A few weeks ago, Tim Cool from Visioneering posted a thought-provoking post of the same name (The Cost Of Getting It Wrong).
It’s very good, and I suggest you go read the whole thing. He asks several questions related to staffing, building and designing.
As I thought about what he wrote, one particular question resonated with me:
What will it cost to have the wrong audio and acoustics in your worship center? Again, this is not just the cost to fix the issue, but the frustration quotient and emotional capital. What are they worth?
This is one of the things I see churches missing regularly. How many churches have to build multi-million dollar buildings that sound terrible because they didn’t want to spend $20,000 on an acoustician? How many churches have to install hundreds of thousands of AVL gear that doesn’t work properly because they didn’t want to spend any money on design?
As someone who’s mission in life seems to be helping churches undo the bad tech decisions they’ve made (I’m sort of like a Mike Holmes of the church world), I can tell you the cost of getting it wrong is pretty high.
In my current church, for example, I’ve spent the last three years pulling out tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment that wasn’t thought through, and thus didn’t work. And of course, in addition to shelving all that old gear, we’ve had to spend money to buy new stuff.
It’s easy to see how churches fall into this trap. Most times, senior leadership has no idea how any of that AVL technology works, so they rely on either their staff—if they have them—or well-meaning volunteers when they have needs in the tech department. One of three things usually happen at this point.
First Possibility: The staff or volunteers don’t know what they’re doing and ask for the budget to hire someone who does. Money is tight, so that request is denied, with the comment, “Just find a good deal and make it work.”
Second Possibility: The staff or volunteers don’t know what they are doing but don’t want anyone to know that, so they just try to figure it out. With the knowledge that money is tight, they look for a great deal and try to make it work.