Preaching to the connected: The how of House of Worship broadcasting
Houses of worship are becoming a serious market in the broadcast tech sector. Michael Burns investigates new tools and ubiquitous streaming are helping one typical American congregation reach out
Houses of worship have represented a major vertical market within the broadcast and AV industries for some time, but technology advances continually provide new opportunities for ‘spreading the word’ much more effectively. With the rise of social media, congregations no longer only occuply physical seats for services – the congregation can exist wherever there’s a screen. And broadcasts from multiple sites are becoming increasingly common too.
One such enthusiastic tech adopter is SouthBrook Christian Church, near Dayton in the midwestern US state of Ohio. SouthBrook has been established for over thirty years, having gone from being a small group of people meeting in a school, to a church of 5,000 people – and still growing with two campuses, Miamisburg and Liberty.
“AV technology is used for many different purposes all around SouthBrook,” explains technical director Will Scott. “In the main theatre it is primarily used to communicate and educate our Lead Catalyzer’s [lead pastor] message for the week, as well as create an opportunity for people to engage in worship through music. This same principle is applied at various levels throughout the building in different-sized rooms. From the main theatre to our kids’ spaces and conference rooms, almost every room is equipped with both audio and video elements to support communication, education and worship.”
Scott has been working at the church since September last year. Prior to this he held roles as a volunteer mix engineer with various churches in the greater Cincinnati and Dayton area, and as part time technical director at an
Adventist church in Kettering.
As well as Scott, SouthBrook has a number of dedicated personnel for staging, lighting and recording the services, which mainly take place at the weekend, though some mid-week events are also scheduled.
“The Worship Arts staff are responsible for the larger venues, but we provide occasional support to the other spaces if a problem should arise,” explains Scott. “The operation of the spaces is carried out by teams of volunteers. We couldn’t make the weekend happen if it wasn’t for our volunteers.”