Tech geeks are really a different breed from most of your church staff. There are lots of reasons for this, a few of which I will go into, but the result is often time you end up with a high capacity asset, who is under utilized. Now I know the knee jerk reaction of most of you is going to be “I know my tech guy works 60-70 hours a week there is no way I can in good continence give him MORE work.” While I applaud that logic it is a little misleading, true I don’t know a single tech guy who would tell me they weren’t overworked, but I am talking more about quality and less about quantity. I think, and it’s just my opinion, but it’s my blog; so there! Most pastors go to seminary and get a really good education in how to write sermons and some even learn critical life lessons that shape their ministry in amazing ways. However, I don’t think many institutions are placing as high a value on technology and those who use it as they should be.
Not unlike snipers
I started off college in a military college and I learned a lot of things there that had nothing to do with my education choices. The Army is constantly changing the way they train commanders to employ assets, I watched a really great documentary recently about Army snipers, and it occurred to me that there are a lot of overlap between them and us.
Obviously not in the functional sense, but stay with me on this and I think you will see that I am correct.
Army snipers are trained very well, and one of the results of that training is an autonomous solider who can observe and think beyond standard mission parameters, who is in a position to have a huge affect on a situation. Now from that perspective, take out the words “Army sniper” and “solider” and insert “Tech guy” and “geek” and it still works.
One the of the cool things in the documentary was that the Army had made some changes in it’s commander training. Field commanders are now required to go through a course on how to properly employ snipers, if they are going to have them. I think churches should have the same thing to tech people.
Now I am not going to pretend that I have all the answers and I know just how we should be teaching Pastors to work with techies, I don’t. However I have been doing this for the better part of a decade so I do have some insight.
One of the biggest assets most techies can bring to the table is the practical application of common sense. Which everyone keeps pointing out is not so common. I say this not to toot my own horn, but I think common sense is one of the greatest things we techies have. I mean when you think about it one of the main potions of our job is trouble shooting, which is really the application of common sense to the problem, at least as we see it.
So the first thing I think that would help is if leadership would put that common sense to practical use, include your tech guys in creative an planing meetings. Make sure they have a clear understanding of the mission and vision of leadership. Lastly don’t micromanage, if you want something done, tell your tech guy what you want done and why it’s important, but let them figure out the details. If they are empowered and inspired then they can make things happen for you. So empower them inspire them and then get out of their way.