In my last post, we looked at a checklist for a church plant considering the need for sound reinforcement. We also explored how to set yourself up for future expansion by planning ahead. We focused on purchasing “new”. One of the considerations on the checklist was – budget.
This post will explore the possibility of borrowing equipment in order to fill a need while the growing the church plant copes with the limitations of the budget.
A Story to Set the Stage
(see what I did there)
“We need to go electric!” was the cry from the church leaders who were trying to mitigate a volume issue plaguing the church plant. They were excited for the growth and life in their worship times, but it was just too loud! One worship leader purchased a tub of industrial earplugs and placed them at the entrance of the room where the service was held. The main issue seemed to be the drums. The louder the drummer played the louder the sound guy pushed the envelope of sonic sanity. It seemed to be a battle of wills – but also a battle of “staying louder than the acoustic drum set”. The frustrated pastor – a friend and student of mine asked for my advice. “What do you think about an electronic drum set?” he asked me. I was very familiar with electronic drums as the church I was leading at the time at just purchased a newer set to replace the older set we had used for years. The set we were replacing had seen better days. Pieces were falling off and we used a fair bit of duct tape to keep it together. I was excited to share my experience using electronic drums and I also mentioned to my friend that we still had the “old” kit. His eyes lit up! That could be the solution! I approached the members of the church I was leading and asked if my friend’s church could borrow the set. (The electronic set was going to be moved into the youth area for them to further beat into the ground) There was a resounding “yes!” from our church. I transported the duct-taped drum set to my friend’s church where it stayed for about half a year. The new church had time to save for a set of their own and it helped immediately resolve the volume issues. Win-Win! So borrowing is a good idea – correct?
What makes borrowing work?
There are few overarching principles to consider before exploring the possibility of borrowing (or lending) equipment. All 3 co-mingle as situations unfold:
The reason I have had good experiences with borrowing/lending equipment can be summed up in this one word. The first, and most important relationship is my relationship with the Lord. I spend time in prayer when it comes to this possibility. As a lender – I will pray that I am following God’s lead, that I am prepared to not be offended if I do not get the equipment back at all – or even in worse condition than I originally lent it out and I will pray that the relationship I am walking in with a brother/sister in Christ is honored. As a borrower – I also will pray that I am following God’s lead, that I will care for the items as though they belong to the Lord (they do…), and that the relationship I am walking in with a brother/sister in Christ is honored. The other relationship that I’ve mentioned twice now is the relationship with the brother/sister/church that I am borrowing from. Am I seeking to honor them and bring glory to the kingdom with the transaction?
this is where things can break down if we are not careful. Both parties should have a very clear understanding of length of time (when will the item(s) be returned?), purpose or goal (we would like to borrow the electronic drum set to determine if they would be a good fit for our church plant and allow us time to save some money to purchase a set of our own/we would like to lend it to you so you can explore this as an option for you long term), and expectations if there is an issue (if the drum set completely fails and is unrepairable we agree to…). If communication breaks down that is usually the first sign that there could be a problem.
I have experienced some amazing situations where borrowing/lending has been a real blessing to the Glory of God and for the advancement of His Kingdom. Those times have included excellent follow-through. Regular “check-in points” to maintain the relationship and communication regarding the items borrowed/lent as well as praying together that God would continue to be glorified through the situation are great ways to follow through. “Dropping the ball”,” avoiding the elephant in the room” or just “being ghosted” are not options when it comes to our relationships as brothers and sisters. Clear communication and follow-through will always honor God and each other.
I have had many fantastic opportunities to see God’s Kingdom continue to grow and advance that were related to borrowing/lending since I began the adventure of Church Planting over 20 years ago. I anticipate many more opportunities! When it comes to this topic, I encourage you to pray, pray, pray and then when you are done – pray some more! God can supply our needs in many different ways, and I believe this is one way that we can honor Him and honor each other! I will leave you with this final thought:
“Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” – Jesus (Matthew 5:42)
What has your experience been with borrowing/lending equipment?
Have you walked in the three principles above? How did that set the tone for your experience?
Keep your eyes opened for one final installment of “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blew?”