Why The Best Gear Isn't Always The Best Choice

01.25.22 10:00 AM By Alex
We’ve all been there.

It’s one of the most frustrating things in the world of church tech, but it’s a mistake we make over and over again. It causes regret like none other and at least one awkward conversation with our senior pastor.

I’m talking, of course, about Shiny Object Syndrome. Moreover, when Shiny Objects fail to deliver their promised value.

In this article:

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Shiny Objects in themselves, mind you. It’s just that they don’t always fit in with the rest of our system.

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: you or someone on your team has spent hours researching Gizmo X and concluded that Gizmo X would be ideal for Living Way Church (Or Grace Covenant, or Faith Assembly)…

You tell yourselves, “This is going to make our church production system one thousand times better. The pastor’s going to love it. People are going to encounter Jesus like never before!”

So, a purchase order gets signed in triplicate, buried in soft peat for three months, and then submitted to the finance team for purchase. Credit cards are charged, shipments are generated, and finally, Gizmo X arrives. You’ve been tracking its progress obsessively.

Everyone is delighted. Your team installs Gizmo X, and everyone lives happily ever after with rainbows and unicorns.

​Except, that’s a lie.

For whatever reason, Gizmo X just doesn’t work right. In our experience, it rarely does. The video never looks as good as Gizmo X promised, and the audio doesn’t sound great either. In addition, the new toy feels cumbersome and difficult to use.

Volunteers dislike the Gizmo X workflow and want to go back to the way things were. It feels like the church’s money has been wasted, or worse, it looks mediocre, and now you have to settle for a mediocre experience.

Then, of course, your boss asks you what good Gizmo X was and why we just spent so much money on it. Those aren’t fun conversations.

​Does that sound familiar?

We encounter different variations of this same old story all the time. But, unfortunately, it’s all too common to speak with church leaders who have signed off on tens of thousands of dollars on Shiny Objects that don’t work as advertised.

The story may go, “The projector isn’t bright enough,” or “the colors on the LED wall looked washed-out after six months.” Or even, “the video quality doesn’t look any better after adding an expensive lens.”

There are thousands of iterations of this same story, and if you don’t believe us, take a look at the technical church groups on Facebook to see how many people are posting with these very same problems.

There’s a simple cause to this common frustration: the system was not designed with the end in mind.

So often, there are tens or even hundreds of individual system components working against each other rather than toward a common goal.

​So, what’s the fix?

Glad you asked. There are two steps to overcome Shiny Object Syndrome. And the good news is this: when you follow them diligently, you still get to elevate your production game.

​Harmony Over Hype

For one, you have to accept the fact that the best gear isn’t always the best choice for your system. This doesn’t mean you automatically avoid things with a high price or hype behind them; they’re certainly worth investigating (and let’s be real, we enjoy looking at them too).

It means that we always start from the basis of our current system, not from the potential additions. In other words, consider what you already have instead of what you want.

Too many tech leaders invest in a dud when they try to add all the random, piecemeal gear they want… and then build their system around it. We have to flip the script. The system comes first.

The first criterion you should look for is compatibility, not price, hype, or keeping up with the huge non-denominational church down the street.

​Cohesive Technology Strategy over Shiny Objects

For two, church tech leaders should partner with a Systems Integrator, not a Shiny Object Vendor. What’s the difference?

Most tech vendors are trying to make a sale. They have overhead, profit margins, and a thousand other clients all pressing for their attention. It’s too easy for them to simply recommend the hot new thing to you and then go on with their day. They may also pressure you into buying something a little bit above your budget. After all, it’s for people to hear about Christ!

On the other hand, a systems integrator offers the right tool for the job. They have decades of experience in the trenches, doing live production. Instead of merely selling gear, they provide consultation, design, installation, and ongoing support. They know how to make the Shiny Object fit in with your existing system – or if it simply won’t, they’ll find you something even better, even if it leads to a smaller sale.

​At ALTA, we’re not focused on technology. We’re focused on your needs.

Every system we design begins as a conversation about our vision. From there, our team goes to the drawing board, creating a custom production system to meet the needs of your ministry today and, more importantly, tomorrow.

Because we know it’s not about Gizmo X or Shiny Object Y, it’s about growth. We design every system to help you and your community grow.

If you’re tired of Shiny Objects that don’t live up to the hype, if you want to rest assured that your budget creates the best possible Kingdom impact, and if you want to work with folks who are just as passionate about AVL as you, consider giving us a call.

At the very least, you’ll walk away encouraged and more knowledgeable than before. At most, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

​So what are you waiting for?

Book a meeting today. We're looking forward to working with you!