Ron Salomon is the chief technology officer at The Brooklyn Tabernacle, a multicultural, non-denominational church in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, New York. Denise Craig, the CEO of The Church Network (TCN), had an opportunity to talk with Ron about his recent experience at the TCN Annual Conference, as well as his experience as a church leader.
Denise: Ron, it was such an honor to meet you at The Church Network Conference. Thank you for coming and adding so much value to our leadership discussion at the pre-conference FastTrack! If I am not mistaken, it was your first time to attend the conference. What were your favorite parts of the conference, and what was the one thing you learned that you plan to carry with you for a long time?
Ron: Hi Denise, the conference was a wonderful experience, and across the board, we had a great time attending! The TCN family made us feel welcomed and the structure of the conference was well thought-out.
My favorite part of the conference by far was the Leadership FastTrack! There were some key nuggets of information that not only came from the presenters, but also insights from other church administrators describing their challenges and hurdles. The one thing that stood out to me the most was leadership through adversity. I observed, through the presentations and discussions, how the TCN leadership remained steadfast to their commitments throughout the COVID years which culminated into the conference we attended.
Denise: I noticed several individuals from your staff team attended conference with you. What was the value in having multiple people from your church attend together? Did they have any take-aways that were different than yours?
Ron: We wanted a broad cross-section of our directors and leaders to attend given the diversity of the tracks and sessions offered by TCN. Their takeaways were similar, however, given their respective disciplines (i. e., Facilities, Finance, HR, Risk & Administration) there were differing thoughts on their experience, of course. For some, the sessions were more of a review and for others, they picked up great nuggets to follow up on after the conference.
Denise: Your title at the Brooklyn Tabernacle is Chief Technology Officer. Tell me a bit more about your professional background, and how you ended up serving in ministry.
Ron: I am an IT professional with 25 years of experience, nearly ten of which, has been in ministry at The Brooklyn Tabernacle (BT). I have consulted on numerous technology disciplines and have expertise in many others. After IT consulting for small, medium and Fortune 100 organizations for 16 years, an opportunity arose at BT for an IT Director/CTO role which I learned about through our missions pastor. I was already doing IT consulting for BT at the time, and he asked me to consider stepping into the role. At first, my wife and I were very hesitant. However, after many months of prayer, I could not shake the calling and decided to leave the secular world and come onboard to the ministry.
Denise: What type of things do you oversee in your current role, and how does that help fuel the mission of the church?
Ron: I oversee a vast swath of technology disciplines at BT, including Networking, Security, Surveillance Systems, Cloud Hosting, Phone System, Access Control, SaaS applications, Member Database, Website, and Mobile App, to name a few. I believe strongly that technology is woven into every fabric of our society and its reach is never-ending. My goals are to ensure we utilize the best parts of any technology and leverage it for the kingdom work and to the glory of God! I think my LinkedIn profile says it best: “I have a passion for ministry and technology and currently enjoy where the two intersect!”
Denise: Technology changes at such a rapid pace. What advice would you have for our readers about how to keep up?
Ron: Great question! I believe for any church or organization, having great technology partners is essential! These partners should be willing to take time to understand your organizational culture and structure. Next, it is imperative, to help them identify your needs. Not every technology is a good fit for every organization, and what is in vogue in the secular world, may not be the right solution for your church or organization.
Denise: You have a beautiful family! How do you find a healthy balance between leading at church and spending quality time with family?
Ron: Thank you! My family certainly keeps me grounded and level-headed. They always remind me of what is truly important. They are certainly my first ministry. Work-life balance is a real thing. Often when you work and serve at church (my wife and I are deacons also), the lines can get blurred. I make it a rule to put guard rails around family time. There are hours during the day and week that are sacred. Whether it is family worship during our Tuesday night prayer meeting or Sunday services, those times are special. We make it a priority so that our daughters Emilie (5), and Amelia (3), will know, that these times are special and nothing else is as important.
Denise: Pastor Jim and Carol Cymbala have been at the Brooklyn Tabernacle for many years and have quite a ministry legacy. How does it feel to serve alongside them?
Ron: I count it a privilege to have been able to contribute anything that has served this ministry and the family of God. Working and serving at The Brooklyn Tabernacle has been the most rewarding experience of my life, outside of my wife, daughters, and relationship with the Lord! I thank God that He has allowed me to use whatever giftings or abilities that He has provided, to be used for his kingdom. I also, thank Pastor and Carol for the privilege of co-laboring with them.
Denise: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Ron: Thank you for your commitment, Denise and the TCN family, for all that you do. I think having TCN as a resource that church administrators can lean on is vital, especially in the day we live in. For many church leaders and administrators, The Church Network Annual Conference provides timely, and resourceful information that many churches, of varying sizes, can learn from and lean on. May God bless you! (Numbers 6:24-26)
Denise Craig, CCA
The Church Network
Chief Executive Officer