The modern church is becoming increasingly more dependent upon technology.
Whether it’s just a simple analog mixer for a children’s area or a full-blown computer-controlled audio, video and lighting system, one thing is for sure: Knowing WHAT you need is not nearly as important as knowing WHY you need it.
Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven philosophy is a powerful reminder that if we’re not careful, we’ll allow the tyranny of the urgent to drive all of our purchases.
Ultimately, A/V/L gear is only a means to an end; it is a tool to help us accomplish our ministry’s vision. Here are some suggested guidelines that will help you determine how to accurately budget for current and future needs:
1) Have a clear and concise understanding of your ministry’s vision. I like to ask the question “if we don’t do anything else, what must we do?” Pastors and elders usually have a clear direction of what they want the church to accomplish in your particular culture and geographical location. Knowing that vision will be a tremendous help to seeing it realized through the tech ministry.
2) Match equipment choices with your specific needs. If your ministry doesn’t require all the features of a particular piece of equipment, weigh the options. Don’t get captured by “it will do this, and this, and this!” from a salesperson. Features are great, but it’s best to only get the features you need.
For example, line array loudspeakers are all the rage in sound systems right now. Line arrays are great for the right room, but if your room doesn’t need them, then the rage might come from your congregation – mismatching a line array speaker system to a room can cause echoes, phase cancellation, comb filtering, decreased speech intelligibility and other unpleasant effects.
Another popular trend is digital consoles. They, too, are great tools, but only if you need their flexibility and have the budget for one.
3) Consider a full-systems approach. As excited as techs can get about a particular piece of equipment, piece-mealing a system can cost way more time, money, and effort that it should. Make sure you know what tools are needed to get the job done, both now and in the future.
Assess where you are and where you’re going, because being a good steward of your church’s resources may require a complete system upgrade or overhaul.