I’ve realised something: being technology astute is not optional anymore.
For many of us, technology can be uncomfortable. It is new and unknown. But now, I’m adapting because of a recent experience.
The other day, I had some “intense fellowship” with a couple other Prison Fellowship International leaders over the use of technology in a new work we’re doing with Prison Fellowship Germany. I tried to make my point based more on what my gut was “feeling.” But they kept saying the data did not support what I was feeling. “We need to base our decisions on concrete data,” they said. This continued for over an hour until we were all frustrated.
The next day, I realised both sides were right!
I recognised collecting the data my colleagues wanted would greatly benefit the ministry. And I saw the key to good decision-making for leaders is to evaluate the available information (the data collected by technology) and combine it with our experiences and instincts. We need both.
Information technology is causing an ongoing transformation in the nonprofit sector. It affects every aspect of how we do ministry—from fundraising, to our communications with volunteers, to making informed decisions, to how we deliver transformational programming to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and the children of prisoners.
Thanks to this experience, I have two simple pieces of advice for those who, like me, struggle with technology:
- Embrace technology.
Instead of letting the fear of it hold you back. Start slow—one step at a time, one programme at a time. Keep your eye on the goal by anticipating how much lighter your workload will be when you’ve integrated the appropriate technology for
your current needs.
- Recruit the experienced.
Find people who know what they are doing and empower them to come alongside you. It’s perfectly fine to know your limitations and lean on others to help you. Be intentional about learning what these experts show you. Grow in your knowledge and experience so you can be an even more effective leader. As Proverbs 15:22 (NIV) says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”
Even though technology may be something some of us “just don’t get,” we absolutely need it. And ignoring that fact will only hinder the great work that God can do through each of our ministries.