Many times pastors and church leaders are asked to do things that they might not have even thought about before. One of those things is a church computer use policy.
Many times this happens not as a result of a good idea but because of a bad incident. Something has happened that has caused people to react and feel the need for some type of guidelines on how church computers are used.
Those incidents are unfortunate but I am not sure it is wise to develop a church computer use policy based on a reaction. What if you developed your church computer policy based on a mission and a vision? Wouldn't that be a better way to go about it?
So here are a few things to think about when developing a church computer policy for your ministry.
Developing A Mission Orientated Church Computer Use Policy
What Is The Mission Of Your Church?
At my church our mission statement is "To be the hands of Jesus extended to the world with love, acceptance, forgiveness and empowerment." That mission guides us in all we do and don't do.
There are good things that don't fit within our mission that we feel God has given to us. We are willing to give up those good things because we cannot be everything to everyone and we cannot accomplish every task even if it is a good task. It will cause us to not get any task accomplished.
The same is probably true for your church. God has given a specific mission for your church to accomplish. So it might be wise to ask yourself, "How does our computer use policy fit into the mission God has called us to accomplish?" This might take two levels as you apply it to two different types of users. Those being your staff and your members or the general public.
Church Computer Use Policy For Staff
Staff members are different than your regular members or the general public. When they are on staff they are working for your organization. As such there is different liabilities involved. At a minimum you need to think through whether or not you want the computers used for anything other than church related business while they are on duty or on the clock at your church.
This has less to do about them using the computer for negative or sinful things than it does about productivity. The internet can be a huge time waster.
You may also want to place on the church computers software that blocks the ability to go to certain websites. Not just x-rated websites that everyone fears will happen, but websites that are just not church related. You can block access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ect.
Church Computer Policy For Members Or The General Public
This is where your policy might change compared to your staff policy depending on the mission of your church. If your members need a computer to use, it might fit into your mission to let them use it.
Think about it. If they need to find a job, write a resume, do a term paper or even homework for High School or College where would you rather they come for help?
Yes I know that at times people might abuse this service you are providing, but that is part of serving. Sometimes you need to serve people that are not easy to serve.
Now maybe you do not want members or the general public to have access to the same computers that have church records or private information. That is understandable. Maybe designate a computer or two that are for congregational use and the rest for staff use. That allows you to serve your community at the same time as you protect private information.
What Is The Vision Of Your Church?
The difference between mission and vision is that mission is what God has called you to do. Vision is where God is calling you to go. Where is your church headed?
Think about this in terms of your church computer use policy. How is your policy going to help you get to the place God is calling you to go? Do you see your youth group creating videos to upload to YouTube? Do you see your staff creating classes that will be a help to your community? In which ways can your computers help you accomplish your vision?
These are the types of things you need to think about before developing a church computer use policy.
Now isn't that a much better approach than just trying to figure out who can use the computer and who can't?
Let me know if this has caused you to think. This website was created to help churches work through their technology issues.