There are times when the perfect technology just isn't a good fit in a given setting.
For example, online collaboration instead of face-to-face dialogue when all of your collaborators share an office - bad idea. Using online collaboration tools to open up your church's ministries to more people outside the core team - great idea.
On the other hand, it is important not to let the fit of the technology take the blame when the issue is simply reluctance. Here are some questions - not an exhaustive list to be certain - to check yourself against.
- Will this technology allow us to do current ministries and administrative tasks more efficiently and effectively?
On 3/19 Kez wrote about Cute PDF. This tool could allow you to "print" your monthly newsletter in a .pdf format and get it to the web easily and without a lot of reworking. This technology has then allowed your church office to get information out to a broader audience with great efficiency.
- Will this technology help us better reach our target audience (who is our target audience)?
Most people are connected to and comfortable with the web. To not have some web presence is a lot like not bothering to list your church in the phonebook. This is a great and important way to reach people. However, if your target audience is very elderly or has little or no income to afford internet access, banking too much on your web presence wouldn't be a wise decision.
- Is resistance to a new technology valid? Is this more than a simple matter of "we've always done it that way"? Honestly?
A 3/27 posting featured the OpenOffice publishing suite. OpenOffice is just different enough from its more familiar competitors to make some people uncomfortable. This is likely to bring up a number of [trivial] reasons why you should buy new copies of MS Office. What is the motivation here? Is it that the tool really doesn't do what's needed or user reluctance?
- Does this technology enhance opportunities for the existing communities within your church? Does it make new communities possible? Does it break down an existing community?
And this returns us to the example I began with.