If there’s one thing for certain in church technology, it’s that the electronic equipment that helps us share the Good News will need to be repaired, replaced, or upgraded at some point. While it is easy to set tech goals for some of the bigger projects, it is equally important to plan for smaller maintenance tasks.
Planning and goal setting help save money on church technology, now and in the future.
Setting Tech Goals
Goal setting is similar to planning, but it provides a broader framework and vision to work from.
Identifying clear long-term and short-term goals for church technology will help during the planning process. Having clear goals also allows for creative thinking in how to achieve them.
Examples of church technology goals might be:
- “We have to improve the quality of our live stream by next Easter.”
- “We’ll need a new sound system for the sanctuary in two years.”
- “We want to add more lighting options on the stage in time for the next special production.”
Once goals are defined, it’s time to move on to the planning phase.
Five Gear Planning Questions
It’s important to consider several crucial variables during the planning process. Here are five questions that can help establish priorities for church tech gear:
- What is the primary goal for the new technology?
- What is the budget for the upgrade or project?
- How long will the new equipment last?
- Are there any maintenance, software, or service costs to add to the budget?
- Can the old equipment be repaired, repurposed, or recycled?
These are just a few of the questions to ask during the planning process. It might sound simple, but answering these questions saves a lot of time, money, and frustration.
Regular planning sessions help tech teams stay on track and keep focused on ministry goals. Detailed planning also helps leadership understand the sometimes-complex variables involved in meeting the technical needs of the church.
Planning session notes should be detailed enough to identify most of the tech equipment needed, guide a budgeting discussion, and seek bids for consulting or contracting work.
Clear goals and detailed plans can be incredibly helpful in prioritizing budgets and timelines.
“What can we do to invest in our volunteers and increase their tech skills?”
“Do we have the budget for a new live streaming multi-cam system this year or not?
There could be several competing issues that are “high priority”. Defined goals and plans will help cut through the confusion.
Add risk scores and notes to help determine priorities.
What happens if the old projector fails? Are there enough spare audio/video/lighting cables? Do viewers stop watching the live stream because of bad audio or video quality?
Include tech volunteers and leadership staff in these types of discussions. It helps to keep everyone on the same page and creates a stronger, more informed team.
Fix, Reuse, Donate
There are times when it’s necessary to throw out old equipment and purge the tech closet of useless doorstops. However, we should always try to find a new home for the gear that may not be in its original service role.
There are simple things like bad cables or mic stands that just hang around in the tech closet.
But there are also bigger pieces of hardware like lights, speakers, projectors, and even mixing consoles that can sit around collecting dust for years.
As stewards of church tech solutions, we play an important role in minimizing waste and decay in our gear closets.
Maybe a simple repair can provide us with a great spare piece of equipment.
Old gear that still works can be used in other ministries, or creatively integrated into special event solutions.
And if you can’t seem to find a use for perfectly functional equipment in your own church, why not donate it to someone else? Smaller churches, church plants, and schools are often in need of even the most basic equipment. Your tech donation could really make a difference.
Focus on the Reason
In all of our planning and wish lists for church technology, it is critical to understand the underlying reasons for why we use technology in the first place.
Church tech solutions are simply tools or systems that are used to enhance ministry. Our tools can solve specific problems, make life easier, and even increase engagement with the congregation.
Take the time to make a plan for the tech tools that will help fulfill your church’s mission and meet the needs of your congregation.