So, I have been discussing my experience at a local church and how their digital strategy has developed over the years since my transfer. I am happy that they are willing to share their story for your benefit.
We got hacked 3 times and all 3 times were avoidable. Chances are you are as vulnerable as we were. Here’s why (and how to fix it).
As mentioned, being a traditional church is great in many ways (family, food and friendliness) but lags in others.
One of the weaker areas is usually ‘soft technology’. That is, the technology that you can not see, feel, or touch. For example, your digital strategy – social media, website,etc. And as such, people usually don’t pay attention to what happens to their soft technologies until disaster strikes.
During a disaster, Instinct 1 is to shut down whatever is problematic and focus on more important local matters. Instinct 2 is to ignore the situation. Since it is not a main focus, there’s no rush. Perhaps send an email to the volunteer to see what they can do.
Both plans are bad and their results are avoidable.
I get it! The issue is that churches have limited resources and need to spend time and money on things that are going to meet the goals set forward. The question is always, are your goals aligned with the reality of the people you are trying to reach? If they are, then digital should be very very high on your list.
Frankly, my local church website was hacked 3 times after having that same website sit for years without attention. The result? Members weren’t able to pay tithes online for a limited time. Others saw images they weren’t supposed to see on a church website, and many others were redirected to make purchases of viagra.
It’s the very same effect of letting a nice, expensive Victorian-styled home built in 1960s, just sit for 10 years without care. The neglected home will start with self-deterioration but this will be escalated over time when “hackers” realize no one is at home, the lights are off, and the security alarm disabled.
My church got hacked before I took control, but chances are your church isn’t safe either. Here’s a blog I wrote on how you are probably vulnerable, and how to fix it.