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Starting and Running a Computer Ministry


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Title: Starting and Running a Computer Ministry

Starting and Running a Computer Ministry
  • Andrew Sears
  • Liza Cagua
  • TechMission Boston
  • June 17, 2003

What is a Christian Community Computer Center?
  • Definition of Christian Community Computer
    Centers any ministry using computers as an
    outreach to serve the community
  • There are over 5,000 community computer centers
    in the US and over 1,000 of these are Christian
    centers and the vast majority have developed in
    the last 5 years
  • 700 of these centers have joined AC4
  • Range from ministries with less than 5 computers
    to ministries with over 50 computers
  • Computer centers have a physical space where they

Outreach Computer Ministries
  • Outreach Computer Ministry
  • Defined Outreach Computer ministries are teams
    of volunteers or staff that support community
    computer centers
  • Many churches can have Outreach Computer
    Ministries without having computer centers (good
    ratio is three computer ministries to one
    computer center)
  • Establishing Computer Ministries within churches
    provides a great opportunity for teens and adults
    to volunteer
  • Computer ministries do not require a physical
    space to operate in church (because they use
    other computer labs)
  • Great partnership opportunity for suburban and
    urban churches
  • Classes provide good opportunity for volunteers

Different Levels of Tech Programs
  • Computer Ministry
  • organize teams of volunteers to help existing
    computer centers
  • Level 1 Computer Center
  • Provide Tech Time in an after school or teen
  • Need 5-10 computers and Internet access (modem)
  • Level 2 Computer Center
  • Provide limited classes or teen business or job
  • Teens volunteer and/or work as tech staff
  • Need 10-15 computers and Internet access (DSL or
  • Level 3 Computer Center
  • Provide full Community computer center which may
    include walk-in access and advanced classes to
    local community and adults
  • Need full-time tech program staff

Computer Ministry Organizational Ideas
  • Ministry Leader (either staff or very committed
  • Leadership team/planning committee
  • Need highly committed people who see the vision
  • Need strategic thinkers who will lead
  • Instructors (if you are teaching classes)
  • Need significant expertise in subject matter
  • Primary responsibility for class falls on
  • Tech Professional in subject area who volunteers
    (or staff instructor)
  • Assistants who have demonstrated their commitment
    and expertise
  • Assistants/Mentors
  • Only need basic knowledge of subject matter
  • Many student can return following semester to
    assist and continue learning
  • Serve as instructor in training for new
    volunteers and provides ability to try it out to
    determine commitment level
  • Help reduce the student-teacher ratio (need at
    least 15)

Starting a Computer Ministry
  • Pray and talk with your pastor about the
  • You can contact AC4 to provide initial assistance
  • Make a low-key announcement in church, you are
    developing a planning committee for the ministry
  • Meet with partners and planning committee to
    determine general scope of ministry
  • Determine and plan details of ministry
  • Details of program (classes, after school
    tutoring, etc.), dates, marketing plan, launch
    date and initial meeting/training date
  • Make major announcement in church (get pastor to
    help sell it if possible) for the initial
    public meeting or training

Starting a Computer Center Things You Need
  • People staff support/volunteers
  • Technical support is a must
  • Can get work-study students from colleges for
    tech support
  • Understanding of community needs and ability to
    work with the community
  • Plan that includes a program focus
  • Space to house computers
  • Look for space in churches and Christian
  • Equipment computers, network, Internet
    connection, software
  • Advertising/marketing (unless only serving
    existing programs)
  • Money varies depending on your goals
  • Expertise and knowledge of computer centers
  • Gods support

Computer Ministry
Computer Center
Understanding Community Needs
  • Relational
  • Have close understanding of community needs
    because you are closely connected to the
    community relationally
  • Primary Research
  • Focus groups and surveys of community
  • Often are hard to do right
  • Secondary Research
  • See what others are doing thats working well in
    communities similar to yours
  • See what people are already doing in your
    community (some you may want to replicate and
    some you may try not to duplicate)
  • Market Testing
  • Market a range of services or classes and adjust
    program focus based on demand

Sample Tech Program Mission
  • To serve those in urban centers by providing
    community computer access and education needed
    for employment, spiritual development and to
    equip the Christian community to do the same.

Determining Program Focus
  • What are unique strengths of your ministry?
  • See Things You Need slide
  • What level and types of expertise and resources
    do you have?
  • What strengths can you develop through
  • Urban/suburban partnerships
  • What are the needs of the local community and
    those you are already serving?

