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Letter to the Finance Committee

Finance Committee,

If you’re designing a new church, ensuring you have good acoustics doesn’t cost much more than having a room with poor acoustics. However, the further you are along in the building project, the more it’s going to cost to make the changes needed. Many times some changes can’t be made without tearing down some of what’s already been put up. Obviously, the longer you wait to address the acoustics, the more it’s going to cost to fix things. Having good acoustics isn’t a luxury item in a church. A luxury item is something you need to continue to invest in to ensure it lasts and performs over time. Once the acoustics are taken care of, you don’t need to continue putting money into it.

“But it’s only a church sanctuary, we don’t need acoustics to sound like the symphony hall in the big city!” Nothing could be further from the truth. God tells us in His word to go and spread the Gospel. To do this well, the people listening need to be able to hear and understand everything the person speaking is saying. Hearing and understanding are two different things. Can you tell me what the message was on last Sunday? What scripture references were used? If everyone in your congregation can pass that simple test, then you probably already have good acoustics. Unfortunately, most people can only tell you what the message was about, but nothing specific about it because they only heard what was said, they didn’t understand it.

Did you know that if the acoustics of a church sanctuary are good that more visitors will come again and decide to stay? Did you know that if the acoustics are good that many times orchestras and similar groups are happy to rent the facility during the evening or week so they can practice or make recordings? Did you know that the monthly operating costs of a building can be much lower if the acoustics are taken care of? That’s right – acoustics includes the HVAC system which, if designed correctly, will not only be silent, but will operate very efficiently, resulting in a low-cost system to operate. (In one church located in northern Wisconsin, their new sanctuary HVAC system costs nearly ½ what it used to cost to operate in a sanctuary 1/3 the size.)

Waiting to address the acoustics of a room wastes money. Every week you wait, you don’t have the benefit of additional congregation members giving, and, when the pastor asks for extra money for a special project, many people don’t give much because they didn’t totally understand what was asked for. (“Why did pastor ask us to bring honey to support the missions trip?”)

Finally, when doing any sort of project where you’re considering getting bids, don’t spend money and time on the bids. Simply hire the best person or company for the job. The bidding process takes up a lot of time and money, and too many times it’s very difficult to determine which bid should be accepted. In the Old Testament projects were headed up by the best in the business, not by the cheapest. If you get the best, you know you’re going to get a good end product. If you hire the cheapest or even the middle-of-the-road bid, you’re still not going to get the best work for the job at hand.


A concerned Christian and church audio/acoustics professional

-Blake Engel,
All Church Sound