Who’s up for some adventure?
Your mission Jim, should you decide to accept it, is to get at least 30 church of varying size to grant you access to their budgets for the last 30 years. Your job is to pinpoint how much churches are spending on tech-related equipment for the worship center, sanctuary, main auditorium or whatever you call the place where people now are led in worship by bands using the latest in-ear monitoring systems, the loudest amplification and the brightest spotlighting and back-lighting that money can buy; all while lyrics, sermon theme teaser videos and message slides project on one or more screens. Don’t forget those broadcast-quality cameras, the licenses to show video clips and words to songs, and the software that allows parishioners to stream the service live or watch later on-demand.
Then, if those churches will allow you, dig deeper than the budgeted amounts and percentage increases over the years, and find out what equipment was purchased, how long it lasted, and how much of it was, by the mutual agreement of all concerned, trashed prematurely because something better came along. Or how much of that gear is still sitting in back rooms and storage closets without even so much as a yard sale or eBay offering that would at least contribute an offset to present spending.
Churches are spending a whole lot of money these days on technology-related stuff, and we haven’t begun to touch what’s being spent on word processing and communications in the church office, or tech spending on the place where children and teens gather. (Fortunately, except for parent paging systems, the nursery has been spared the hi-tech assault, at least I think so, my kids are well past that stage.)
As in government or charity work, everyone’s money is no-one’s money, and waste and inefficiencies abound. My point is that churches are quite capable of screwing up the stewardship process from within, so they don’t need problems coming from outside.
But that’s just what is happening.
For the second time, churches now face a round of having to replace cordless microphones and monitoring system because, for the second time, the FCC is proposing to auction off a section of the UHF spectrum in 2016 in which those devices operate. This would render more equipment useless; a situation that some churches are still recovering from financially, not to mention community arts groups and private clubs and concert venues.
Are not landfills in the United States already overflowing with television sets rendered obsolete by the conversion to digital TV?
A petition asking the FCC to reconsider this has only two weeks — until November 12th — left to collect signatures. You can sign the petition, and then forward this, or the article below, to the tech people in your church, your church finance and budget committee, and the musicians on your worship teams.
Read more about this at Technologies for Worship website.
Ethics question: Should the winners of the frequency auction, if it happens, be forced to compensate microphone and wireless equipment owners.
Graphic image: From a recent article at Church Stage Design website.