To start your ministry, pick one or two areas to
focus on
Christian Community Computer Centers
Media Ministry
Sound Team
Business Ministries
Technology Ministries
Computer Ministry (outreach)
Arts/Graphics Ministry
Computer Ministry (internal)
Technology/ Business Luncheons
Online Evangelism
Student Development Plan
Program Areas
Student Advancement
Italics indicate a primarily youth-focused
Building a Spiritual Foundation
  • Different models
  • Some require Christian teaching material of all
  • Some use relational evangelism to develop
    relationships and encourage participation in
    spiritual development activities
  • Some separate Christian part from computer part
  • PREP uses a combination of the first two methods
    depending on which aspect of the program

TechMission Boston
What we offer, other stuff…
TechMission Boston
Suburban Churches (Computer Ministry)
Urban Churches (Computer Ministry)
Churches (Independent Volunteers)
  • Resources
  • Volunteers
  • Tech Expertise

  • Community Connection
  • Wealth of Experience
  • Physical Location

CTCs (in urban churches)
CTCs (Christian non-profit)
Other CTCs
Youth and Technology
After School Technology Time
  • Integrate computers with other activities in
    after school program
  • Black History Month, Scan in Art, Themes
  • Project based learning works best
  • Teaching software does not work without a goal
  • We split K-2nd grade and 3-7th grade
  • We use Jumpstart software with kids
  • Youth Tech Curriculum
  • Youth curriculum and resources at

After School Tech Curriculum Ideas
  • Greeting cards we use Microsoft Publisher
  • Research on the Internet
  • Searched for poets and their poetry
  • History of Hip Hop on the Internet. Present
    findings using PowerPoint
  • Poetry taught formatting in Microsoft Word by
    having students write their own poems and then
    type them into Word.
  • Students often need to compose poems before
    coming to computer
  • Encyclopedia Africana do a Scavenger Hunt
    through the time line portion
  • Calendars students scan in photos
  • Newsletter written, edited, and laid-out by the
  • E-mail accounts and their own web pages
  • Lego Mindstorm Robotics with programmable legos
    (300 per set)
  • Suggestions and curriculum ideas provided by Mary
    Pavan and Chris Tsang from PREP Computer Center

Teens PREP Enterprises, Youth Staff Volunteers
  • Youth Volunteers Duties
  • Assist with classes
  • Youth Staff Duties
  • Supervise walk-in center and fix computers
  • Assist with classes
  • Work in PREP Enterprises
  • Learn on the job and through self study
  • Discipleship all youth staff have regular time
    of discipleship and leadership training

Youth Run Web Design Business
Other Ideas for Youth
  • Computer Club
  • Meet for tech projects or field trips
  • Music Mixing
  • Hip Hop eJay (
  • Acid Music (
  • Youth Run Business
  • Web Design, Graphics Design, T-Shirts, etc.

Computer Classes
Ideas for Classes
  • Make a major effort initially to let the
    community know
  • This is needed to have many applicants at start
    of semester
  • We handed out 3,000 flyers table-tents on
    street, in schools, stores restaurants
  • Got mailing list of our community from Bostons
    Voter Registration Records and mailed to 10,000
  • Meals between classes can provide opportunities
    for relationship building
  • Project based classes work well, especially with
  • Teens and adults can work in same classes, but
    adults taking classes with younger children does
    not work
  • See list of classes elsewhere

Tips for Basic Computer Classes
  • Classes can easily be taught by volunteers
  • Get more advanced students to assist in classes
  • One instructor, 3-4 assistants and 20 students
  • LCD projector is very helpful can get for 1,100
  • Classes can be as little as once a week (good for
    most volunteers) with homework they do during
    walk-in lab period
  • Typing can be taught with minimal instruction
    using supervised, scheduled time with Mavis
    Beacon Teaches Typing
  • Curriculum/lesson plans available at

Office Track
Intro to Computers
Intro to the Internet
Overview of Computers
1. An arrow indicates a prerequisite of either
taking the class or good subject
knowledge. 2. Students are encouraged to take
other classes on this track in future semesters.
Multimedia/Advanced Track
Digital Music Studio
Computer Lab
Walk In Computer Center
  • Hours
  • 3-6 pm Monday and 3-7 Tuesday-Thursday
  • Lab Monitors for Assistance
  • What Can I Do?
  • Access the Internet
  • Homework
  • Use E-mail
  • Practice Typing
  • Mix Music
  • Work on Resume
  • Schedule One-to-one Training

