I have always found economics to be interesting, in fact I still remember stuff I learned in my high school economics class. More recently in college I began learning it all again and I really think it applies to so much in life, including the technical arts of our facilities. Now, I may find economics interesting but I am far from an economist, so what I am about to share may not be 100% accurate, but I hope you grasp the overall concept.
The first thing they teach you in any economics class is Supply vs. Demand. The teacher walks to the chalkboard and draws a graph. The vertical line is price, and the horizontal line is Quantity. Then you have a supply curve and a demand curve, where they meet is what is called equilibrium, where the price of a product is set perfectly to feed the supply and the demand of a particular service or good.
This is Business 101, price products accordingly so you don’t have a surplus or a shortage.
So you are probably asking yourself what does this have to do with what we do?
Let’s apply this same idea to how much we are investing in our areas. If we change the supply curve to represent the amount we invest into tech and the demand curve reflecting the amount of people walking into our doors, eventually we have equilibrium.
The demand curve (People coming to your facility). At the top of the curve you have few people coming to your facility, and a low demand for the quality of product. At the bottom of the curve you have a higher demand from people making sure that your product is good.
The Supply Curve: This is the overall supply of Technology. This includes gear, staff, training, content, talent, risk and time invested. At the bottom of the line you don’t invest much because you don’t have many people attending, at the top of the curve you are investing high into technology and staff and have many people coming through your doors.
First of all, let’s define equilibrium. For us it is: Where the quality of tech and the provided experience is providing a positive experience for the attendees in a way that doesn’t overspend. At equilibrium, when people come to your facility, they tend to come back.
In economics it is important to hit equilibrium. If you price stuff too low you have a deficit, if you price stuff too high you have a surplus. Again this is very similar to the tech world.
Lets say we don’t spend enough money, the product then suffers. Plenty of people are coming through the doors but the experience isn’t something that makes them want to return. If we have a surplus, where we spend too much money on technology, we have money tied up in resources that are hitting a mark that if we spent less would ultimately have the same effect.
I think we have 2 major issues in the Tech world. The first are places that don’t invest enough into technology. I always say that we in Tech are the executers. People see, here and experience what we execute. The quality of what we do connects people to Christ. If we do a poor job of connecting people to the stage where we are sharing Christ, it can affect their experience and cause them not to come back into our facilities.
The second issue is investing too much money into technology. We all know it takes money to run a church, to run ministries, and to reach out. But sometimes we take advantage of budgets and get what we want, not what we need. We over invest in quality, gear, staff, content, risk, talent and time invested. We could invest less and see the same results, and other that the spiritual aspect of being good stewards of our resources, we also face under funded ministries that can also affect reaching people for Christ. Tech isn’t the only thing that brings people back through the doors.
We should always be shooting for equilibrium, the point in which what we invest equals our return and our return is the people in which we reach.
This doesn’t mean that we have to settle, we only need to work harder on increasing demand. So how can we increase our demand? That is easy, be a part of increasing the mission of your church resulting in increase the size of your facility, starting multi-site, expand in some way. Increasing demand will ultimately increase supply, feeding into more budget for more gear, staff, resources, ect.
We also don’t have to keep our gear forever. Economics teaches us about depreciation. As the times change, gear evolves, and skill sets grow, we have to adapt to the changing markets. Gear eventually fails and needs to be replaced; depreciated gear, skills, content, risks, and time can put you in a deficit or shortage situation. Coming up with a replacement plan on gear, and training programs for staff, and finding ways of taking risks and challenging one another is important to keeping equilibrium.
We can learn a lot from economics, it applies to much of what we do both in our personal lives as well as in our professional lives. We could go much deeper into economics and our world, however, I’m not qualified to go any deeper, I’m not even qualified to be taken as fact on this idea, but I hope you understand the concept behind the supply and demand idea of our worlds. We just need to fill in the right blanks.