Ordering a church plant equipment package to support weekly worship gatherings is a major expense, whether it’s minimal or huge & complex. You have 2 basic options for getting all that stuff: order it from a vendor that puts packages together for you, or piecemeal a system together yourself.
Working with dozens of church planters over the years, most of them went with the DIY method. Here are the painful lessons learned and reasons not to go that route:
Components May Not Be Compatible
A package vendor will make sure that all the parts work together. If you do the shopping yourself, you need to guard against:
- cables with the wrong connectors or are the wrong length
- sound cart components that together draw too many amps
- slow coffee makers that can’t brew enough in the short window of setup time
- …and too many other things to list here
There’s Always New Tech
Especially in the Audio-Visual-Lighting (AVL) world, tech keeps getting better, lighter and cheaper. Even if you left a worship ministry to plant your church and you knew all the best stuff to order back then, chances are good that technology has already leapfrogged you by the time you order your church plant equipment package.
Stuff May Not Fit
Whether you tow your stuff there every week or get to store it on site, you have space limitations. Imagine your surprise if you got all the stuff packed up from your first dry run and there wasn’t enough room in the closet or on your trailer? Or when the rolling carts showed up and they were too tall to actually fit through the doorframe of your trailer (it happened)?
On a smaller scale, your tubs have to fit into the carts, as well as all kinds of weird-shaped stuff from every ministry area:
- drum kit
- light bars
- pipe & drape
- just about anything from the nursery
You Probably Won’t Save Money
Here’s the biggest argument for not piecemealing your church plant equipment package together – there are 2 soft costs that could actually make it more expensive than going with a vendor:
- Salary Cost – how much time are you going to spend doing all the designing, shopping, ordering, receiving and assembly? Conservatively, it’s going to take you 60 work hours, but probably more. So quick math: if your salary is $4,000/mo, those 60 work hours equals almost $1,400. Do your own salary math and add that to your tab. Not saving as much as you thought, are you?
- Opportunity Cost – those are 60 hours (or more) that you should be spending meeting people in the community, building teams, and investing in your leaders. If you go this route, you’ve traded people time for shopping. What’s the cost of a smaller Launch Team or less-prepared leaders?
Before you spend the time to put your own church plant equipment package together, you should really at least talk with one of the several excellent vendors out there that will make that part of your church plant easier.