communicate your vision. Technology used in the absence of a clear vision for success is almost a complete waste of time.
  • Design good process. Before you implement any software, review the ministry process you hope it will support. Does it still work? Does everyone know their role? Do you hold people accountable?
  • Develop ministry opportunities for those gifted with technology. If your church struggles to use social media, create a volunteer team of people with experience to help.
  • Celebrate people who are good with technology just as much as you celebrate any other volunteer in your church.
  • Create a specific ministry in your church to connect generations. Creating a ministry opportunity for younger members of your church to show older members how to use technology to stay connected with family or benefit from tools they’re interested in is a great way to develop the intergenerational community that every church needs. It can also be equally beneficial for the younger generation to learn skills (construction, repair, sewing, baking, etc.) from the older generation.

Your church management software is more than a database.

So since much of this might not come naturally to you, it is understandably easy to get into the habit of thinking of your church management software as just a database in which to keep track of attendance and giving. Moving beyond this thinking is a great step to seeing your church management software as something that allows you to see God’s hand in and through your ministry.

How can that begin to happen?

Two steps can be a great leap forward in moving beyond simply seeing numbers and seeing ways to continue ministry, improve ministry, and grow to be more effective in growing disciples.

We all have systems and processes that we use to do church (i.e., engage people, equip people, and multiply disciples). Communicating with small groups, keeping attendance in children’s ministry, and placing volunteers are examples of common systems.

The first step in allowing your church management software to deepen engagement is to first evaluate your processes for these ministries. Once you’ve taken a close look at your processes and decided which of those are effective, then look for technology that is going to support those systems, processes and the people who really drive your church. The technology should fit your effective processes – not the other way around.

Second, look for technology that is going to be usable by a wide variety of people. The more people who can use the technology, the greater and richer the data becomes, thereby giving you a richer resource from which to determine your continued efficacy, new directions you should take, and what systems might need changing.

How can I connect more effectively with different types of church members?

You’re growing to be comfortable with the idea of using technology in ministry. You’ve taken a close look at your church’s systems for effective ministry and chosen a church management system that supports those processes. So how can you use all this new information and technology to increase your church’s ministry with the various people who walk through your doors?

Certainly, ministry would be easy if everyone in your church understood your church’s vision and shared the same passion for reaching others. Unfortunately, that will probably never be the case. Will Mancini has identified four different types of members who make up every church. Each member has a different level of understanding of the vision of the church and their role in accomplishing it.

  • These are people that understand the vision of your church and play an important role in achieving it.
  • These are people who understand where your church wants to go, but haven’t taken an active role in make it happen.
  • These are people who might be actively involved but don’t have a clear understanding of where your church is headed. Therefore, they end up hijacking whatever ministry they’re involved with.
  • These are people who understand neither the vision of your church nor why they are important.

Technology can play a huge role in helping you keep your ‘crew’ energized and moving other types of church members toward becoming actively engaged church members.

  • Technology helps you really ‘know’ your crew. It’s important to develop a clear portrait of your key volunteers. Whether it’s a volunteer who’s been serving at your church for the past 15 years or a first-time giver, your ability to make your ‘crew members’ feel appreciated depends on how much you know.
  • Technology helps you activate passengers. Instead of relying on the same volunteers or donors time and time again, technology allows church leaders to embrace the decentralized shift our culture has made. Technology allows you to reach church members where they are, communicate with them effectively, and connect them with a ministry that aligns with their skills and passions.
  • Technology helps you convert pirates. Most of the time, people who hijack ministries do so because they aren’t properly equipped. Before anyone starts serving in your ministry, they need to be equipped with supporting relationships, biblical teaching, encouragement, support, accountability, a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose.
  • Technology helps you invite stowaways to become passengers. There is a reason some churches are full of spectators. Churches which value connections understand that life change happens when you help your church members become the ministry, which only happens when you effectively help people engage with the culture and mission of your church.

We started out by saying technology can give you a way to measure and see that you are moving people through a path to deeper engagement with your church and in their walk with Christ. Here are 5 simple concepts that look at technology as a tool to increase engagement, equip more of your church body, and increase your disciple-making capabilities.

