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Why Church Tech Projects Fail


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Have you ever seen a tech project go up in flames? I'm not talking about an exploding server but when a whole project simply fails. We've experienced failure and watched train wrecks happen on projects over the years. In this episode we dig into different causes we've seen for tech projects to fail. Our intention isn't share train wreck stories to but share the failures we know of so you can learn from them.

Oh, and did we mention, there are two free drupal theme training seminars coming up? One in New York and one in Metro Detroit? Details in this episode.

re: Why Church Tech Projects Fail


Nice episode, guys. You really covered a lot of really good topics on this podcast.

I think one of the biggest things that can kill - or at least hinder - a church project is to not think of it as a tech project at the onset.

Church events are often planned with huge budgets for everything except the items that will need to be purchased or rented by the technical departments to make them happen. In addition, the tech departments are usually not included until very late in the planning stages. The lesson is that tech teams need appropriate representation in planning sessions. From what I understand, this problem happens even in churches where IT and worship tech leaders are full-time staff positions.

A building program is a technology project, and should be treated as such.

And - while I'm on my soapbox - an architect is not an acoustics consultant. Spend a little money up front to have the plans reviewed by one, or you'll spend thousands of dollars mitigating any acoustical problems. The same thing goes for speaker systems. If at all possible, have a professional design speaker implementation.

Every church considering a sound system should read Jim Brown's excellent essay, Why Churches Buy Three Sound Systems, and How You Can Buy Only One (PDF).


Leadership in church

Thought provoking podcast guys!

I agree with your thoughts that not everyone is wired to be a leader in a church, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing our best for God.

Some people in leadership tend to become managers when maybe they need to wear more of that entrepreneurial hat.

As a church leader I am always trying to learn and hone my skills. I read a book by Michael Gerber called the “E-Myth Manager.” The helpful point I got out of it is that not everyone is a good manager. The dot.com era started from many technicians who were entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, they weren’t good managers—poof. You need good managers, but unless they can also think like an entrepreneur they, too will burn out and not be invested in the job. Even when you don’t own the company that entrepreneurial spirit is important to apply to your position, whether you are a technician or manager, because it allows you to lead in your position. You become the authority.

I almost see that the pastor has to shuffle between all three hats. They need to be the entrepreneurial visionary, the manager of ministries and the technician of the Word (not that they manipulate it, but they are the expert of the Word). Unfortunately, it is hard to wear three hats at the same time.


A pastor does not need to wear to many hats. Though, they often do.

First, a pastor should not be a entrepreneurial visionary. That should never be their goal. A pastor in on a mission to do what Matthew 28:19-20 says. They are there to serve people with the gifts God gave them. Now, God does give his leaders a vision. It's his vision.

But, I think the issue is that we don't train people how to lead. We train people how to manage. Part of it is fear. People are scared of failure so they don't aim big. Part of it is training. Many just don't know how to lead. They don't know where to look or that they should look.

Take a person who has all the talent to lead but no skill. They won't be able to do too well. They need both.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

What I Learned



I am very very impressed with this episode you have hit all of the things I have come across as a servant leader at my church's Young Adult Ministry and wow the lessons I have learned.

The first main thing I learned is that you have to have a good leader/pastor in our church we have 12 full and part time pastors and each of them have to be a good leader in his or her department.. we have had the same pastor for close to 26 years and in that time even his son as become a pastor and leads one of the biggest young adult groups I have ever been apart of. Leadership is the first key. Even as a servant leader I am taking the time to learn how to be an effective leader so that our Creative Arts Team (technical team - sound, media shout, recordings etc...) can be the best it can be. I have learned that if I cannot be an effective leader then my team cannot be effective. Here are two examples of what I have learned.

I met the Young Adults Worship Leader in 2006 with an Idea for live streaming of our young adults services and I even offered to donate the computer and equipment do make this work. It was old equipment but it worked for this project and unlike a lot of church and leaders he let me go.. he said set it up and show us how it works. I did and for the next 5 or 6 months we had live services on the internet. This helped people all over the world catch up on what our church was doing when my Young Adults Pastor left a confrence or speaking engagment. During this time I was made a servant leader.

In the close to 3 years of serving this Pastor I have come across some things that just did not work for us and things that worked for a season and things that are still working.

My church has two sanctuaries and the old one is used for the weekly ministries (youth, kids, elementary, young adults, Durham House of Prayer etc..) and the sound system setup & stage would change up to 5 times a week and each week I would find equiptmet, cables, mics etc missing and this used to frustrate me and one of the things I learned from this was that no one was overseeing the old side sound system and equipment, no body knew where things were until 5 min before a service and that was at the best of times.

So summer of 2007 when things were slow I deiced to do something about it. With the permission of my pastor I spent 3 Tuesdays (that is my day I serve) I went over all the technical stuff in the old side and setup the sound board and all the cables with labels.. I would label the end that goes into the snake with the slot number (1, 2 10 etc..) and the end that goes on the equiptment with the slot number and type of equiptment (4 accoustic guitar, 10 lead vocals etc..) these numbers would match the setup on the sound board.. now rather then have to change the setup each week.. every sound guy/gal knew that 10 was always the lead vocals, 11 was the lead keyboard etc.. I even labeled all of the cables such a quarter to quarter inc, rca, and anything that could be moved so that we could identify that that item belongs to the old side called The Family Centre or FC Sound

Now the frustration was not over.. now that I from Young Adults got things in order it was to keep the rest of the leaders and Pastors on Board.. this took a few months and by the end of the year each ministry was on board with what the setup was.. Now each week when I come in I just have to go over the stage setup (putting cables that were moved back into place, inventory etc..) I still have to make sure equipment is there but most times when I come in everything is there and now with the labels if the new sanctuary needs something it is easy to identify what belongs to us. I even label the stuff that belongs to the new side so we can make sure it goes back after a service.

But I am learning that each of the guys in the church that can do sound thinks that we should change something I listen sometimes they have something to teach me. I don't claim to be the best sound guy but I do claim to be organized and right on the ball. I am learning to listen, work with others and develop a team.. The saying goes two heads are better then 1 and some times 5 is better then 3. I love the size of my church because I have so many people I can call on and learn from. Praise God for the gifts he has given each of us. When you put them together you can have a great team focused on the same Goal "Sharing the Gospel With the World"

Be Blessed!

Visit These Great Websites
www.embassyonline.ca (Young Adults)
www.embassystudents.ca (JR & SR High)
www.theembassyofgod.com (Main Site)
www.embassyworship.com (Worship Teams)
www.durhamhop.com (Durham House of Prayer)