The Christmas Prep IT Top 3

Christmas is a busy time of year, and sometimes it can be doubly so for churches. Then, like many organisation, January is often the quietest time with many smaller church offices being completely closed. This provides both challenges and opportunities for you as the IT/Tech guy/girl/team, here’s my top 3 to-dos…

1 – Update your church’s website

If you haven’t already got a page up about your Christmas service times, or any special Christmas events you are hosting, NOW is the time to get that online. If you are not already, use social media (through your congregation and beyond) to publicise it. Want some inspiration? Check out this post from Steve Fogg: 17 Best Church Christmas Websites

If your CMS (content management system) has the ability to schedule content, make use of it. Schedule any changes you have to service times or special services/events so that visitors to your site will always get the correct information.

2 – Check your backups

As I said, Christmas can be a very very time of year around a church office. Make sure your backups are running completely and successfully. Your pastor(s) are no doubt working hard on messages for Christmas eve, Christmas Day, New Years, and regular Sundays, whilst lining up a preaching roster for January so he/she can take some summer holidays. Now is not the time to say sorry because something was not backeduped.

Moving past Christmas into January, you can also take advantage of the lull in activity to do some DR testing. Do some test restores and maybe rejig or do some maintenance on your backup jobs.

3 – Preventative maintenance

You might be thinking that I’m going to suggest that you use the post-Christmas lull as a perfect time to do some PM, and you are right, it would be a perfect time and you definitely should, however you should also do some right now this week. I don’t know about your church, but at my church the best time to do this is early in the week as the closer it gets to the weekend things get busier. You are going to be asking a lot of your hardware over the Christmas period, especially if your church is running any special events. Make a list of some critical equipment and what needs to be done to keep it in top notch running condition…

EG.

Equipment To do
PCs for song words/graphics/video
  • Check/clean dust in cooling vents/fans
  • Check/clean-up free disk space
  • Check all cables and connections
  • Make sure software patches are up-to-date and that all applications are performing as expected
  • Uninstall any extra software (you know what I’m talking about)
Video projectors and TVs
  • Replace bulbs (even if not ready for replacement. Better that they not burnout during Christmas. Replaced bulbs can be kept and reused if they still have hours left
  • Check/clean cooling vents and fans
  • Check all cables and connections
General PCs
(Other PCs used on Sundays. EG. Cafe/bookshop POS, kids church check-in)
  • Check/clean-up free disk space
  • Check all cables and connections
  • Make sure software patches are up-to-date and that all applications are performing as expected
  • Uninstall any extra software
Internet
(some churches rely on Internet on Sundays for their ChMS, service planning software, or processing EFTPOS transactions)
  • If you have a backup/failover  connection, test it.
  • Check the account is paid and up-to-date
  • Resolve any outstanding issues
  • Check all cables and connections

I’m sure there are other things that are unique to your church/environment, but what ever they are, make that list and get it done today, or tommorrow, but definitly before Wednesday so there’s time to fix anything else that crops up between then and Sunday.

If you have any other Christmas to-dos, share them in the comments below.

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