A/V technology is no longer a single entity within houses of worship. Where two decades or less ago the focus would be on the sound, lighting and projection systems in a worship facility’s main sanctuary, today media technology has become pervasive throughout a worship campus.
One example of this, and how it affects how churches allocate budgets and responsibilities between departments, is found at the First Reformed Church of Zeeland, MI, where technical director Jim DeBoer is in the midst of budgeting for his 165-year-old church’s next round of technology upgrades. He notes that the church’s youth ministry made a request for Apple iPads, a kind of technology product request that might have once set up a bit of competition between departments within the church that had their own tech requirements. Instead, says DeBoer, their culture has learned to look for where they can find synergies for these kinds of situations.
“The common ground here is the need for expanded Wi-Fi, which is something we need, as well for the church’s [other] technology systems,” he says. “Wi-Fi falls under the A/V domain, but we also realized that with students using more personal wireless devices, there was an opportunity here to get more bang for the buck in both expanding the amount of bandwidth we had and acquiring the iPads. We could actually use those personal devices to help keep track of the students when they enter and leave the building,” and, he adds, also use that combination to help know when parts of the church were empty and lights could be turned off, contributing to energy savings.
The cost for the iPads and the additional bandwidth came out of a combination of the A/V department’s and the youth ministry’s budgets, and DeBoer says it leveraged the money both