I have had the pleasure lately to work with quite a few houses of worship in successfully upgrading technology and enhancing the worship service experience for their members. It has been great to get out and meet some awesome people and I always enjoy learning about the variety in worship experiences and how they differ from my own.
At the core of all services though is the value we share in our beliefs and the conviction we have to ensure that the experience is valuable to all. As I have worked these successful projects to completion I am reminded also that there are other paths with the weaknesses that lead to the ultimate goal of the technology upgrade not being fully recognized. In other words, some House of Worship technology projects fail miserably. The causes are frequently related to just a few factors. I write this blog to help highlight some of the most common shortcomings
I hope by listing some common causes below I can help your House of Worship avoid them and enjoy a successful project.
The five reasons:
- An improperly organized or poorly qualified purchase authority/committee
If the group that is responsible for the selection of vendor, equipment and also responsible for financial and technical concerns does not have the proper authority, expertise, and budget awareness then the project is doomed. Many decisions need to be made and the group that makes them on behalf of your membership should be: well organized, knowledgeable and responsible. Clear concise goals are important as is professional behavior. Business and common sense are called for.
- Selection of the wrong consultant or vendor.
This may sound over-simplistic but it is probably the most damaging and common of all mistakes. A band member, D.J. or your IT professional will probably not help you make the best choices in terms of quality sound and video for your space. Look instead for accredited professionals such as InfoComm CTS-D design specialists. Most valuable experience in Audio, Video, Control, and Acoustics comes from hundreds of hours of training and experience and hundreds of projects. I would also say that most House of Worship projects exceed the installation skill set of the local music shop. Properly selected Audio Video professionals will carry a vast array of knowledge on related matters such as safety, construction, power allocation that can benefit you during your project. Consider also that Audio Video projects are not always a great place for volunteer labor. Although I understand members love to help, unskilled laborers mounting projectors, flat screens, and speaker arrays can prove costly and dangerous. These devices attached to building structure present numerous concerns about structural integrity, aesthetics, and safety. I understand some facilities have members qualified to perform these tasks but even then insurance considerations may trump labor savings.
- Bringing the Audio Video Professional too late in the process.
Whether you are in the process of building a new Sanctuary or selecting equipment for a youth room the time to bring in your consultant of choice is now. Your A/V advisor can help architects with equipment and conduit placement and help identify power requirements for devices. In addition, she can identify potential acoustic issues or lines of projection problems related to lighting etc. I sometimes see equipment selection through an internet search. Although this can work, it frequently does not.
- Unclear/Disputed Objectives
Sometimes a House of Worship membership is not in complete agreement with the goals for a project. This is why Moffitt Technology does a preliminary needs assessment prior to any quote or budget discussion. The congregation should begin each project with a clear vision for the end result and how the project coincides with the organization’s goals. We cannot end the journey well without an agreed destination.
- Improper/Unrealistic Budget
First, let me say that all projects should have a budget. I would suggest that a budget be established after research or consultation with an Audio Video Professional. I know this seems counter-intuitive but that is my point. Need should drive the budget within reason. Many times I see the organizations limit projects to funds currently available and in doing so fail to meet their goals. Much better to wait and save more money to at least meet the house of worship’s minimum needs properly. An A/V professional will help you establish a proper minimum budget or at least tell you the performance sacrifice you will make with the funds currently available. In my mind that is one of Moffitt’s most valuable services and one we frequently perform.
In summary, if you organize properly, select the right vendor/consultant and bring them in at the right time, there is no reason your House of Worship should not have an on-time, on-budget and successful project. I hope this overview helps but if you need further advice on an upcoming house of worship project please contact me at Russ@moffitt-tech.com.