Suggestions for the Budget-Impaired Church

Featuring Jonathan Firey Posted on May 12, 2008

Not long ago, my wife and I visited a large church on a Sunday morning. We arrived just in time to get our cappuccinos and to find a good seat on the back row. The service kicked off with an amazing worship team that started the morning off in loud high-energy form. We tried to enter into worship with them. Being a worship leader myself, I can understand what goes into organizing a team of that size. They had great musicians, amazing singers, and the sound quality was first rate.  

Now, I admit that I am sometimes distracted easily, and about five minutes into the worship set, my focus began to wander. I am a musician. So naturally, I began to examine the stage, the band, the speakers and all the other things going on. One thing I began to notice was the volume of “stuff” on stage. The guitar player had three guitars, a Marshall half-stack and a pedal board the size of my bathroom. The drummer had eight cymbals, five toms, and 3 drum machines. The stage was covered with cables, direct boxes, keyboards and guitars. They had a 16-person choir, and a full horn section. I thought, “What a great team!”  They had all the resources they needed. They had great equipment, in-ear monitors, lights, a PowerPoint system, and so much more. This led me to think, “What about all of the small to mid-size churches that don’t have all of those blessings?”  I immediately began brainstorming ways to help equip these smaller churches. Here are some of my suggestions for the “budget-impaired”:
For the electric player:

  • There are some great multi-effect pedals available these days. Digitech has a series of pedals called the “RP Series.” They range in price from $79-$300. You get many different sounds, amp models, effects, a built-in tuner, and much more.
  • Line 6 makes some amazing units. I like the “X3 Live”, “Xt Live” and the “Floor Pods.”
  • Boss has a couple of nice floor units as well. The “ME20”, in my opinion, is a wonderful pedal.
  • You can go directly into the sound system with all of these units, so there is no need for an amp. Ok…I know the hardcore gear guys are going to hate this option, and I know that digital is not quite like having a Vox “AC30” blowing your head off, but hear me out. It’s worth the sacrifice.

For the Piano Players:

  • Casio has a series called the “Privia Series” which are full-length keyboards with weighted keys. They sound and play great!

For the Acoustic Players:

  • One unit that I have fallen in love with is the L.R. Baggs “Para DI Box.” It’s a preamp with EQ. It is a great help if you cannot afford an expensive acoustic. It will allow you many EQ options to better the sound of your guitar. It is powered by a nine-volt battery, or by phantom power.
  • The Boss “TU2” is a great floor tuner for acoustic or electric guitars.

You will be surprised at the sound quality versus price that you will find in some of these units. In short, if you have a heart to serve on the worship team at a smaller church, but do not have the money or knowledge to have the more expensive, “pro” gear, these are some great options for you.

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