Advice to the Newly Ordained

It is that time of year where various blogs offer those entering ordained ministry various pieces of advice - spiritual and professional.

But I have some practical advice.

Buy a Decent Computer

If you are a Mac user then you will already get this. If you are not it might come as bit of a shock.

A laptop should be about £1000.
It is not unreasonable to spend twice that.

Still breathing. Good.

A decent desktop computer with a screen, quality keyboard and mouse should be about £1000. Again you can spend twice that.

And relax.

Plenty of people seem to update to the latest phone every 2 years, on a contract paying £50 a month, whilst struggling with a creaking PC which is not fit for purpose.

Laptop or desktop you will be staring at the screen and tapping the keyboard on a regular basis. Good quality keyboards and screens reduce work related strains and pains. A fast SSD and plenty of RAM will mean that when you start designing a flyer or a PowerPoint you won't be slowing to a crawl or crashing. And when you find yourself needing to edit a video ... you will actually be able to do it.

If you want a third device (like a tablet or Chromebook) then you should look at least £300. Cheap Tablets are in particular frustrating to use.

These devices will be vital for your work. Them being inadequate for the job will only make your work harder and more frustrating. Quality IT equipment tends to last longer too. You can spread the cost under depreciation on expenses over 4 or 5 years rather than 2 or 3.

Personally I budget £20 a month for IT hardware depreciation, which the PCC pay, assuming 50% personal use for all devices.

  • Intel i7 Desktop worth £1000 retail (I got a deal on ebay for far less).
  • Google Pixelbook worth £1000 retail (I got a deal on an open box from John Lewis).
  • Asus Chromebook Flip C101 worth £329 retail (I got a one day sale deal for less)

These tools are the most vital purchases in my ministry.

Back Up Everything to the Cloud

It doesn't matter what service you use.

I prefer Google Drive, and as a church we use their free charity provision for storage (and pay a small subscription for extra space). But I have always backed everything up to Drive, at times paying for space if needed.

Not only does this give peace of mind, but it allows you to use Google's excellent search technology to find that particular joke, sermon or file from 10 years ago that you can't quite remember the exact name of.

Disperse your email

If you are fortunate you will be given a parish email address. But even then you may well find the need to have three addresses. 

One for parish you would be happy to share a login with a Churchwarden or Parish Administrator if you fell off the steeple and were off work for 6 months. And this means you can turn off notifications on your day off.

One for professional work in the wider church that you would not want to share with anyone in the Parish. Like when you apply for another job.

One for personal, even if it is just for bills and accounts, that you might share login details with a spouse or close friend in case that fall from the steeple has a rather more permanent effect.

Keep your emails on a server. Do not delete them. Archive them. Because you never know when you might need to look back to a previous email with the Diocesan Safeguarding team.

Manage your social media.


However careful you are with social media never say anything on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere you would not say from the pulpit with the Bishop and Archdeacon present whilst being filmed for Songs of Praise. 

Unless you are in a private group - but even these have a habit of leaking. And you never know when that person you had a misunderstanding with over the doctrine of trinity in Vicar Sharing Space of Facebook ends up interviewing you for a role as Bishop of Rockall. 

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