Jonathan sent this question in:
Several members of my church’s A/V team proposed that we begin using NiCd 9 Volt batteries for all of our wireless equipment, following the thought that our church should be good stewards of God’s gifts and not use alkaline batteries, which can be seen as expensive, wasteful, and harmful to the environment. Unfortunately, because of the energy-leaking nature of NiCd batteries, we are quickly becoming frustrated with their lack of dependability, compared to their alkaline brethren. My question is this: as stewards of not only the audio/visual quality of each service, but also finance and the environment, what are your thoughts on the battery issue? I would also be interested to hear what does Covenant Life Church does, considering its resources and needs.
We have two priorities in tension here. The first is to be wise stewards of the resources God has given us. The second is to faithfully serve congregational worship and the preaching of God’s Word. Ultimately, the second concern is the greater priority. We’ve told our technical personnel for years that their role, whether it’s front of house mixing, running monitors, projecting lyrics, projection, or duplicating messages, is a significant part of the proclamation of the Gospel and the church’s ability to praise the Savior in an undistracted way.
Dave Wilcox serves as the technical director for Covenant Life, my home church. Dave is without a doubt one of the most humble, faithful, skilled, diligent media technicians I’ve ever known. (Check out his blog, God-Media.). I sent this question to Dave, and here’s what he said:
While rechargeable batteries can seem like a good investment, they are not yet reliable enough to handle the high-current requirements of wireless microphones. I would always advise against using rechargeable batteries. One-use alkalines are still the only reliable option.
With that said, I think a good deal can be done to be good stewards of money and the earth. The main thing is to re-use partially charged batteries for rehearsals. This requires a little extra effort and work, but it can make difference in the long run.
It’s interesting that you asked this question, since we just made some changes in this very are here at Covenant Life. Here are my instructions to the team that I sent out Tuesday:
Have you heard the recent hubbub about Global Warming? There is much discussion both inside and outside the church about the environment. Whatever your take on the specific environmental issues, God does call us to be good stewards of our world. Speaking of stewardship, did you know that our annual budget for batteries is on the order of $4000?
As of today, the production teams will begin recycling batteries in order to improve stewardship of our world and money. You will now find battery recycling containers In the storage areas of each of the three main rooms (Auditorium, Edwards Room, and Events Center). In these storage areas, the new batteries will be on the left, hopefully in their original packaging. Please continue to use brand new batteries for each event.
In the middle is a container for “Used Batteries.” All batteries that still have charge but are not brand new should go in this container. These used batteries should be used only for rehearsals. However, for Sunday sound folks, please use these partially charged batteries throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning rehearsals. Replace them all with new batteries just before the service begins. On the right is a container for “Battery Recycling.” All dead batteries should go in this container. Please don’t throw away any more batteries.
Thanks for making the extra effort to be good stewards!
And thanks, Dave, for being sensitive to stewardship issues, but even more sensitive to unhindered, undistracted times of congregational worship.