Learn all about how you can modernize your church and give it a much-needed refresh for the years ahead.
Churches have a long-standing history. Their walls have held countless sermons and heard every prayer that has been uttered within them, so it is not surprising that there is some reluctance to modernize churches for fear of losing some of the history that lives there.
There are plenty of ways to modernize a church, however, without having to ruin the history of the building by renovating it or tearing it down to build something new. For example, why not bring your church into the 21st century by updating the tech equipment that is used?
With the recent lockdowns that have been enforced as a way to combat the spread of Covid-19, it is more important to modernize churches than ever, but thanks to the recent advancements in technology we have seen over the years, it has also never been easier.
This article will walk you through some of the best ways to modernize your church, from visuals to sound system and security software. If your parishioners can’t come to you, for whatever reason, you can take the church to each of them by filming and broadcasting your sermons, making your church more accessible to a larger audience in the modern world.
- Things to Consider Before Updating Church Tech
- Set Up a Good Sound System
- Software and Hardware
- Other Tech Upgrades
Things to Consider Before Updating Church Tech
When it comes to making any big changes in your church, it is always best to consider the following factors before making a decision and to assess what it is that your church needs.
Firstly, think about how much updating your church tech could benefit you.
- It can help you spread the word of the gospel.
- It can help encourage attendance and widen your audience by attracting new worshipers.
- It can help you help other people to connect through your church.
- It can help you reach people who are further away.
- It can help you maintain a connection through the week, not just on weekends.
As you can see, there is very much a place for technology in modern churches. However, there are also a few other things that you will need to consider, such as the following:
- How much will these tech upgrades cost?
- Are you having problems with your existing tech or are you choosing to upgrade in advance of any issues?
- Will new technology take away from the traditional aspects of your church?
Once you have answered the question of why should my church upgrade its technology, you can start thinking about the next question, which is “what tech should my church get?”
Luckily for you, that is what this article is here to help you with.
Set Up a Good Sound System
Learn how to set up a good sound system that is fit for an audience of 300 to 500 people and see how the crowds flock to your sermons to hear what you have to say to them.
If you are setting up a good sound system, you will need to think about what kind of amplifier you want. These can have a huge affect on the sound quality of your church performances.
As Lifewire explains, “the purpose of an amplifier is to receive a small electrical signal and enlarge or amplify it. In the case of a pre-amplifier, the signal must be amplified enough to be accepted by a power amplifier.” Simply put, this enlarges and improves the original sound.
The two main speaker designs are active and passive speakers. Active speakers are easy to use and come with amplifiers that are already built into the design and perfectly attuned to the speakers specific requirements and components. This can make your setup simpler.
Passive speakers, on the other hand, require additional amplification as well as speaker cables and potentially an outboard crossover or some other type of signal processing. They can also be bi-amped or tri-amped which grants you greater control over the speakers, however, these are bought separately to the speaker which allows more room for error.
Then there is the question of how much power you need your speakers to produce the sound. Unfortunately, all we can advise is that you check your SPL output, as it will depend on this. As advised by Explora, also remember to consider the ohms rating and wattage.
Thanks to the technological advancements we have seen in recent years, digital mixers have come a long way and are able to seriously improve the quality of sound.
These offer a large channel count including compression and gating, as well as outputs that feature graphic EQ for ringing out monitors. There are a number of other available features to be found on digital mixers, such as internal effects with eight slots for internal sends.
A lot of digital mixers now feature the option to be controlled remotely via a smartphone app.
Stage Snakes and Stage Boxes
Get rid of any and all trip hazards by investing in a stage snake or a stage box to help reduce the cable clutter on the stage. Although certain set ups allow you to split the signal from multiple sound sources between FOH and monitors, this is not always the case.
Besides, if you are working with an analog setup, you will likely be using a 16- to 24-channel audio snake that runs cable for 100+ feet and then 8 to 12 microphones dotted around the drum kit to catch every strike of the sticks as they come down. And that is a lot of cable.
Having a stage snake or stage box can therefore help keep the space on your stage tidy.
Church choirs are known for their impressive singing voices, but everything sounds better when you can hear it loud and clear, so it is also worth looking into getting microphones.
