While I do not claim to know it all. In fact, many times I am convinced that I know absolutely nothing, I
am able to share a perspective that most church leaders and staff are never exposed to. I get to visit and
work with dozens of different churches every year. Each one is different. Some having a huge impact in
their communities, others just hanging on while many are just going about the business of the church.
As the CEO of Springtree Media, our culture has never been one of selling gear but of connecting our
customers with the right tools to be as effective as possible while being good stewards of their money. I
mention this because it always amazes me how often we are trying to talk churches out of buying stuff
that is either more than they need or just makes no sense.
Building it Bigger
We have seen an increase lately in churches trying to sound and look like the latest popular mega church. This includes purchasing their mixes, adding WAVES to their set up and attending “If You Build It They Will Come” seminars that lay out formulas for growth. I made that title up but the
premise is usually the same. If I remember correctly, we are only called to plant seeds and water. Growth is a God thing.
Using your Tools Wisely
Any device, gear, or tool that brings excellence to what God has called you to do is a good thing but not all are appropriate for everyone. For instance, I have worked with several churches that have gear beyond the ability of the volunteers they have to run it. In my experience, simple that sounds great is so much better than great that doesn’t work.
Over the years I have noticed that 99.9999% of any group is always satisfied once something rises to a level of excellence. You can always get something better, but unless you offer an A-B reference, they will never know the difference. Sometimes even with the A-B reference, they still cannot distinguish a difference. Be cautious of techies that read too much and recommend things that you do not need. In the touring world where pockets are deep, the riders (this is the list of required gear) is never written by the folks that write the checks.
Recently we had a church that wanted to buy moving lights and a hazer. Since we are not just about selling gear, we began to ask a lot of questions. Turns out that the church was dwindling in size and, while I have no doubt of a sincere motive to reach people, they thought that if they could do what the larger church down the street was doing they would grow. Their words, not mine. I asked about their small groups. “We are excited about starting them back up sometime soon” was the reply. As lovingly as possible we suggested that they wait on getting more lights.
The Real Issue
The worship Pastor of a local church called me and asked if I would come out to evaluate their worship
center and help him with their wish list. We had been working for years with them so a good relationship had already been established. We met and reviewed the wish list. Some of the items were pretty far-fetched so as usual, I began with some questions. “How is the church doing?” His answer was what I expected- “Well”, he answered. So I asked if they were seeing more people coming on a Sunday. His answer was no. “Is attendance dropping?” His reply was that the numbers had been the same for the last four years. I then said “Pastor, if you did nothing on this list will attendance drop?” He quickly replied, “No, I don’t think so”. “Well, if you were to do everything on this list will the church grow?” He smiled because he already knew that was going to be my next question. He said, “probably not”.
We talked and walked the facility for around an hour, pinpointing the real needs and issues that needed addressing right away. We were able to accomplish what was needed at a small fraction of what it would have been if we just fulfilled their wish list. This is a great church with great leadership wishing to reach more people. Improved lighting and sound are important but they don’t reach people. Only friendships and a community of believers do.
Now these are my observations and not a sermon so don’t think that I am assuming that I know what
God has led you to do. I just wanted to share these things because regardless of our prosperity, there is
rarely a good reason to spend more than is required to achieve excellence.
Springtree Media Group LLC