by Patrick Bradley: Church planters pay for their church plant equipment somewhere on this church plant equipment cost vs time diagram:
The bar continues to be set high for producing worship gatherings here in the US. Lights, sound and projection all come at a cost. To some extent, you get to choose between paying in time or money.
Paying in Money
There are great church equipment package vendors out there ready to help you put together a whole system for your mobile church. They will consult over the phone or come to your facility to understand your needs even better. You’ll get a turnkey solution that includes a trailer (or equivalent) filled with rolling cases that have all the equipment you need.
I’ve seen planters get a lite version and spend around $15,000 for a workable system. And I’ve heard tell that planters have spent north of $150,000 for all the bells & whistles.
The huge advantage is that your time investment can be as little as 10 to 15 work hours.
Paying in Time
Many a planter has determined to save money by piecemealing their system together. This comes in various flavors:
I used to be a worship leader; I know what I’m doing
I have a buddy in the AV industry
The sound guy at my last church is going to help
The soft costs of paying in time are:
Salary – what’s the difference in your salary cost between 10 work hours and 100 work hours?
Opportunity – what is it you’re not getting done because you are shopping for equipment instead?
You really can save money this way, but it may very well come at a terrible price.
Just Don’t Pay the Stupid Tax
What my incredibly unscientific church plant equipment cost vs time diagram attempts to illustrate is that there quickly comes a point at which you’ve paid just as much money doing it yourself as if you’d hired a vendor at the beginning. One of my planters lovingly referred to this as paying the stupid tax:
You get cheap equipment that breaks right away
Or you buy the wrong stuff and have to pay a restocking fee to send it back, or
Pay full retail for items because you run out of time to shop for better prices
But now you’ve spent the same amount of money and you’ve burnt 60, 80 or even 100 work hours to boot.
You can probably tell that I’m an advocate for hiring out for church plant equipment. At the end of the day, you can only spend what you’ve budgeted, so you gotta do what you gotta do. Find a vendor that’s willing to work with your constraints and you may save time and money!