Free Church Information Systems Policy

BOTTOM LINE: IT Governance starts with relationships and is supported by good policy.

IT Governance is an area of practice that many CIOs in for-profit businesses struggle to get movement on. This may be because when pushed up against a deadline, most staff just want to get things done and forget the “arbitrary rules” they don’t understand the benefit of. In some ways, this is our American culture pushing us to conquer our enemy with whatever method is necessary so long as it isn’t illegal or immoral.

Recognizing that most ministries have no less pressure to perform than what is found in enterprises, I pondered if it is even practical to request staff to live within boundaries which are hard to define and harder to nicely, kindly enforce. After all, most executive staffs do not even understand the legal and security risk of not governing IT well. None the less, the world of IS is chaos without direction and management.

What I knew from the beginning was that we couldn’t create respect by waving a thick policy around and carrying a large stick. Church IT Governance has to look a lot more like relationships than yet another religion, so I did my best to prepare our staff for the rules by building trust and respect in my first six months here. Then, we rolled out this Information Systems Policy (PDF) as a section within our larger Employee Handbook.

Feel free to download it and use whatever is applicable to your context. I wrote about 40% of this, took 20% from another church (they offered), and the remaining 40% is a remnant of what was here before I arrived. Our HR Director also provided editing services. One of our goals was to make it as brief as possible without sounding harsh. Hopefully we struck a balance, but I would love feedback and comments on how we did.

Tony Dye also made The Perimeter Church generic manual available for download a few years back and it seems to be a bit more conversational.

Posted in Best Practice, Network Management, Production & Maintenance, Security, Strategy & Planning, Writing
3 comments on “Free Church Information Systems Policy
  1. Jim Walton says:

    Thanks Jason! I think I will definitely be stealing…..errr i mean borrowing from this document to make my own. I had kinda started something like this but not nearly this developed. Where I am, we have nothing like this at all, so this will be a new thing.


  2. Jason says:

    Thanks Jim. Be sure and let me know how it was received. Where I am, they were used to IT having a heavy fist, which has been a blessing and curse all at the same time. Have had to tread carefully to build trust while instituting more best practices. If any one else has good or bad stories about what they have done in their church, please feel free to post them.

  3. Excellent and useful post Jason! I used to have someone that worked here that was very opposed to policies and thought ministries “should be free”. Getting this guy to understand that there needed to be IT policies was a tough task. He just did not see the need for policies. I wonder if he ever came around in his new job?

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