We say microphones – plural – as they can help to capture every note of music, both vocally and instrumentally when set up strategically around the stage. This dynamic is what makes live music so atmospheric, especially when paired with the traditional high ceilings and walls.
When choosing a microphone for your church stage sound setup, your best option is to go for a wireless mic like this AKG wireless microphone system or to choose a microphone that will work with your church’s existing PA system.
A Shock Mount
One of the simplest and yet most effective ways to improve your microphone is to use a shock mount with it. This steadys the microphone and prevents too much movement which can in turn affect the quality of your audio as this can otherwise pick up “bumping” noises.
Audio (XLR) Cables
For any church that is planning on including the use of a camcorder or video recorder, you will need to use audio (XLR) cables to connect your camera to the microphone you’re using.
Look for cables with a thick, high-quality, flexible rubber jacket to ensure their durability so that they last a long time.
Good audio won’t help you unless you can hear and monitor it at all times while your church choir or pastor is on stage. That’s why getting a new pair of headphones can help.
This will allow you to hear feedback and you can adjust the volume of your voice or instruments. When trying to choose a pair of headphones, think about what is going to feel comfortable as well as the quality of sound. It is worth testing them out to avoid any surprise audio feedback when on stage and to make sure that you can hear through them well.
Consider Installing Acoustic Panels to the Walls or Ceiling
Whenever you are thinking about how to improve sound quality in church, it is important to factor in the walls and ceiling. Typically quite tall, you can improve the acoustics by having acoustic panels installed on the walls or ceiling and replacing the flooring with carpet.
However, this is understandably a larger and potentially more disruptive job than some of the other things we will discuss in this article, so consider how much this will actually help you.
This is more of an optional choice, but some bands prefer in-ear monitors over stage monitors which can have great results. You can use these with a digital mixer which will make your setup simpler again and the musicians can monitor their own sound on stage.
In addition to sound quality, updating your church’s visuals is another way to help bring it into the 21st century, especially with the numerous developments in the technology used for this.
Video Walls/Light Reflector
Two popular options for broadcasting media to your audience is to build a video wall or to use a light reflector. Deciding which one to use will depend on the needs of your church.
Ask yourself the following questions before going ahead with building a video wall:
- What size space do you have to work with?
- What sort of lighting does the space currently have?
- How will you control the video wall?
- What type of content will you be broadcasting?
- Will you split different sources across multiple screens or combine them all to display one large image?
If you decide to build a video wall based on these considerations, you will then need to turn your attention to finding the right screens to use. This includes screen size, viewing angle, screen brightness and resolution, and the bezel size (in this case, the smaller the better).
Mount the screens to the wall or alternatively, you can create a portable video wall, but aim to use it somewhere where it will remain out of sight when not in use. It will be easier if you can control the video wall remotely using the AVPro Cloud 9 Matrix switch, for example.
You can also create a light reflector wall, which is when you wrap simple white reflective fabrics around a frame and attach it to a hard board that is covered in reflective materials. These can improve the quality of your videos and will make them look more professional.
Having a monitor is a huge benefit if you want to present from your own personal devices but you would like it to be displayed on a big screen or surface so that everyone can see it.
Instead of being stuck on stage with everyone looking directly at you and you alone, you can set up a monitor to improve the visual accessibility for everyone in the room.
You can present from anywhere in the room by connecting your device to a projector via a HDMI port. There are plenty of screen monitoring devices for presenting wirelessly, but you will need to do your research and choose the one that is best suited to your church’s setup.
Depending on how big the space in your church is, it might even be worth setting up and connecting to multiple monitors that are dotted around the room so that there is one for everyone to look at where they will have a clear view of what is being shown on the screen.
Forget candlelight and the natural light that comes streaming through the church’s stained glass windows – if you really want to improve the visuals in your church, update the lighting.
Church lighting does more than just help parishioners read service sheets and see projected images clearly; it also adds to the atmosphere and has historically represented God’s light.
Adding a fresh coat of paint can do a great job of helping to improve how well lit your church space is as light colors reflect light, or you can even add new light fixtures to improve the lighting even further. This will make it easier for people to see what they are doing in church.
Light fixtures should be chosen based on how well they illuminate the space and whether or not they fit in with the existing decor. Try to opt for energy efficient lighting where possible.
