Installation Trends: Expanding Worship
Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Kent Morris
How recent AV upgrades to two churches meet the needs of growing communities.
Greg Baker's journey at Saddleback Church began in 1992 when he started attending services at the Lake Forest, Calif., facility, and it progressed as he later turned his passion for AV equipment into a career at the venerable Orange County megachurch. Baker is now the church's technical arts director, responsible for overseeing the interwoven audio, video, and lighting systems spread across almost a dozen buildings on the site's 120 acres.
Saddleback's well-regarded pastor, Rick Warren, became familiar nationally in 2008 when he hosted presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain at a special forum on faith at Saddleback that was broadcast around the world, and he was recently asked by Obama to give the invocation at his January inauguration. But long before the forum, Warren had birthed a vision for relevant teaching and social outreach that has resonated with the thousands of churchgoers who worship at Saddleback each week.
However, as the congregants multiplied, the church campus began to resemble a Black Friday shopping frenzy with families rushing to find open seats in the packed sanctuary. Warren and his staff knew they needed to either build a larger main facility to house the throngs or develop a way to make the overflow rooms more in tune with proceedings in the sanctuary. After deliberation, the leadership decided to improve the multisite experience to a position equal to the one in the 3,200-seat main room. This concept became the basis for Warren's 10×10 vision of growth through satellite facilities, with 10 new regional campuses able to add 10,000 members to the Saddleback community.
The Saddleback technical team looked over its control room and knew immediately the video system was not up to the task of convincing multisite attendees they were part of a larger gathering. Baker called on TV Magic, a systems integrator out of nearby San Diego, to evaluate the jobs needs, remove existing equipment, and install a system capable of bringing the members of Saddleback into a unified community. TV Magic's owner, Pat Thompson, brought together his team — including lead installer Dwight Crumb — to partner with Dirk Carlson, the church's volunteer project manager, and Elaine Koehler, Saddleback's video director.
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