Elaborate light shows! State of the art sound systems! Live streaming! Sounds like a major event, right? It should; this event takes place every Sunday morning all over the country. Many church facilities are more elaborate than ever, offering congregants an ever-changing level of A/V and digital technology; reaching out to their communities not only with their message, but also with their showmanship.
Growth, however, comes with a price- not just a price tag. High-tech churches are particularly vulnerable to lightning damage. Protecting your church from lightning is relatively affordable, but the cost of neglecting this issue can be steep. Damage can range from a simple power outage to destroyed equipment; minor structural damage to catastrophic fires; terrifying injuries, multiple casualties. This past February, for example, a single lightning strike resulted in a fire and 16 deaths.
Not sure your church qualifies as high-tech? Here are some question to ask:
Do you live stream your services? Project lyrics onto screens? Does your worship team plug into amps, mics, and other electronic equipment? A properly installed lightning protection system will protect your sanctuary and the expensive equipment inside. Lightning protection also provides sanctuary for congregants to wait out the storm.
The NFPA estimates that lightning is responsible for an alarming 30 percent of church fires. Smart property owners do not neglect basic property and liability insurance, but many miss the boat on the insurance provided by lighting protection. While the range of consequences is wide, lighting protection can save valuable equipment, and even more valuable lives.
While some church boards may have faith that their building will be divinely protected from lightning, they should heed the words of St. Augustine: “Pray as though everything depends on God. Work as though everything depends on you.”