Software Available
  • Encyclopedia Africana
  • Hip Hop eJay (music mixing)
  • Essence Virtual Makeover
  • Jumpstart Software
  • Visual Basic 6.0 (programming)
  • Photoshop 5.5 (graphics editing)
  • Illustrator 8.0 (computer art)
  • Access 97 2000 (database)
  • PowerPoint 97 2000 (Presentations)
  • Publisher 97 2000 (desktop publishing)
  • Outlook 97 2000 (E-mail scheduling)
  • FrontPage 2000 (web page editor)
  • Windows 95 98
  • Internet Explorer (web)
  • Microsoft Word 97 2000 (word processing)
  • Microsoft Excel 97 2000 (spreadsheets)
  • WS_FTP (FTP)
  • English Pro (ESL)

Software Available
  • Encyclopedia Africana
  • Hip Hop eJay (music mixing)
  • Essence Virtual Makeover
  • Jumpstart Software
  • Visual Basic 6.0 (programming)
  • Photoshop 5.5 (graphics editing)
  • Illustrator 8.0 (computer art)
  • Access 97 2000 (database)
  • PowerPoint 97 2000 (Presentations)
  • Publisher 97 2000 (desktop publishing)
  • Outlook 97 2000 (E-mail scheduling)
  • FrontPage 2000 (web page editor)
  • Windows 95 98
  • Internet Explorer (web)
  • Microsoft Word 97 2000 (word processing)
  • Microsoft Excel 97 2000 (spreadsheets)
  • WS_FTP (FTP)
  • English Pro (ESL)

Web Site Filtering Software
  • Filtering Service by Promise Keepers
  • 5.95 per month for existing DSL or cable modem
  • Filtered dial-up Internet access for 15.95
  • Filtering Server or Client Software
  • CleanWeb (
  • CyberPatrol (
  • Cybersitter (
  • CyberSnoop (
  • Net Nanny (
  • Net Shepherd (
  • Safesurf (
  • Watchdog (
  • We Blocker (free at
  • X-Stop (

Resources, Grants and Donations
Researching Grants
  • Associated Grantmakers of Massachusetts Grant
  • Provides free access to thousands of dollars of
    grant research materials and databases of grants
  • By far the best resource available in Boston for
    researching grants
  • (get directions on website)

Other Grants
  • CTCNET AmeriCorps/VISTA Grant
  • Provides full time staff positions for a year for
  • To apply must first pay 100 to join CTCNet
  • Have some restrictions on these staff leading
    religious services during paid time, but one of
    the most open govt programs toward faith-based
    groups, and you select the staff
  • Should open application process around Feb, 2001
  • Contact Peter Miller of CTCNet at
    or 617.287.7371 or visit
  • Get list of technology grants
  • Directory of Computer and High Technology Grants
    (53) from Research Grant Guides, Inc. (order on
  • HUD Neighborhood Networks Initiative will fund
    centers in housing projects (which Christian
    groups could run)

General Discounted Software
  • AC4 Discounted Software Info Page
  • Software to Serve Participants and Community
  • Get 30 most Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec products
  • At and at
  • Software for staff
  • Get copies of Microsoft Office XP Professional
    for 65
  • Order at

Getting Equipment
  • Make announcements in churches that you are
    looking for computer donations from individuals
    and companies
  • relational method works best
  • Suburban churches may have many people in
    companies with computers to donate
  • Specify minimum requirements and types of
  • TechMission Boston has some used computers
  • Beaumont Grant becoming available in Fall

Getting Equipment Software through
Gifts-in-Kind Compumentor
  • Register with Gifts in Kind International
  • Cost 125 and must be Non profit 501(c)(3) and
    use software for service to community
  • Cost 225 for 5 used computers 486 above
  • Network hubs for 50
  • Get copies of most major software for 30
    (Windows, Office 2000, Adobe products, etc)
  • Provide great discounts (90 off) on office
    products, projectors, clothes, etc.
  • Use Compumentor for software discounts
  • Most major software for only 30 and no
    registration fee

