Creative Leadership

People are More Valuable Than Technology

I was reading in 2 Kings 12:13-15: “The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the Lord; it was paid to the workmen, who used it to repair the temple. They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.” It’s interesting that the writer actually noted that the workman were important. Their skill had value that was worth paying before anything else was paid.

But in today’s churches, ministries, and nonprofits, leaders are happy to pay for technology and equipment first, and then pay employees just above the poverty line.

Listen to this carefully:  I’d rather have top quality people and below level equipment, than state of the art equipment and below level people. People drive creativity, innovation, and success. Bells and whistles are nice, but I’ve seen too many clients over the years who spent all their money on great equipment, but refused to pay qualified people to run it.

Without great people, even the best equipment becomes a boat anchor.  So to see results, invest in really talented and dedicated people first – then look at your equipment needs later.

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11 Comments

  1. Right on the money Phil. When our new youth pastor, actually before he started, we met for lunch often (he worked at a local credit union). I told him over and over “people are more important than programs.” he still hears that from me. People are also more important than media & technology.

  2. I’m guessing churches that don’t invest well in either category need a separate letter? It’s sad that some church leadership cultures will use either side of this issue to justify their current position. How wonderful to embrace the genius of “and” to release vision and purpose driven prioritized budgets in a healthy way for both the people and the best tools needed to get the job done.

    1. In my experience, they usually fall on the ‘invest in equipment, not people” category. They’ll buy state of the art equipment, but have no one who knows how to operate it… 🙂

        1. Good luck Tom. That’s a real tenuous position to be in for both yourself and your company. Who takes over when you’re not there; do you ever get to not be there? Why aren’t you training someone? Why isn’t your company providing you with people? It’s a big risk to be putting your company in, and I hope they’re paying you really well. From my experience, being the pin is no way to have a life, and there’s rarely a happy ending.

      1. Investing in equipment (in the manner we are discussing) is a low-effort behavior because machines are rarely unruly, seldom cause a divergence of vision, and require no meaningful relationship. It’s an easy out when you can automate instead of include people.

  3. Liking, unliking, liking again, sharing, and having it tattooed on my forehead so everyone I talk to will have to read it. Soooo true. Great word, Phil.

  4. Oooooh the book I could write from personal experience on this topic.
    For those who have ears to hear…
    Great post!

  5. This concept also played out in the business world. As a consultant I would see more money poured into the technology but no training for the employees. The the software never works the way they intended because money was put into the wrong place.

  6. I agree with you and i believed it that obviously are more important than technology. But we remember it that technology makes our life so more easy and enjoyable.

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