Published in January 2009

How To Be Optimistic In 2009
By David Lee Jr., PhD
In spite of challenges, the House of Worship segment should do well.

I expect 2009 to be an exceptional year for House of Worship business. There certainly are challenges facing our world and our industry. Every day, the news agencies bombard us with financial struggles on Wall Street and Main Street. We also see corporate and personal greed showing its ugly head.

The news coverage is valid to a point. But these agencies do not understand and, thus, do not present, the problem comprehensively. And they use selective sources (talking heads) to herald their depressing, and incomplete, claims. Furthermore, few sources, including our government, are offering any credible solutions.

So, you ask, “How can I be optimistic about 2009 while the world is in a mess?” Well, I travel the world all the time. In fact, as I usually do, I am writing this article while on a jet at 35,000 feet (plus or minus), traveling home from the Middle East and Europe.

There is no question that I see a world that is stressed. But I also see many countries that are solving far more complicated problems than our own. And they are solving their problems in ways that will yield positive, long-term results.

But specific to our discussion here, I am seeing extensive adoption and use of media technologies and information technology (IT) everywhere I go. This includes consumers and houses of worship in small, poor, developing countries, as well as here in the US.

Another reason I am optimistic about 2009 is that houses of worship are experiencing growth during our present economic and political unrest. Although finances and resources are stretched, many houses of worship are staying the course and moving forward with plans to expand or enhance their facilities and operations.

A large number of worship leaders realize this is not the first time in history that finances and politics are putting pressure on humanity. Nor will it be the last time. But, faith enables people to manage and overcome these challenges. Therefore, a growing number of people are attending worship services. This is Good News for worship business.

Generally speaking, I believe that high-definition (HD) technologies and information technology will be our saving grace in 2009. In fact, I am projecting that HD and IT makeovers and leap-overs will make up a large portion of my 2009 portfolio.

Like many of you, I am witnessing the changeover from standard definition (SD) to HD gear, much like when we began shedding cassettes for CDs and VHS for DVD. Today, worship leaders in the US and around the world are almost exclusively inquiring about, and purchasing, HD products such as video projectors, cameras, video editing gear and high-resolution audio equipment. Even in remote countries in Africa, Asia and South America, we have been designing and installing very good audio, video and IT systems in organizations and houses of worship. Until now, these countries had little, if any, media technologies. They are going from nothing to HD in a single leap as they enter our media-saturated world.

I believe that HD adoption here in the US will begin to gain momentum once the February 2009 changeover occurs.

This changeover, along with people choosing “staycations” (staying at home for vacation) will motivate the majority and late majority adopters to make the HD leap.

The changeover will lead content producers to purchase HD equipment and pursue HD workflows. In addition, HD and portable media delivery and distribution platforms will have to be created.

Thus, with these new possibilities in front of us, I believe we have credible cause to be optimistic about 2009.

The reality, however, is that we will have to work harder and smarter to build and maintain our optimism that will lead us to a profitable 2009. Here are three primary actions that I am taking to nurture my optimism, which I believe will lead me to experience a profitable year:

• First, and most obvious: Create a realistic and flexible business plan. Develop a new business model with fresh and personal communication approaches. Set goals for the year, for each month and for each day. Adjust the plan as needed.

• Second, be aware of market issues, but don’t consume large doses of TV or radio news. Their words are like drugs: They are intended to keep you hooked and stressed. The negativity will thwart your optimism and cause you to be less productive. Instead, consume news with moderation that will enable you to be aware of issues. And also consume media that will make you laugh, smile, and encourage and motivate you. There are far more possibilities out there than the news would lead you to believe.

• Third, do honest business. Greedy people often win the day. But, in the long run, greed and selfishness, as we are witnessing, eventually ruin lives.

I personally add prayer, good deeds and kind words for others to my daily life. Encouraging other people and helping needy people helps me to realize that my life is blessed.
One writer wrote: “The trail is the thing. Not just the thing at the end of the trail.”

I believe that we should all strive to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Thus, I also believe that, in spite of difficult times, we have many good reasons to be optimistic about 2009.
I want to know what you believe.

David Lee Jr., PhD, CEO of Lee Communication Inc., Orlando FL, is a licensed minister and has more than 25 years of experience as a systems integrator. He is a member of Sound & Communications’ Technical Council. Send comments to

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