Looking for feedback about how your churches handle reimbursement for BYOD devices, particularly mobile phones


(Joel Charters) #1

Do you cover the whole bill, offer a fixed stipend, or cover a percentage of usage? Looking for any ideas on policies related to BYOD devices. Didn’t really come up with anything while searching the forum… apologies if it has been addressed previously.


(Jeremy Hoff) #2

In our case…
We discourage people buying their own devices to use for church purposes… if they need it, the church purchases it. We don’t prevent people from using their own devices, but depending on the device we have policies that cover security issues.

In the cases where the need is determined, such as tablets, laptops, or cell phones, we purchase 100% or reimburse for the device. Should the individual’s employment be terminated before the device is fully depreciated, we’ll put the remaining balance on their paycheck as noncash compensation so that we’re square with the government. It’s highly unusual for us to want to keep those kinds of devices and pass them onto another employee.

Hope that helps,

Jeremy Hoff
Shepherd Church
(818) 831-9333


(Royce Tanouye) #3

iPhones are basically our primary communication tool for staff so we have asked our staff to purchase their own device and we pay for the service. They can choose whichever device they wish and are allowed to keep both personal and church emails/texts on the same device. Most prefer this rather than carrying around two phones. AT&T gives us a bit of a deal on the phones but not much. The staff can upgrade any time but we basically work around a 2-year life cycle. Because we don’t own the devices it is tricky to use device management software such as MAS360. Fortunately, we have only 30 phones to manage and not hundreds.

Hope this helps somewhat…


(Nick B Nicholaou) #4

Here are two articles I have written on BYOD:

I also wrote about it in my book, including a quote from a large church that does it.


(Mark Simmons) #5

Our approach is the same as Jeremy’s and we share Royces’ concern/comment about device management getting tricky when it’s an employee owned device. We do have a fair amount of staff that would like their smartphone on the church network. In most cases, that has been solved through our public WiFi. So far they are primarily looking to get work mail, and we have a cloud-based solution.

I’m seeing a trend for more and more staff to want to connect their smartphones to our secure network, primarily to access printers behind the firewall. When we do that I have a place in my database to indicate that was done. When they leave the employ of the church we remove the passcode from the device.

I also got a kick re-reading Nick’s articles which were written in 2012-13. Back then, ‘the experts’ were predicting BYOD would basically take over the industry in 2-3 years. Didn’t quite turn out that way. But Nick’s considerations and policy thoughts are just as relevant today as they were 5 years ago.


(Isaac Johnson) #6

I had a couple clients back around then who thought it would be the wave of the future and expected to implement it completely across the board for all computing and communication. Through the power of fervent IT prayers, none of them have actually done it. Good thing, the less standardization, the more IT costs in man hours and loss of scalability.

That being said, I have seen handphone policies that run the gamut. Most seem to provide a fixed stipend, but some pay outright. Given regional and congregation differences, I would actually approach it a bit from the perspective of “what is the median BYOD benefit that our congregants receive?” It’s not unlike how you would establish pastoral salaries.


(Joel Charters) #7

Thanks folks. I really appreciate the feedback!

Joel