A few years ago I was sitting in a service at General Conference, when I began to feel a burden for church planters. It wasn’t like some celestial, booming, voice from heaven saying “Go Ye Unto The World” or anything. It was more like a sinking feeling in my chest, and a swelling in my heart, for the men and women who are called to start churches. I think most people will agree that one of the challenges of planting a church is the lack of personnel needed to make a healthy church function.
Often times a church planter’s only staff might be themselves, their spouse, and possibly their children. With that in mind, I wanted to offer my thoughts and experience in an area that is a common need, that is the area of live sound. Most people don’t realize the importance of a well put together sound system, especially one that can aid the church as it grows. As I began to reflect on this, I realized that even though I had the technical know-how, I lacked a resource that would help me in acquiring the appropriate equipment at a reasonable cost. From there I set out to develop such a resource.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- What amount of equipment would I need?
It is important to be mindful of what will be happening on, and off the stage. For example, most churches have a worship band consisting of anywhere from three to eight people in the band, not to mention four to eight vocalists, including the leader. With this in mind it is necessary to consider what sort of cabling, direct boxes, microphones, etc., you will need, and how many.
- What length of time would I need it?
I have personally witnessed many young churches, and some established churches, go to the nearest live audio retailer and purchase a system that was only suited to accommodate their current circumstances and location. As we all know churches should plan to grow, and with that in mind we as the sound team should also plan for that growth. Therefore in considering the materials necessary in this resource I made sure to construct a system that not only would work for the immediate, but also the long term. The proposed system would in essence “grow” with the church if the congregation was thirty, or three hundred.
- What level of future planning should I consider?
This final question, though it may seem redundant with the previous, is necessary in that it deals directly with the strategic planning for growth. What I mean by that is “What do you do when the church grows and the system no longer accommodates the facility?” It’s simple. The main thing that doesn’t work for a church of thirty and a church of three hundred are the speakers. The speakers placed in the resource are designed for a smaller venue, though they will work for larger venues within reason. At the point where you find the need to “scrap” them and move on, all you would need to do is basically purchase bigger speakers, and more powerful amplifiers. The set up would literally be the same, there would just be some technical requirements to consider, as well as some strategic elements in that level of the build.
All in all, the system I have outlined is comprehensive. It allows for a well balanced, and powerful, sound. It also gives you the ability to do live audio recording simply by plugging in a flash drive and pushing record. The only things that are not considered are the instruments, and the set up of the sound board’s programing. These challenges aside, I am confident that this resource can be a benefit to churches both large and small.