Managing a Spiritualist Center

Church Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Job Description
By:Tamara Warta

A church chief technology officer (CTO) job description can vary from place to place, but overall, a church CTO has a high level of responsibility as many religious organizations are dependent upon technology for everything from accounting to evangelism. Being responsible for such a large load can be daunting; however many have found success and happiness in such a position, bringing functionality to a religious group that makes a difference in the world.

Information Technology Responsibilities
First and foremost, a church CTO is responsible for the framework of the church's information technology set-up. He will run the server, work toward a proper security level that protects the confidentiality of both congregants' information and the church's financial information, as well as just creating a workable infrastructure that everyone from the secretary to senior pastor can use.

A CTO also does system support when something goes wrong and needs repairing, reconfiguring, or updating. Sometimes a CTO will pass these responsibilities onto an IT worker, but in small churches, the CTO may do these tasks himself. Computer programs that a church CTO will be responsible for either supervising or creating the personalization and installation include Servant Keeper, Church Windows, and Church Pro.

Management Responsibilities
Usually, a CTO will be manager over a team of IT workers, or the pastoral staff if they are responsible for basic maintenance issues. Management responsibilities also include alerting people with sufficient notice before running periodic updates or any other computer maintenance that may shut down the office network or make particular programs unusable for a period of time. As a manager of all things IT, the CTO will also be responsible for tracking and developing annual budgets for everything related to technology purchasing, staffing, and daily operations.

Managing a church is unique in the sense the CTO must not only be responsible for the standard technological side of things, but also the faith and heart of the employees and staff. Many churches mandate that workers believe in the message of the church, and a CTO should be able to hold those under her accountable to that through proper sensitivity to information on computers, restricting accessibility to the senior pastor's desktop, etc.

Relevancy and Networking Responsibilities
A final pivotal job of a church CTO is to routinely identify emerging technologies, and working them into the church infrastructure. A church's greatest resource for growth and evangelism is cutting-edge technology, but oftentimes a standard church staff is not advanced in their computer knowledge as a whole to achieve these relevancy goals. This being said, a CTO serves as a guide and teacher when it comes to bringing new programs and methods of communication into the forefront of ministry.

This may also involve partnering with important stakeholders to build a strong direction and future for the church's technology both within and outside of the church community.

Experience and Education
Most churches prefer a CTO to have at least 10 years of work experience, either inside or outside of a church setting. A college degree is also usually mandatory, and larger churches may require graduate work and/or regular seminar and conference training in the field. Some CTOs work their way up to this job through hands-on learning and experience, but in today's competitive job market, many are hired from other organizations or straight out of college, even though the church may not be commonly viewed as looking for a candidate with a very detailed resume.

Family Life and Integrity
Finally, a church CTO will usually be expected to be involved in the fellowship and worship of that particular church or a congregation that promotes a similar belief system. This is important when it comes to the integrity and morals of church life that comes into information technology--respecting confidentiality, upholding honest financial and security practices, etc. A church CTO worker will often be a member of that religious denomination himself, as this makes for a more relateable work environment, as well as the chance to serve in a capacity that he is passionate about.