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4 Points to Consider Before Getting New Equipment

Stewardship, Technology - by - February 23, 2011 - 01:54 Etc/GMT+5 - Be first to Comment!

During our last move we left behind a spotlight that had been used for a college touring choir since 1976. It was a used donation when they got it, and it was still being used for special productions in a technologically geriatric setting [stored under risers and used once a year] at a large Baptist church. In finance circles, there has long been a mantra that leasing is not good stewardship. People want to own homes, not lease, to build equity. Buying a car, not leasing, is said to be less expensive in the long run. So why would I promote leasing equipment? You do want to purchase the durable workhorse whose technology remains steady- predictable and reliable. Things susceptible to needing upgrades and becoming outdated should be leased. Here are four points to consider when deciding to buy or lease equipment.1. Some things need replaced every few years, some will last ten, and some with proper maintenance are built to last indefinitely. Purchase the workhorses, and lease the stuff that changes frequently. We all know that there are $1 flashlights and $40 lanterns, and no one expects the same performance from them. The same goes for church tech equipment. The prices of goods, even when they seem expensive, barely cover R&D considering how rapidly new discoveries in technology are being made. Because the costs are hard to recoup, there are shortcuts in materials and workmanship to keep prices in grasp of the majority. Study the technology, know where it is headed, become intimate with the performance of varieties of products; if you don’t have the time or knowledge for that, retain the services of the consultant who does.

2. Equipment gets outdated. We all had to replace TVs in the last couple years, not because there was anything wrong with the TV but because the TV became outdated when everything went HD. Another thing that immediately became archaic with the switch to digital was the mics used at your church. This is more than rejecting last years’ colors or hemlines- these are changes that are not just about keeping up with the Joneses.  It’s not upgrading to Blu-Ray or the newest XBox, or even 3-D. This stuff absolutely won’t work anymore, due to external technology upgrades that have turned your great stuff into dinosaurs. And I’m sorry, but don’t buy that big projector that requires expensive bulbs, because those bulbs just won’t be available to purchase after a while. Lease the projector or be stuck with a really expensive, dark coffee table.

3. Leasing equipment allows you to evaluate your changing ministry. Technology improves, and so does what the church does with it. Are you a church with a style that has never changed and it’s not likely? Or are you moving with the times? If your ministry plan is short term and you expect to see it change, then lease. Don’t buy a sound system for a small worship team and a congregation of 100 if your plan is to grow and expand. If your church is big on media technology, then lease so that you can evolve with the technology. Even if your church is not big on technology, or because of it, leasing may be the best option for you, too.

4. On the flip side, when you are purchasing a system or components, then also plan a budget for the full cost plus growth rate over a ten year period, to cover repairs and replacement as needed to keep everything working.  Nothing is more frustrating for churches than having to make unexpected purchases. The fact is, no matter how much you spend today, you will need to spend more in the future- so plan for it, budget and save towards it, and include a consultant in your plan to maximize your resources.

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