As worship leaders, many times the responsibility of purchasing sound and lighting equipment with the church budget falls upon us. Church music has become a major target audience for most gear manufacturers and is a growing market while other markets are shrinking.
Churches are becoming much more tech savvy and, in some cases, worship rooms rival the best music venues in the country.
As pastors and stewards of God’s resources, it is our responsibility to make “God inspired” decisions on spending church money. The following guidance might prove helpful when you get ready to make that next A/V purchase:
1. Do your research. Getting good advice is a huge part of making a smart purchase. Read information on-line. Visit other churches and see what they are using. A sound or lighting consultant is well worth the cost.
2. Make a positives/negatives list for each product. This makes it easier to compare products, especially complex products like a front of house mixer or a lighting package.
3. Target upper mid-line versus top of the line. There is diminishing return on products once they reach a certain price. For example, a Shure SM58 is a great mid-line mic for about $100 and most of your congregations would tell a big difference over a $29 mic. However, the average person could not tell the difference between the SM58 and a mic costing twice as much. There is a diminishing return.
There are some exceptions to this, especially churches that double as a concert venue or if the ministry is tech driven to achieve its ministry goals. But for most churches, you can waste a chunk of precious church funds on high-end gear that no one will appreciate other than your musicians and the person that sold it to you.
4. Leave room for growth. It doesn’t save money to buy a 16 channel mixer if you will need 24 channels within a couple of years. The cost difference to move up is usually way less than trying to re-sell and buy again.
5. Buy used when possible. There are really good deals out there on “experienced” gear. I especially recommend this for items that have a long life such as mics, lighting, amps, guitars, drums and rack gear.
Remember, to be as frugal as possible. Every dollar you save could be a real blessing to someone in your church that is sick or hurting financially. Blessings!