Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tech Gear for Kidmins

Some kidmins are tech wizards.  The rest of us just have smart friends.  One of my smart friends is Tyler Johnson, point leader for large group programming at Southland Christian Church and a blogger at

Recently I asked Tyler what he would recommend to a Kidmin who wanted to outfit a children's worship room from scratch.  Tyler's recommendations aren't cheap, but if you're ready to upgrade your tech (or introduce tech for the first time), and you can make a case for the budget dollars with the powers that be, this stuff will serve you well.

Remember - tech toys are no substitute for skilled, rehearsed communicators and a kid-geared, God-focused lesson, but once those are in place, this equipment can take your kids' worship room to the next level.

If any of this sounds like a good fit for you, feel free to share this post with some of your smart friends who can help you purchase and put this gear into action.

Here are Tyler's recommendations:

You can literally spend tens of thousands of dollars on lighting.  The possibilities are endless.  Lighting can essentially be put into two categories.  Spots/washes and effects.  Spots and washes light up parts of the stage.  You can use gels to change the color of the light.  Effects lighting are extra things.  They aren’t used for lighting up teachers or worship leaders.  They are there to make an effect…or for mood. 

1.      Lighting Stage Lighting System 1 - $499.99  (Includes 8 small lights, light board, dimmer packs, cables, stand)

2.      Lighting Stage Lighting System 3 - $799.99 (Includes 8 larger lights, light board, dimmer packs, cables, stand, gels, light clamps, small fog machine)

3.       Roto Saucer - $49.99 (Small Effects lighting that adds motion to your lights.  Very fun for worship. )

You can get into infinite possibilities here.  The simplest most economical way to get into the sound market is to buy a package.  Powered speakers are an easy item as well, because you don’t have to buy a separate amp.  The following is a very basic setup (with adequate sound) that will get you everything you should need out of the box.

1.      Behringer Behringer Xenyx X2442USB / Harbinger APS15 PA Package - $699.99  (Small sound package that includes 2 powered speakers, sound board, speaker stands, two microphones and cables)

Video (Projector)
For this just about any video projector will do.  But what you want to look for is the amount of lumens.  The higher the number, the brighter the projector will be.  This is especially crucial in a room that has a lot of lights that will be on (such as a classroom).  Also, the bigger you are making the image (6ft wide vs 10 ft wide) the dimmer the image will be.  Anything above 2500 lumens will be good for most standard applications.  (Projectors and prices constantly change, so here is what is currently a good buy.)

1.      Acer X1261P DLP Projector - $369.99  (2700 lumens)

2.      ViewSonic PJD5523w - $549.99  (3000 lumens)

Projection Software/Computer
My recommendation for a computer and software for projection is very simple.  You need a Mac and a presentation software called ProPresenter.  Neither of these are super economical.  But both will last for a very long time.

1.      ProPresenter - $399  (This is pretty much the standard for churches.  It allows you to use videos, music, lyrics, text, Bible Verses, Graphics and a lot more.)  It’s a very versatile tool.  In addition it allows you to see what you are playing before you play it.

1.      iMac - $1199.00 (This is the basic version of the iMac.  It has a 21 inch screen and will work seamlessly with projectors and ProPresenter.)  If portability is not essential, this is what you should buy.

2.      MacBook  Pro - $1199.99  (This is essentially the portable version of the iMac.  It is a little less powerful and a much smaller screen (13 inch) but will also work very well with ProPresenter and projectors.  If portability is essential, this is the way to go.

How about you guys?  Are you already using tech in your ministry, and if so, have you used any of these products or do you have others you'd recommend to your Kidmin friends? 

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