Invest in a Good Camera for Video
Whenever you are trying to make a video, the first thing you will need is a quality camera.
Although you can use something as simple as your smartphone device, you will not achieve the same level of quality as you would if you invest in a high-spec camera for video.
Two great options are DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras, both of which are commonly used by those who make videos and put them online where they can bring in money.
However, these can be expensive, so if there is no room for a video camera in your budget you should at least look into how you can make pro-looking home videos with your phone.
Nobody likes to watch anything if the shot is bouncing all over the frame because the camera person’s hand was wobbly while it was being recorded, so always opt for a tripod.
Even if your camera offers the best stabilization in its settings, you will never achieve the same smoothness or quality of video without one. Like cameras, they can be a little pricey, but they are a great investment and most churches will only need a basic model anyway.
Using a tripod will help to establish your church as a professional organization as you will produce high-quality video and it can therefore help you bring new people into the church or, at the very least, you can widen your audience by broadcasting your videos online.
If you are working with a camera that is less than the best, you might want to think about using a camera lens as these can make a huge difference to the final videos and images.
They will also help you to get the best out of whatever camera you are using for better overall image quality and improved videos to show to people tuning into church services.
The other great thing about camera lenses is that you can use a different lens for different styles of shooting, meaning you can build a collection to use on various different occasions.
If you are not sure what a gimbal is, you are not the only one. This is essentially a way to stabilize your camera to improve the video quality, and they can be used on anything from your smartphone to an expensive, professional level camera.
These work by using pivots and weights to help maintain a stable shot which is even more of a benefit if you will be filming whilst moving around. Otherwise, a tripod should be fine.
A camera jib crane is used to hold the camera which is another method for improving the stability of your shot while you are filming. These devices will allow you to tilt the shot, pan around the space horizontally or vertically, and can even turn around for a full 360 degrees.
It is not uncommon for these to be used on big filming productions sets, but they can also be used on a smaller scale which means they are ideal (and more affordable) for church use.
If you are not planning on moving around much while you are filming then you can probably get away with a tripod or a gimbal stabilizer which can help to improve the quality of the shot.
Installing a projector is another way you can improve the visuals of your church which will make it more accessible as it is easier to see your sermons and services on a bigger screen.
This will be useful for both video playback and also if you plan to project the lyrics to the hymns that are to be sung during the service onto the screen for everyone to read.
Similar to a monitor, the main difference between them is that projectors require a darker space or else the quality of the visuals will be compromised. However, provided that the lighting is right, they can provide an almost cinematic viewing experience and the large screen size will make it much easier for people sitting at the back of the church to see well.
Software and Hardware
If you do not want to touch the interior of your church at all for fear of losing some of its history, there are ways to modernize your church through software and hardware alone.
Replace Outdated Software and Hardware
If you are still using old and outdated technology, then you run the risk of it being slow and not performing which is a waste of time and money, so it is worth investing in an upgrade.
This can be a bit of a costly upgrade to your church, but if you determine that it is worth doing for your church, then it is best not to put it off for too long and to make the upgrades.
Updating Your Existing Software and Business Applications
If your church’s current system software is not meeting all of your requirements, you may need to do some business applications upgrades to keep your church running smoothly.
Computer Weekly suggests that if you are choosing to upgrade for technical reasons, you might need to “upgrade the database, a middleware system, the operating system, or the hardware.” These can all help you run your church operations much more smoothly.
New Computer Hardware
There are plenty of benefits to investing in new computer hardware, including the following:
- You can save time and money by automating certain tasks like record-keeping and financial transactions.
- You will provide better customer service and improve supplier relationships.
- You will improve the efficiency and productivity of your church.
- You can expand your reach to spread your word to a larger audience.
With all that said, it is important to assess the needs of your own church and determine whether or not these benefits will actually be of use to do.
Editing Production Software
If you are planning on recording and broadcasting your services and sermons, then it makes sense for you to invest in some decent editing production software for your videos.
Apple hardware is a popular choice among video editors but there is a lot to be said for Windows PCs these days as they now offer a much improved graphics processing power.
You can edit on your current device in most cases, even if that means both filming and editing videos on your smartphone using an editing app, but if you would like to produce professional quality videos, then you should definitely invest in editing production software.