  1. Technology can be used to help you remember what you know about people in your church, allowing you to connect more effectively with people.
  1. Technology enables your churches to create numerous waves of momentum instead of getting stuck in an uncomfortable spot without a plan. Without thinking strategically about your technology, you miss the opportunity to record and analyze important data that illustrates the growth pattern of your congregation.
  1. Thinking strategically about your technology gives you the opportunity to record and analyze the important data that illustrates the growth pattern of your congregation.
  1. Thinking strategically about your technology can have a significant impact on how well you are connecting with first-time guests and what you learn from those who don’t return. People want to know they matter and feel a sense of belonging. Technology helps you avoid becoming a catch and release ministry.
  1. Technology can improve the effectiveness of your small group ministries and depth of community. How can you expect authentic community and care to happen in the absence of accurate information?

Technology in the church can be so much more than it often is. Taking the time to be strategic with it won’t be easy or fast but it’s so worth it!

> Read more from CCB.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Church Community Builder

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Tension Between Technology and Faith

There’s a tension that exists sometimes when you talk about the relationship between technology and the church. A few months ago we wrote an article titled, “How Pastors Can Lead Their Church to Greater Year-End Giving.” One of the reader comments stuck out to me:

The title of this article shows the sad state of many churches today…I want to vomit when I see articles like this.

This commenter continued by saying:

When a congregation is walking with the Lord and the Holy Spirit is moving in peoples hearts and transforming them to be more like Christ, you do not need to ever preach on giving or come up with gimmicks and ideas to increase peoples giving. They will give because they are moved by the spirit to give.

Yes, the tension between technology and faith is very real.  

We wanted to dig more into the connection between faith, relevance, and technology and so we put together a short three-question study.  We then administered this study to some of the 2,500 attendees of at the recent Nazarene M15 Conference.

> Question 1:  On a scale of 1-5, how relevant do you feel your church is to your local community?

Church leaders, as a group, rated themselves a 3.5 out of 5 in terms of relevance.  This answer speaks to a feeling that their church is planted firmly in the middle between relevance and being out of touch.  Many of the pastors made comments to the effect of, “We’re close, but we’re just not quite there yet.”

> Question 2: On a scale of 1-5, how big of a role do you feel technology plays in staying relevant?

When we asked specifically about the role of technology, 78% of church leaders believe it plays a crucial or very important role in staying relevant.

> Question 3: What holds you back from being more relevant and effective in your local community: time, money, technology, or people catching the vision?

For this final question, we wanted to force church leaders to choose one of four potential lacks: time, money, technology, or people catching the vision.  We know that this is a bit of an impossible question, since they all play a part, and many pastors wanted to select all of the above.  However, when forced to choose one, 67% of church leaders chose people catching the vision.  And an underwhelming 5% chose technology as their primary lack.

What does this tell us?

While technology will never replace the importance of catching the vision, it plays a crucial role in helping churches stay relevant.

Keeping this in mind, it starts to make sense why some would feel so negative about promoting giving techniques and technology.  Technology, in place of a heart and vision connection, is never an acceptable substitute.  In fact, when responding to our original commenter, this is what I said:

What’s been really cool for us [Pushpay] is to see churches who partner with us, and after going live, see the amount of new givers increase by as much as 33%. That’s huge!

Now, were these people not obedient before, or was their heart not in the right place, or were they spiritually lacking?  I’m not sure how to answer that, but I do know that they are giving faithfully now and the church as a whole is benefitting.

How do we preserve the balance?

When we talk to churches about giving technology, we use the phrase, “Unlocking Generosity.”  This refers back to a statistic we collected several months ago on Facebook: 80% of people want to be more generous than they currently are, but 92% feel held back by a lack of money.  The desire to be generous exists; it’s just waiting to be unlocked.

I like to use the analogy of working out.  We all know we need to do it, most of us want to do it, but the act of signing up for a gym membership and then driving there multiple times a week, it’s something that very few of us do consistently.  However, if a gym existed next door to my house and a personal trainer was there waiting for me, working out would become a lot more of a regular habit.

