Archive for the 'church it' Category

Published by Brian Slezak on 07 Oct 2009

RefreshCache Reflections

This week I had the honor to attend RefreshCache, the first annual Arena developers meeting. It inspired me to post on my blog after a long, long hiatus.

Having the opportunity to interact with some of the most talented and God loving software developers and thinkers is beyond words. The event was inspiring in of itself, but there were some great highlights.

I was inspired by the hospitality of Nick Airdo and his family, and Nick’s leadership. Nick talked me into staying at his place rather than holing up in a nearby hotel, and I was blessed by that. Nick’s leadership within the Arena community impacts people deeper than he realizes, and we are all thankful for the spirit and energy he brings.

I was inspired by Jon Edmiston and the vision he brings to community software development. His gifts as a visionary are a blessing to this band of developers, and I wait in anticipation for the fruits the upcoming projects will produce.

I was inspired by each individual that attended, and by the sheer fact that God has stationed every one of us in this particular community, and with individual skills that combine to create something greater than each of us.

It was impossible not to take away a great deal more knowledge than one came with. One can not replace the power of physical presence and person-to-person interaction and learning. The off-the-cuff topics that spiral into deep learning opportunies are highly valuable. I enjoyed the ability to commiserate with my peers about common frustrations, as well as celebrate in successes. This was invaluable.

I am thankful for the blessing and direction God has provided in my life, for how He has brought me across a path to this place, gifting me uniquely in the circles I now find myself.

I am thankful for the Arena developer community.

Published by Brian Slezak on 07 Mar 2009

Online Church Fear

I’ve become very bad about reading anything, but Clif put up a post that sparked my interest and it actually sparked a post of my own. I read some of the other posts Clif linked to, and I recognized some old rhetoric applied to a new subject. The new subject is online communities, with the old rhetoric being how destructive “online church” could be to Christian community.

The old rhetoric, believe it or not, was aimed at sermons available via on-demand audio and video. I read posts and heard conversations about how this enabled people to sit at home and watch the sermons rather than “going to church!” People were essentially asking, “What if people stop coming to church,” or to freshen this question, “What if people stop having a full and authentic Christian life?”

Mutant Sub-ChristianMy opinion is that this thinking is founded in fear. Fear that providing a church experience consumed while sitting at home will create some new sub-human mutant race of almost-Christians with hideous skin quality and large eyes adapted to viewing 320×200 video in low light who sit around in tattered underwear. Aaaaahhh!

I am certain that just as many people were fearful of projectors in the sanctuary and on demand audio streams as are now fearful of churches providing fuller online experiences.

So what have churches learned from providing sermons online? I can tell you that Resurrection has found that it reaches people in ways no one could have ever imagined. People around the world, not just in the nearby state, are able to connect to a Christian message and find the narrow path, some for the first time. I wish I could post the hundreds of positive, uplifting thanks we have received by providing this service.

I will suggest that if you are out there discussing the negative ramifications of providing church experiences online, you must recognize that you can not imagine all the amazing and powerful ways God may use that experience.

Acts 5:38-39 – “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these people alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these people; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

I admit that fear aside, the remaining question needing an answer is whether an authentic community born and maintained solely online can be a theologically grounded authentic Christian community. If inauthentic online Christian communities could exist, should we be paralyzed with fear that they might happen? Can’t they be horribly inauthentic offline as well?? What might also happen is that God uses those experiences in profound ways that we could have never imagined. Do this for godly purposes, not human purposes. Leave the imaginary sub-human mutant Christians behind and hand it over to God to throw down or lift up.

Published by Brian Slezak on 16 Jan 2009

Steal-Proofing IT Stuff

Steal-proof Cable

Steal-proof Cable

Ok, I have to brag on my co-worker a bit, because I can’t get him to blog on this himself. This morning I came in to find one of extra long networking cables outside our office door. How did you get that returned, you may ask? Why did it not walk away, but get returned outside your office door? Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Let’s break down how Jeremy steal-proofed this girly bad boy. 1. He used a displeasing color. Few people look at a nearly flourescent pink cable and think, “Oh I gotta have that.” 2. He terminated the ends with jacks, not plugs. Looking at it, the novice would surmise that won’t work for them. 3. He finished the cable with ridiculously short jumpers, which no one in their right mind really needs. “Ooo, that would work perfect for my … nothing?”

Evil Genius at Work

Evil Genius at Work

Published by Brian Slezak on 12 Jun 2008

How to Score the Church IT Job

Catching up some reading, I came across Jim’s post about God leading him in his life right now. I decided to give my own advice on scoring the Church IT job:

  1. Know what you’re getting into
  2. Just be yourself through the entire process
  3. Hand it over to God

Nearly 7 years ago from now, I was chosen for an entry level IT position at Church of the Resurrection. I was at the end of my rope. I was 2 weeks away from packing my vehicle and driving home to live in the parents basement because the .com bubble popped, the IT industry crashed, no one was hiring, and I had no money left.

I honestly walked into the interviews at Resurrection not caring what happened, or what they thought. I wasn’t going to try to wow them or try too hard, I had decided I was just going to be me and nothing else. That was either good enough, or it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong though; I was in good spirits, and laughed and enjoyed the process. I did not sit there yawning and scratching my backside. I simply wasn’t concerned about whether I was the one or not, because I had already handed everything in my life over to God.

I was later told, after being hired, that I was by far the best interviewee of that position. …. :o I remember thinking, “That’s funny, because at that point I could not have cared less about that!” Simply stated, I attribute this to my second and third point above.

So FWIW, that’s my advice, good and bad. Point number one from above is important, and I listed it first because nearly 7 years ago … I wish I had been better informed. Hahah! I still would have taken the job, but it would have saved me from the great mental anguish of learning the hard way!

Published by Brian Slezak on 09 Oct 2007

The Ministry of Information Technology?

One of the topics that permeated both the Spring and Fall CITRT (Church IT RoundTable) events was whether Information Technology in the church is a ministry. For some, the answer to that was simply yes, while many seemed unsure, and a few others said no.

As I typed this post, I was sitting in a Q&A session with my boss, Clif Guy, and his boss, Brent Messick. Brent is the executive director over operations, one of two executive directors at Resurrection. We were there with a group of interested guests, who were visiting in connection with Leadership Institute, a leadership event Resurrection holds annually. Without my prompting, this topic came up! Brent mentioned that some people have asked if he considers operations a ministry. Brent restated his answer to us, “It is a ministry. Absolutely. I say that unabashedly!” He marked some obvious points of contact such as guest services or finance.

Here’s how I’ve thought about it. If work roles that support ministry are inherently ministry, such as information technology roles, then where does ministry stop? Are the vendors who sell us equipment and supplies performing ministry? Without vendors we couldn’t perform ministries the same way right? Banks. Are banks performing ministry when they assist finance to get invoices and salaries paid? Is supporting ministry inherently ministry too? Or is work a ministry only when it directly impacts the lives of people, such as discipleship and service? It seems to come down to the interpretation of ministry and where you draw the line.