Invest in Security
Security has always been an issue for churches as they are often home to valuable artwork, sculptures, stained glass windows, and other religious artifacts that some people will look to steal. And of course, there is always the collection money that is also kept within the church.
However, in today’s society, one of the largest threats to the church is a security breach.
Unfortunately, security breaches are becoming more common as technology advances, especially for businesses, charities, and churches. This can result in material losses and disruption to your organization, so it is worth it to invest in your church’s security system.
You should carry out an IT risk assessment and develop an effective IT risk management process in order to keep your church safe and to protect them against cyber security threats.
Try Out Different Cloud Service Models
If you are updating your church’s hardware, then it is a good idea to look at switching up your current cloud service by looking into on-demand software or virtual hardware.
Using a cloud service can help to keep down costs as well as making your processes more flexible and improving operational efficiency. It can also increase your data storage space.
Trying out different cloud services (often available in the form of a free trial which you can then cancel after a certain amount of time or a specified probationary period) will allow you to see which one works best for your church as well as letting you test out the cloud service.
Other Tech Upgrades
You might be wondering how or why a church would need this much tech, but there are actually a number of different ways that technology can advance the church and your ministry, including helping to spread the word of the gospel and widening your audience.
Upgrade Your Business Broadband
Nobody likes using slow broadband at home, so why do you think people would like it at church? Having a broadband connection that is unreliable means that you and your church will also be unreliable, and you may experience problems when trying to stream services.
Consider upgrading to a superfast fiber broadband as this will allow you to stream without issues with the video such as a crackly connection and failure to load or buffer properly.
Not only this, but you will be able to improve the efficiency of your operations as the system itself will be faster to use and will therefore take up less of your precious time. Plus, you can also create a better user experience and you can connect even more wireless devices.
Other benefits can include the following:
- Increase data transfer speeds
- Faster connection capabilities
- Reduced contention ratio
- Improved efficiency
- Static IP addresses
- Better tech support
- Extra services
Upgrade Your Giving System
Even though they are hardly new in and of themselves, POS (Point of Sale) systems have undergone some innovative changes over the past few years thanks to recent technology.
For example, one of the changes we have seen recently is that instead of needing to use a whole collection of hardware for your POS system in order to use it efficiently, there are now Wi-Fi based billing systems that only require the one appliance to be able to work.
Look into online giving programs too, such as tithe.ly or pushpay.com which are two of the most commonly used programs among churches. You could also consider adding kiosks using a tablet or a card reader, for example, which would make purchases much easier.
Consider Wireless Tech
It feels like the whole world is turning wireless, so why not invest in some wireless tech for your church as well? It would certainly help bring the church into the modern century…
Wireless tech means there are far fewer cables and wires to contend with on stage and when you are trying to film videos of your sermons and services to broadcast online.
Using wireless technology can make the whole process for you a lot easier, but more than that, it can also improve the quality of what you are producing which will not only make your church look good, but it can also help to encourage new people to come into your church.
Something to consider before going out and replacing all your old tech is that wireless technology is often more expensive than its wired counterparts, meaning that you will need to assess whether or not it is really worth it for you and your church specifically.
Consider Getting a New Computer or Laptop
There are a number of reasons why getting a new laptop or computer could be beneficial for your church. For one, it will mean you will definitely have better technology at your fingertips.
If you are planning on editing your videos using your church computer or laptop, for example, a better quality computer will ensure that you can produce better quality videos. This is because it will likely have an improved and up to date graphics card or because you can download the latest versions of the best available editing software for you to use.
A new laptop can also offer larger storage space which means you can keep all of your information and databases safe. As an added bonus, this also means that your computer will run faster and will not be slowed down by large files and can therefore increase efficiency.
As you can see after reading through this article about different upgrades you can make to your church, there are plenty of ways you can modernize and bring your church into the 21st century without disturbing or even touching the tradition and history associated with it.
We are not trying to suggest that you go out and purchase one of everything that we have mentioned throughout this article, but even investing in just a few can make a big difference.
With that being said, remember to assess the needs of your church before starting on any modernizing upgrades, as investing in something that your church does not actually require is always going to be a bad investment, no matter what it is.