Computer Donations
  • Gifts in Kind International (
  • Cost 125 to register and must be Non profit
    501(c)(3) and use software for service to
  • Cost 225 for 5 used computers 486 above
  • Network hubs for 50
  • Provide great discounts (90 off) on office
    products, projectors, clothes, etc.
  • Computer Refurbishing
  • Accept computers along with clothes other
  • Have a minimal acceptance standard (I.e Pentium
    or above)
  • Request written agreement they are transfering
    software license with computer

Other Information Resources and Networks
  • Association of Christian Community Computer
  • E-mail List
  • Community Technology Centers Network
  • Good E-mail list and go to national conference
    each June
  • Provides Community Technology Center start up
  • Youth Learn
  • Provides manual and E-mail list for youth and
  • Compumentor
  • Provides technology information to non-profits
  • Visit HUDs Neighborhood Networks at
  • Adult Literacy E-mail Lists
  • NTIA Report Falling through the Net

Recruiting Volunteers
  • Announcements in Churches for Tech Volunteers
  • Computer Ministries
  • Computer ministries are teams of volunteers from
    churches or staff that support community computer
  • Online volunteer recruitment
  • Like online job posting for volunteers
  • No way to limit inquiries to Christians only
  • Register opportunities at,, and

Volunteer Training
  • Happens each semester and is required for
  • Three parts of training
  • Program Overview and Vision Setting
  • Explain what we do, and the motivation to build
  • Details of program and expectations of
  • Train the Trainer
  • Provides basics needed for teaching
  • Cross-Cultural Ministry Training
  • Required each semester for all volunteers
  • PREP/AC4 can provide volunteer training for other

Our Goals for Volunteers
  • Enable professionals and students from various
    fields to use their skills to serve and find more
    balance and meaning in what they do
  • Develop individuals who volunteer in the program
    by assisting their growth in computer skills,
    teaching skills, leadership skills and spiritual
  • Create a community of people to assist each other
    in finding balance, healing, their callings and
  • Assist racial reconciliation by partnering with
    suburban an urban churches of different cultures

Role of Assistants
  • Short description Assistants help show
    students where to point the mouse when they get
  • As the instructor leads students through an
    exercise watch to see who needs help
  • Help answer students questions as they are
    working through the class material and projects.
  • Develop relationships with students and other
    volunteers to help form community.
  • Encouraging students is as important or more
    important than teaching them

Responsibilities for Assistants
  • Assistants do not have to attend every class, but
    should work out a schedule with the instructor
    when they agree to be available.
  • Call instructor at least a week in advance if you
    cannot make your scheduled time
  • The goal is if at all possible that at least two
    or three assistants will be available each week
  • Assistants should be available for class at least
    10 minutes before class
  • Assistants should plan to stay at least 10
    minutes after class to discuss material for the
    next class

Responsibilities for Assistants
  • Assist Instructor with any duties as needed
  • Assistants can help with follow-up with the
    students and their parents. They are also
    encouraged to develop relationships with the
  • Assistants may prepare or assist in preparing
    some lessons as well as teaching lessons.
  • Attend PREP Meetings
  • Attend training once each semester
  • Attend student orientation and graduation to get
    to know students better
  • Help on a support team if interested

Responsibilities for Instructors
  • Responsible for all aspects of teaching and
    running a class including preparing most of the
  • Responsible for setting schedule of which
    assistants and other instructors with attend and
    teach when
  • Responsible for being at class at least 15-30
    minutes before start each week
  • Provides time to set up for class and deal with
    unexpected traffic (i.e. I-93)
  • If you must miss a class, instructors arrange for
    for another instructor or assistant to cover for
  • This is important to provide a consistent person
    who relates to the students. Because of this we
    ask that instructors dont miss more than a
    maximum two classes.

Responsibilities for Instructors
  • Responsible for foster community among assistants
    and with students
  • They should call students who have missed classes
    at mid-semester to see if they will stay in class
  • Attend PREP Computer Ministry Meetings
  • Attend training once each semester
  • Attend student orientation and graduation to get
    to know students better
  • Help on a support team if interested

Other Ways to Help
  • Be an Instructor for a class
  • Join Tech Support Team
  • Provide technical support, fixing setting up
    computers, installing hardware, while training
  • Join Hospitality Team
  • Help with lunches, parties, appearance of lab and
    parties to make PREP a welcoming, relational
  • Help with administration
  • Supervise walk-in computer center
  • Serve on Leadership Team
  • Help plan and run PREP overall