Change is something that’s constant. Change when technology is involved may even be quicker. Every year, it seems new technologies transform what’s possible and this brings church leaders new opportunities when incorporating them into their church building. Here’s an example where we helped church leaders update a church design without investing in a full renovation or new church building.
Understanding How Technology Has Changed
One changing technology trend over the last 30 years is size. In the 1990s, then-modern audiovisual components, recording technology, and monitoring equipment were all large and bulky. This meant that if a church invested in technology in those days, they needed a large, dedicated, and well-air-conditioned room in which to use all that equipment.
Fortunately, everything is much more streamlined today. Multiple AV components can be integrated into a single system, monitored by fewer people. This means less space is needed to house the equipment, usually meaning that space is already available in a church building to handle new tech.
Struggling to Imagine Modern Technology in an Older Church Building
Updating to modern technology has made it possible for church leaders to stream worship with smaller devices that are relatively simple to operate.
Now, even though people are coming back to church for worship, that thirst for the latest technology remains. The Church of the Messiah is a great example of how integrating new technology into a church design can be accomplished without a total renovation.
This before and after picture shows a number of elements that needed addressing. Church leaders wanted to keep a traditional style of worship, but they wanted more flexibility and technological capability.
One challenge: they wanted to keep their pipe organ. Behind that screen at the front of the church are five chambers holding hundreds of organ pipes. Those couldn’t be moved.
Church leaders also wanted more space on the podium up front than they could get with both the built-in organ console and choir taking up so much room. Another issue was that the lighting, which wasn’t easily dimmable, used older wiring, and involved multiple confusing combinations of light switches to operate. You can also see that their online camera is perched precariously on the center of the balcony railing.
Bringing This Church Design into the Twenty-First Century
As shown in the after photo, we were able to bring Church of the Messiah into the twenty-first century. We removed the paneling in front of the organ pipes and installed a custom-shaped permeable video projection screen which allows the organ pipes’ sound to transmit easily. The organ console and choir risers are moved off the platform, giving them additional flexibility in how that central focal point can be used.
We’ve installed this brand-new technology booth (a great example of how much smaller modern tech has become) that centralizes control with minimal loss of seating. That camera is now installed on a small built-in table for better stability. The pastor has told us that his favorite upgrade is the lighting, which can now all be controlled with the touch of a button.
One other change we made was to remove the first few rows of pews in the front of the worship space and replace them with chairs in a very similar style. This allows church leaders increased flexibility for putting an orchestra on the floor, for example.
Obviously, there are many options for integrating modern technology into an older church building, but every situation brings a different set of challenges. If you’re ready to talk with professionals about a technology upgrade, contact us today. Meanwhile, you can also keep up with the latest church design wisdom by signing up for our free i3 webinars here.