Statham, member of Prince of Peace, Johnsonville, and the Worship and
Spirituality Ministry Team
(Part 1 of 2 articles;
look for Part 2 in the October issue of Partners in the Spirit)
So you’re thinking
about setting up a computer room to use with your Sunday school?
At first look, this
is not a bad idea. Children today are familiar with using personal
computers (PCs) and there are some great multimedia
that can excite the students into learning their lessons. But be
careful — there
are pitfalls along the way.
The first task is
to find a room that can be locked and that has permanent walls.
The second task is
getting the PCs. Most churches decide to ask the congregation to make
donations of their old PCs. While
this is the
to start, many of the best Sunday school programs require a
PC with at least 400 Megahertz (MHz) operating speed, 64 megabytes
memory (RAM), a CD-ROM player, 16 megabytes of video RAM, and
a sound card. Many of the PCs that will be donated will not
all of these
specifications. Don’t be afraid to turn down a computer
if it is too old.
will be purchasing the operating system (OS). While the donated PCs
will no doubt come with an operating
installed, you will want all your PCs to have the same operating
system so they
are easier to support and maintain. We chose to load Windows
98 Second Edition on all our Sunday school computers. This
However, the most
important requirement is a technical person who will maintain and upgrade
the PCs of your Sunday school.
get will need to have the new operating system installed,
needed hardware added, Sunday school programs installed,
and the PCs
if something goes wrong (remember, no lesson can be learned
on a broken PC).
This is not a job
everybody can do. Ideally, a congregational member who is a computer
professional will volunteer
to do it, but that
is not always possible. Make every effort to find this
kind of technical person
in-house, because it will cost at least $50 an hour if
you have to pay an outside person. Many churches will
to pay for
the hardware upgrades that will be needed. Our church
has spent over $1,500 for hardware over a two-year period to
You can save money
by putting off purchases of printers (which we have done) and not getting
an Internet connection
the Sunday school. Our
PCs only run software from the company/website, http://www.sundaysoftware.com.
We have invested about $500 in software for the students
and are very careful in checking what hardware specifications
to run new
software we are considering. This helps us keep costs
and upgrades down to a minimum.
Our church currently
has eight PCs for the Sunday school students to use. Not all of them
can run all the
software we’ve purchased but
most of them can. We’re proud we can offer
the students another method of learning. However,
before you start working on your own computer
room, make sure you have some dedicated (and technically
capable) volunteers to get and keep it up and running.
Want to learn more?
Contact Cheryl Statham
at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, PO Box 69, Bangor PA