With feet firmly planted in communities – whether rural or urban – churches (in general) typically do not require a lot when it comes to technology. Eyes affixed towards delivering sermons and grassroots community work, you could argue that there may even be very little room for technology to play in a church’s daily routine.
However, Ted - a volunteer of over 4 years in the Gospel Light Christian Church in Singapore - would argue otherwise. After a brief afternoon chatting with him in their church, I daresay, I that perhaps we simply just need to be creative on how we apply technology in our organization’s operations.
The Tech Tour
Giving me a tour of their church’s premises and their own IT-system, Ted was beaming with pride as he showed me an actual physical server stashed in their own office – an IT asset that I did not expect to see at all! This physical server, powered by a donated Windows Server license, served as the backbone of an efficient one-log-in ecosystem that is connected to full professional Google accounts they received via Google for Nonprofits. In this system, any staff member could immediately gain access to their Wi-Fi, shared storages, printers & more, just by logging in to their professional email accounts.
In addition to that, Ted also shares how this one-log-in system helped them keep up with the struggles of turnovers, an issue common to most charities. Before, should a staff member leave, they would always find it hard to retain important organizational information since their email accounts were only free gmail accounts and are not centrally managed. Today, through their modern system, they are able to easily recover, migrate and backup any relevant organizational data that’s left by a leaving staff member through a central admin console.
Their application of technology also goes beyond their internal needs as well. Through utilizing YouTube & Facebook, they are able to easily disseminate video recordings of sermons via social media to their churchgoers. With over 1,099 videos and 2,204 subscribers in YouTube – I daresay their modern take on disseminating sermons has proven to be very effective.
Realizing their Need & Driving Change
The mindset that technology is not for us is a prevalent one among organizations, and in almost all cases, it roots from the individuals involved. Through sharing GLCC’s story, Ted seeks to challenge that notion and open charities, not just churches, to the idea that technology is for everyone – it is just a matter of finding the right way, or issue, that you can address with it.
Though their story initially focused on what their church is today, Ted reminded me that the church too has started from rather humble roots. Before they were the modern church they are today, they too came from a simpler time and underwent a transition that was never easy – nor one that happened overnight.
For Ted, the main driving force for their transition was the realizing that they are beginning to have more internal problems than their team can handle. Not letting this issue grow further, Ted and GLCC looked to technology and began researching and dedicating time in finding appropriate solutions. Through the help of generous donors and a dedicated team, they now find themselves in a situation where they worry less about managing the organization and more on delivering programs to their community – at a larger and more efficient rate.