Mobile – It’s Where We Are
Last week I tweeted that I was setting up the fourth laptop this year for our church, and only one of them was specifically for a staff member. That’s a big deal for a church our size, but it’s also a very good indication of where we are in terms of technology and ministry.
Our Children’s Director is using online games to teach scripture, so we purchased two laptops and set up learning stations in the Kids Room. I can’t think of a more effective way to get kids’ attention.
WiFi was extended to the Kids Room like this. I used Microsoft Family Safety Parental Controls to lock the laptops down so the kids can’t do much beyond play the select games. Google Chrome’s desktop shortcut to the games makes them appear to be software installed on the laptops. No address bar or tabs to temp unauthorized browsing.
The third non-staff laptop was for the Music Ministry. Our Worship Pastor decided to replace our keyboard that has been used for too many years and is on its last leg with computer based keyboard. A much less expensive keyboard is paired with a laptop running Ableton to produce the desired sounds. The keyboard, software, and laptop all cost less than the original keyboard and is much more flexible, portable, and easily updated.
None of these needs required powerful machines, and I did find a really good buy on HP laptops, all of which made this technology shift possible. We would have loved to have gotten Macs, but honestly, the three HPs cost less than one Mac.
We are definitely moving toward a more mobile technology approach. I’ve been using my own laptop and now iPad to connect to our digital sound board for a few years. We haven’t yet purchased an iPad for the church yet, but I see it coming. We are heavy into the setup of BVCMS church management system which features mobile check-in. By next year we may very well be taking all Sunday School class and other group attendance on iPhones and iPads.
This isn’t all about toys and using the latest and greatest. It’s about saving time and money and doing ministry for effectively. It’s where we are, and it’s exciting.