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Letter to the Deacon Board

Deacon Board,

If you’re the ones deciding what company to go with for your new audio system, how will you judge the design each gives you? Will you judge them on cost? How about how good their presentation was? Maybe you’ll make your decision based on the photos and graphics they include in the design bid. Have you considered judging these designs on the performance of the final product?

See, an audio system for a church isn’t just a bunch of individual pieces of equipment connected together. No, it’s much more than that. A church audio reinforcement system is a set of individual components chosen and connected to perform in a certain manner. These pieces of equipment are then placed within your building in the location that makes the entire system work together properly. Just like a car can’t be built by putting it’s parts together in a random fashion, a church audio reinforcement system can’t be put together and expected to perform well unless it has been designed correctly to begin with.

See, if you get it right the first time (and select the proper system design), you only have to worry about replacing or repairing equipment when it fails. There’s never a need to redesign the whole system, just replace parts as needed. Keep in mind that when the proper equipment is selected, it will last a long time, too. It’s not uncommon to get 15 years out of a system and never having to repair anything. Sure, you may replace parts as your church grows and your needs change, but you never need to rip everything out and start over with a new design.

Many churches request several bids so they can compare them and determine which is the best. Most of the time the church doesn’t pick the most expensive bid, nor do they pick the cheapest. The reason given is that the church isn’t rich enough for the expensive design, and they certainly don’t want the cheapest system which is obviously not good enough (otherwise, why would it be so cheap?). What’s interesting is that the Bible records many projects being undertaken and completed, especially in the Old Testament. If you look closely, you’ll read that the people chosen to work on the projects were not the cheapest, nor were they just satisfactory. No, each time it’s recorded, the Bible says things like “the most qualified” or “the most talented”. Basically, they chose the best available. They didn’t want to waste time or money getting bids from everyone and then trying to decide who was the best for the project. No, they simply searched out the most qualified, the most talented, and the best at what they did. Sure, they may have paid a bit of a premium for such workers, but then again, there was never a concern of not getting what they wanted.

This isn’t to suggest every church should hire the most expensive company to do work for them (some companies charge a lot just because they can, not because it’s justified). Not at all; what this means is that the church needs to analyze the quality of the work done and how well qualified the person or company is to complete the project at hand. Based on this, the church will have a quick and easy time deciding who’s got the best design.

The same decision making process should be used when addressing the acoustics or even a new building project or renovation. In fact, these principles should apply to every decision making process in the church. Didn’t God ask for our best, for our first fruits? We need to remember this request applies not only to tithes and offerings, but to every aspect of the church and our lives.


A concerned Christian and church audio/acoustics professional

-Blake Engel,
All Church Sound