By Jeff Ziolkowski, Pastor of Technical Arts
Every church faces growth questions. CVC is no exception. We are either growing or dying. These questions are being asked and answered by our Pastors, staff and Elders as they prayerfully determine which direction the Lord would have us move as a church (1 Corinthians 3:7).
What you may want to know is how we as a church are preparing for any and all possibilities as the Lord prepares us for His growth. One area that has to be considered is that of technology. A church is not the building in which we meet; it is the collection of the lives, experiences, giftings and relationships that God has placed in a particular location through His people. However, the physical plant (the building and its systems) is where each of us to gathers together to worship God and fellowship with His people. And that physical plant runs on various kinds of technology that need maintenance and upgrading.
The word “technology” usually brings to mind smart phones, iPads, computers, printers, and televisions. This is true, but there are many more pieces of technology that allow each of us to enjoy the worship experience on a weekend. Lighting consoles, LED light fixtures, sound mixers, microphones, amplifiers, computers, video switchers and many other pieces also go into the putting together of a weekend worship service. As we prepare for growth, we look at what will allow us to achieve multiple goals at the most effective cost. This very process is currently underway as you read this.
In 2004, a system for presenting lyrics and videos on the projection screens in the worship center was constructed with the best technology available at the time. At that time, cameras, recorders, routers and video switchers were also added for use in both projection of images and recording of services for use on the internet and elsewhere. That equipment served CVC well for almost 10 years … much longer than the life-expectancy of most technology. But the wear-and-tear of daily use took its toll, as did the natural progression of technology advancements.
In 2013, it was determined that we needed to begin looking forward in what we wanted to do with video technology specifically. We prayerfully determined that an increased presence on the web was necessary for the growth of CVC and its ability to reach more people with the good news of “new life in Christ.” We benefitted from waiting a few years after the nationwide implementation of HDTV among broadcast television stations in 2009 to take advantage of decreased costs for cameras and other high-definition (HD) video gear. It was also carefully considered that an increased presence on the web should be done at a level of quality that would put us on par with the other video offerings available (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, Roku and Apple TV).
So, in the summer of 2013 we began a refit of the video gear in our Worship Center. Previously, we had multiple standard-definition (SD) handheld cameras that were purchased back in 2004, and we had two SD robotic cameras to allow us capture services without sacrificing additional seats in the room. We purchased high-definition handheld and robotic cameras to begin the transition to HD that most local television stations had already made four years prior.
Once the cameras had been purchased, a way of mixing together the HD signals from those cameras along with the SD signals from other gear within our building needed to be purchased. Multi-format switchers, as they are called, are an amazing leap forward in technology that didn’t exist until the latter part of the previous decade. And in the years since, again, the price of those types of switchers has drastically been reduced. In December of 2013, we looked at the uptick in the generosity of CVC’s people and the under-spending of our staff and determined that the time was right for taking the next step toward HD in the presentation and recording of video at CVC. We purchased a high quality video switcher that will allow us to do everything we need to do now to record and present high-quality HD video, and also allow us to grow in the near future toward whatever God may have planned for us as a church.
The next step we took as a team was to implement live-streaming in the first quarter of 2014. We now have the ability to not only record and upload videos to our website, we can now invite viewers from all over the globe to participate with us in our worship services in real-time on the weekends in HD. You may have noticed that our teaching pastors are now using phrases like “and we welcome those of you who are watching us online” and “if you want to connect with us from home, you can email us.” This is part of the process of opening up the ministries of CVC beyond the doors of this facility in Broadview Heights. We now have a worldwide audience to whom we can minister the truths of God’s Word and whom we can invite to new life in Christ. We have ideas that include ways we will use this technology to reach those in Northeast Ohio as well.
There are a couple of steps we have yet to take in bringing the HD quality images back into the worship center and throughout the facility. We are again prayerfully considering the budget and the age of our equipment as we move in this continued direction to offer our best both to God and those whom He wants to reach through the technology we use. I will keep you up-to-date on those changes in a future posting.
Thank you so much for allowing me to serve Christ and you here at CVC.