Sunday, March 4, 2012

Going the Distance

It's impossible to know exactly what the future holds.  However, planning for contingencies and being prepared for the unforeseen is vitally important.  When you're selecting and installing equipment that costs thousands of dollars, this becomes paramount.  It's part of being a good steward of time and resources and it definitely makes life easier when the unforeseen appears.

For example, the tech team here at Topeka Bible Church is in the midst of our long awaited upgrade to an HD video production system.  As our old equipment begins to show its age and the proliferation of high definition media continues, the time has come for us to take the next step in improving and optimizing our video system.  But there is another factor at play in the decisions that are made during this upgrade.  

TBC is currently preparing to launch a building project that will provide us with a second, full sized auditorium that will function as both a live venue and a video venue.  This means it will receive a live video feed of the teaching occurring in the other auditorium, located across a city street.  A set up like this requires a flexible and powerful video system.  Would it make sense to purchase video equipment the meets our needs now and then have to replace it in two years because it can't meet our future needs?  This may seem like a cost cutting measure in the present, but being a steward does not always mean being cheap.  Sometimes it means making a long term investment.

What are the benefits of thinking long term in this scenario?  Our volunteers will already be familiar with and trained to use the equipment when we expand our facilities.  We've actually spent the last two years putting this idea into practice as we've upgraded our audio, lighting, and graphics areas.  Another benefit is that we won't need to replace our existing video system in the near future.  It will be ready to step into a more demanding role with just a few additions.  The life span of our new system could approach 10 years and TBC will be able to get the most out of its investment.  It also removes some equipment costs from the future new construction, while allowing us to experience all the benefits of the equipment in our current space.  

Thinking about the quality and the flexibility of equipment is important, but thinking ahead doesn't stop there.  It also extends to how that equipment is installed.  A properly executed installation can extend the life of a system by many years.  Conversely, a poor installation will eventually cause equipment and cable failures, user frustration, and increased maintenance costs.  Here are some not-so-good examples:

Hard work and attention to detail in the beginning will go a long way.  Being a steward means taking care of what you have, and that extends far beyond finances.  This is a principle that applies to all areas of life. Making the best choices you can now will enable you to go the distance with excellence, whether those choices affect your personal, professional, or spiritual life. 

*If you're interested in the technical details of TBC's new video system, check out my previous post.