Can the cloud help ministries?

With the announcement of iCloud by Apple, cloud computing seems to have gone mainstream.  What was once a topic reserved for tech geeks and IT debates, is now being discussed by soccer moms and middle age men.  Cloud computing has been around for years but not until Apple announced it, did mainstream media truly embrace it.  It seems that when Steve Jobs says “it just works” then it’s easy enough for commoners to embrace it.

I was reading the following article and this was an interesting take on how iCloud’s real purpose is to kill windows.  Now I don’t necessarily agree with that but I do like the fact that iCloud now brings virtual office software to the forefront.  Google Docs has been around for quite a few years and is a great solution to online documents.  In my opinion, Google Docs is much better prepared to kill Microsoft Office than Apple iCloud, but with mainstream adoption, iCloud does open the conversation for the next generation’s Office software.

The strategy of Apple’s iCloud as well as Google Docs is that they are embraced by the younger generation.  Generation X, Y and I, have access to Google Docs via their google accounts as well as Google’s integration into schools/colleges by offering Google Apps for free.  Likewise, with over 100 million iOS devices being used by numerous young people, iCloud will be available to them on their devices and thus they will take full advantage.  Now, the best part of this strategy is that when you get the young adults and youth to embrace your technology, when they become adult workers, CEO’s and teachers, they will utilize and implement the technology they are comfortable with which will be Google and Apple technology.  

In terms of ministry, virtual office software can help ministries operate more efficiently by allowing them to conduct business anywhere.  If a ministry has a staff of 5 or 500, virtual office software allows them to have the infrastructure of a major corporation for a fraction of the costs.  Google Apps, iCloud and (online storage provider), lets a ministry have email, word processsing, spreadsheets, powerpoint, project management, contact management and a variety of other online software that can be accessed from any device (computer, laptop, tablet, phone) via the internet.  Now the ministry doesn’t have to be done from an office, but can be done anywhere.  If you add in skype video conferencing then you can actually have meetings online and each member can be anywhere in the world.  

I know this is alot to take in but we are in a time now where business is done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in the world and the ministry needs to be able to compete and operate as an efficient business and utilize these tools.  The best part about these tools is that about 10 years ago, a corporation would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have these tools and it would all be connected to an office.  A company today can get them for a few hundred dollars and they can access it from any internet connected device, so instead of the employees coming to a location to do business, the business comes to them.  And that is the premise of iChurch, to take ministry to the people where they are at using technology.