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Church: Stop Wasting God’s Money

Excellence in the Arts, Technology - by - August 17, 2009 - 17:15 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

I read this blog post (Church Planters: Stop Wasting God’s Money) by Bob Thune this morning and I can say I completely agree with him. Yet- I also feel there is more to it that applies to more than just church planters.  The people who make up the church often buy into marketing hype. They purchase goods and services they don’t really need.  This side of the story is just as wasteful and probably more prevalent in the church. A way that the church is wasteful of God’s money is being  CHEAP and STINGY, leading to purchase of cheap products that seem to, but never quite, meet the need. In addition the cheap stuff will not last and will end up costing much more in the long run.  I have seen this time and time again, especially when it comes to technology solutions.

Let’s consider an example to illustrate the point.  A new church plant is started.  They are meeting in a small space and can gather around to hear the sermon and the music just fine with no sound system, no amplification.

The church grows to 50 people and starts meeting in a middle school cafeteria. The people are more spread out and can’t hear the sermon so easily anymore.  There is also a new musician, a guitar player who brings his own little amp and drowns out those trying to lead the singing.  The church now needs a sound system. Music Instrument Shack sells karaoke and dj equipment, so the church goes there to buy a speaker, amplifier/mixer, mics, cables, etc, spending what seems to them a bunch of money.  This consumer/amateur sound system does a good job of making things loud– but not easy to hear.  The result in a multipurpose room with terrible acoustics? Everything will sound even worse.  The people can hear the pastor’s voice, but they cannot necessarily understand the words.

Eventually the church grows to the point they move to an even larger room, have a larger band, and now the equipment they purchased is not serving them well at all.  To make matters worse, it really is not expandable and is in bad condition because it was poorly built, cheap consumer goods.  This is shoved in a storage closet and another sound system is purchased at a much higher cost.  This second system works better, but no-one really understands how to run it, and it really has a lot more buttons and knobs than the church knows what to do with.

Another season of growth and a while later the church acquires a more permanent home. The portable system is installed in the building; something it was never designed to do.  Again the system is no longer meeting the needs of the church.  A salesman stops by and convinces the leadership that they need all new equipment.  They cycle continues, never really meeting the needs of the church.

How can this be avoided?  How can a church purchase equipment that will grow with them, be expandable, work in the church meeting spaces with the way the church functions?  How can the church plan on replacing equipment at the proper times and how long should the equipment last?

The answer is to carefully evaluate needs.  Proverbs 15:22 says “plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”  What advisors are the leaders consulting when making decisions about how to evaluate and fill technology needs?  Yes, evaluate the needs, the budget, the vision for the church’s future before making purchases; plan what is really needed.  This means seeking advice from someone who is more qualified and has better understanding and experience before spending money on goods or services.

There are many sources of good information. There are church networks such as austinTech.org. A member of the congregation may know something about mixing a live band. These are sources “free” advice and help. There are consultants or other professionals that may require payment, but these will work one-on-one with the church leaders to ensure the group’s interests are cared for and the true need is met.  Whatever counsel a church seeks, the process is to carefully evaluate needs and carefully plan for the future before purchasing anything.  In reality, a partner and a solution are the answer to the problem, not just a new piece of equipment. This can be the best stewardship of God’s money, helping the church minister and accomplish her purpose with excellence.

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