Updating with the team
1. Have a Plan
- This is the most important step, discussing the church vision and plan for at least 5 years will determine whether or not you even need to upgrade at all. Figuring out a minimum 5 year plan will also help to streamline what needs to change, what gear needs to be purchased and what existing gear can be repurposed.
- Figuring out the 5 year plan involves working very closely with the leadership of the church. The leadership will have a much broader perspective of the state of the church. Our role in the technical ministry tends to lead itself to the myopic view of “we always need to upgrade.” Having the perspective of the leadership will help us to see what is really important to the life of the church community.
- The churches I’ve worked with this year have been very good about know their plan. A small church just needed to start getting their message online. They chose to use zoom for the 35 members could communicate and spend time talking to each other before the service started. All they needed was 2 budget cameras, a video switcher, and all the cables. A church of 500 people had their plan laid out for 3-4 years including what gear to buy every year. They just wanted my opinion on if the gear chosen would fit their needs. The largest church I’m working with currently is looking at a total upgrade with a budget of over a quarter of a million dollars. Working with them and talking through their plan has been a much longer but much needed process. We have all learned a lot through that.
- Having a plan will also help to determine the priority order of the gear needed. Which is needed first? It is sound? Lighting? Projection? Cameras? Video switcher? Maybe even a new employee to make it all happen?
2. Have and Know your Budget
- This is so crucial, and varies so much for each church. I’ve worked with a budget of $3000, $50,000 and up to $250,000, and that’s just since March of this year. Even with this massive range of budgets its been crucial for each church to stay within that budget.
- Having a budget comes directly from the church leadership. They have been entrusted to be good stewards of what God has given the church, we need to do the same with what the leadership will give us. Lots of times what the leadership gives us to work with we will think is insufficient, when that happens we really need to understand they have the perspective of what is best for the church. Sometimes leadership can surprise us and give us a budget that far exceeds what we thought. When that happens we need to know that they have taken the technical ministries very seriously and think the upgrade is very important.
3. Researching the Gear
- Knowing your budget will help you streamline the research of the gear. You won’t waste time researching the Rivage system when your budget is $3000. You’ll stick to the TF line and figure how to make that fit. With $250,000 you can research a PM5 for your FOH position and a PM3 for the broadcast room.
- When working within the budget we need to do our best to purchase the best gear we can and stay in the budget.
- After working through the plan, the task is to make sure every piece of gear you purchase needs to fit in and work with the plan.
I have been surprised with the amount of churches upgrading and thinking through what church looks like. Ultimately the goal is to meet together and worship together, so churches now are taking this time to make sure they have the proper integrated systems installed to make that experience the best it can be for their church. I’m very thankful for the opportunities to talk with many church and witness the different versions of church that exist. With all the different styles of worship out there, I’ve come to the conclusion that sound is of utmost importance in all them. The pastor needs to be heard, the worship directors need to be heard. They need to be heard whether there are people in the building or if the church community is listening at home. I feel our roles in the technical ministry have never been more important.