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Signs that an Equipment Upgrade is Needed

Signs that an Equipment Upgrade is Needed

When doing our best for God, how do we decide when to replace or upgrade our technical gear.

There's been a lot of talk in the church over the last few decades about "excellence". "We are doing _____ for the Lord, therefore we must do it with excellence." "We can't give God any less than the best." And other such vague statements intended to promote a value system

I'm not going to question the validity of doing the best we can for Godjust questioning how the Church frequently implements this value system. I've heard those serving in technical ministry, and even pastors of churches, use this justification when they seek to upgrade their equipment or outfit a new space. "We need to buy the best, because God deserves the best."

I believe God doesn't evaluate whether we are doing our best by what we buy for our church. I believe he evaluates whether we have done our best by the lives we've impacted. And frequently we don't need "the best" in gear to impact lives.

Let's put that in the context of upgrading your tech systems in your facility.

I was speaking to an audio engineer recently who described how he was at a large and influential Chicago-area church perhaps a year or so ago, and commented to the sound engineer there that he was proud to see they were still using the same audio console that they bought almost 20 years earlier. No longer manufactured, it pioneered the early days of digital audio consoles. There are newer and "better" consoles available now. But the engineer's response was, it still did everything he needed it to do, it still worked fine, and it enabled him to support the church's ministry in the way it needed to be supported. Until it becomes a hindrance in doing ministry, he saw no reason to spend the church's resources in replacing it.

Another church I've spoken to only recently upgraded to HD video cameras because their older, high-quality SD video cameras looked perfectly fine on their video screens. They waited until they had a compelling reason (namely, starting a television broadcast where HD was required) to upgrade their cameras. Had they not been moving to broadcast, they would not have upgraded, because no one in the room looking at the screens could tell the difference between HD and standard-definition video.

That's a great definition of excellence: using what you have until you can no longer accomplish your ministry effectively without making a change.

One argument I've heard used is that "everyone expects moving lights (for example), therefore we must have moving lights in out auditorium." Really? How many non-believers walk into your church service, look around, and say "Gee, there's no moving lights clearly I shouldn't listen to what they have to say!" I doubt that's happened. But if it has, do you really think that adding moving lights will make a difference in the hardness of that person's heart, or will they just have another excuse not to listen? It's a heart issue, not a moving light issue. And it's not the latest and greatest gear that will change their heart.

One of the fastest growing and largest churches in my area stays rather low-tech for their size. The last time I was at one of their weekend services, there was no moving lights, no hazers, no live video on large screens in the room. They are effective because they deliver quality in their worship time, their preaching, and their outreach to their community. If you are a church of quality and substance, high tech gadgets aren't needed. If you are not, high-tech gadgets won't fix it.

Invest in tech that enables you to serve your community with excellence. Don't invest in tech because that tech itself seems "excellent."

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