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Texas Church Saves Money, Gains Expertise with Higher Ground Partnership

Texas Church Saves Money

Orange Community Church typically averages about 350 people in attendance per week and runs a K-12 school. With about 50 staff for the church and school, the church counted on one person to manage most of the church’s IT needs. A few years back, that changed when its IT director took a new position. A retired IT consultant, Curtis Ponzio, pointed them to Higher Ground as a way to get the best support for their budget.

Technology problems cause breakdowns of functionality

Like many other organizations, the technology problem at Orange Community Church didn’t begin with the two-week notice given by its IT director, but it certainly didn’t help. The cost of technology and the personnel needed to administer it were growing. Plus, despite the costs, breakdowns were beginning to occur. 

When the IT director took a new position, the church had to make a change. Curtis Ponzio, a retired IT professional and a key tech volunteer at a sister church nearby, could help as a contractor. But he lived too far away and was retired. The church needed a more permanent solution.

But Curtis had an idea. 

Enter Higher Ground

Curtis’ church had a long-term relationship with Higher Ground, a managed services provider. He had always found it to be a great partnership that helped further the church’s mission.

Higher Ground, which is now part of ACS Technologies, has provided religious organizations and nonprofits with top-notch IT support for over two decades. This includes everything from consulting on hardware, VoIP phone systems, and networking to security and backups. 

Based upon Curtis’ recommendation, Orange Community Church partnered with Higher Ground. Today, Higher Ground provides ongoing support for most of the church’s tech needs including providing backups, ensuring the hardware is up-to-date, and managing the church’s firewall. 

The church still contracts with Curtis, but with Higher Ground’s assistance and support, he doesn’t need to be on-site all week. 

“I built up a relationship with the guys [at Higher Ground], I have confidence in their ability. I know they deal almost exclusively with churches. They are Christians. We share some of the same ideas and values. Building on that relationship and experience with them, I was confident enough in their abilities to handle or to recommend them by putting my name on the line and backing them.” – Curtis Ponzio, IT Consultant

Higher Ground provides continuity and saves money

Curtis says Orange Community Church’s partnership with Higher Ground will save them money in the long run. When he transitions out of his contract, the church will be able to hire a less senior consultant, such as a recently graduated tech professional, because Higher Ground manages the day-to-day tech needs.  

But the value of Higher Ground hasn’t just been about money. Curtis sees a bigger benefit. 

“I would say probably the number one reason for using managed services is continuity of operations. People come and go in the church—and they come and go with their skill sets, everything that comes with a relationship with a person. Some things get so wrapped up with one person, whether it’s time or the way the person runs the department, that when they leave, everything falls apart. So with a managed service, like Higher Ground, you have continuity no matter who’s there, how many, or how few. The network, or the computer part of the operations, stays the same.” – Curtis Ponzio, IT Consultant

Hiring a single individual or even a small team, he says, leaves a church vulnerable. No one person knows everything about all areas of church technology. With a managed tech solution like Higher Ground, you get experts from various fields. And if there’s an emergency on Sunday—the most important day of the week for most churches—the church has an entire team of people to leverage for help.

“It’s very hard to be up to date and up to speed on every section of the network, whether it’s the servers or the switches, or the firewall, you can know a lot about all those areas. But with a managed service [like Higher Ground], you have people who are extremely knowledgeable about every area of the network instead of just one.” – Curtis Ponzio, IT Consultant

Higher Ground helps churches like Orange Community focus on what it does best—reaching and discipling its community without unnecessary stresses about technology. 

To find out more about Higher Ground Managed IT Services, click here.

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