For some people, probably 20% of us, they will exercise consistently no matter the circumstances.  For the remaining 80%, we may exercise from time to time, but getting that extra boost is what’s needed to develop a healthy and regular routine.

We work hard to help churches engage those 80% of non-regular givers, knowing that the technology is just a tool to make the process easier, resulting in an outcome that gets us all excited: a changed heart and healthy habits that help transform us to be more like Christ.

> Read more from Derek.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why Technology is a Senior Leadership Decision

Technology is a part of life. It can work for you, or you can work for it. This is why selecting and implementing technology requires leadership. Technology has the ability to inform and improve how you connect with people, lead your volunteers, and make disciples.

There are three common mistakes that churches make when looking for new technology.  These mistakes can lead to a decision that will only cause more problems.

>> The first mistake — cheaper is better. We wouldn’t put the cheapest roof on our homes, would we? No way. Why? Because it protects our families and our possessions from the elements of nature. The same principle applies to church management software. The right technology will give your church the ability to operate more efficiently and effectively for the long term.

>> The second mistake — if it worked for them, it will work for us. Just because a software solution works well for the church across town doesn’t mean it will do the same for you.  Never confuse your preferences or needs with the preferences of others or the needs of another church.

>> The third mistake — let them choose. Often decisions about technology are delegated to others, but this approach doesn’t take into account the impact that these decisions can have on the long-term success of all your different ministries. Yes, Lead Pastors and Executive Pastors, I am talking to you! While you may not directly deal with the day-to-day management of your church software, you set the pace for those who do.

The key to success is found in these 5 principles

  1. Cast a vision for the staff. You are the leader for a reason. The staff looks to you for direction and vision. Change can be intimidating and uncomfortable, and implementing new technology requires change. Casting a clear vision of how this technology will improve ministry is the first step.  If you can’t answer that question, perhaps it’s not the right technology. 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.
  2. Build a team. If you want to get the most out of your new technology, you should create a network of people to share the responsibility of managing it. Make sure the key players have a stake in the success of the new tools.
  3. Define success and lead towards it.  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.
  4. Chart the course. Implementing change takes time. By having a defined path with measurable and achievable milestones, you can measure your progress.  This will establish the processes that will make it successful. Get some small wins early and keep moving in the right direction.
  5. Clear the obstacles. This is one of the most overlooked roles of a leader.  You should be clearing the way for other to succeedMost of the friction that occurs in ministry can be traced back to processes, not people. Begin by eliminating ministry silos that are preventing your team from getting the most from your technology.

We live in a time when every church should be using technology to equip people and empower ministry. As a church leader, 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?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Caton

Steve Caton

Steve Caton is part of the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder. He leverages a unique background in technology, fundraising and church leadership to help local churches decentralize their processes and equip their people to be disciple makers. Steve is a contributing author on a number of websites, including the Vision Room, ChurchTech Today, Innovate for Jesus and the popular Church Community Builder Blog. He also co-wrote the eBook “Getting Disciple Making Right”. While technology is what Steve does on a daily basis, impacting and influencing the local church is what really matters to him……as well as enjoying deep Colorado powder with his wife and two sons!

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Brand Storytelling: The Technology of Storytelling

JOE SABIA—THE TECHNOLOGY OF STORYTELLING

In less than four minutes, iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces the audience to Lothar Meggendorfer and explains how Lothar’s invention of the pop-up book is helping us tell stories today. He also makes me realize that I’m underutilizing my iPad.

What brands can learn from this talk

“The art of storytelling has remained unchanged…but the way in which humans tell the stories has always evolved, with pure consistent novelty,” Sabia says. Emerging technology has allowed brands to tell stories in many ways. Consider all the storytelling options available to your brand. You aren’t required to embrace and be present on all channels, but don’t limit yourself to traditional mediums because that’s all you know. There are so many tools available that are more effective and less expensive than traditional, interruptive means, and inevitably there will be even newer tools that have yet to be imagined.

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Jon Thomas

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.