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Portable Churches

Jan 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman


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It's an annual event for Sound & Video Contractor to kick off a new year with a houses-of-worship extravaganza, and this issue is no exception, as you will see on the pages that follow. However, our coverage of this important market is hardly limited to the print magazine. Indeed, besides the podcast series he hosts as part of the Sound & Video Contractor Houses of Worship enewsletter twice each month, my pal Bennett Liles recently led a webcast for our readers titled “Three Technology Trends That Will Change AV for Worship.” Perhaps some of you joined the event. If you didn't, you can still check it out at svconline.com/webcasts. Among other trends, Bennett discussed the notion of portable churches. (The other trends he discussed were digital audio on Ethernet and Internet broadcasting — two subjects we will be examining in depth on these pages this year.)

I found that part of the discussion particularly compelling because it illustrates, ironically, that the notion of portable churches is salient to our core readers — the permanent installation crowd. Indeed, Bennett suggests that this trend is actually something that, if we weren't talking about the delicate world of faith, we might refer to as a logical extension of a brand or a business. The same technology developments that have generally empowered worship installations to leap far beyond their predecessors have also allowed them to jump outside their own walls — to extend their message, and their ability to communicate that message, to the larger community in new ways.

Bennett calls all this “the convergence of powerful forces.” As smaller, lighter, and easier-to-use audio, video, lighting, production, and postproduction gear has come down the pike to permit churches to transform into performance venues, it has also allowed them to go mobile in their quest to draw worshippers. Often, the same technology that preachers use in their main facility — or something similar to it — can now go on the road with them. They can also broadcast those road shows back to their main production center and straight into the community — sort of like high-tech revival meetings. The advent of smaller projectors, multichannel digital sound traveling down tiny Cat-5 cables, and folding/rolling AV gear that can move back and forth between the permanent venue and the traveling team has created what Bennett calls “a perfect storm” known as the portable church movement.

This convergence idea of how to multipurpose technology and techniques is something we'll be watching closely. It should be an exciting time for the industry — and this publication, with lots of new tools in the works to offer you this year. Stay tuned.



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