Radiant Life Church in Sturgis, Michigan had a good problem.  Their church attendance was pushing the limits of the worship space, but it had far outpaced the lobby space.  The young and vibrant congregation was excited at the potential for growth but congregants felt stymied in the ability to effectively connect with others before and after services.

Responding to a Growing Congregation

While the sanctuary fit their needs in providing for their congregation and community, the leaders of Radiant Life Church knew the lobby space was too cramped and limited their ability to create a welcoming social space.  They reached out to the architects at Elevate Studio to help them realize their vision of a larger, more functional lobby space.  In turn, Elevate Studio brought in Tim Hamilton from Hamilton AV Design to create the AV plans for the space.

Defining Audio-Visual Goals for the Church

A number of goals for the audio-visual systems emerged in preliminary conversations with Elevate and the leaders of Radiant Life Church.  The system needed to include digital signage placed strategically around the space along with a number of ceiling speakers for background music.  Two additional video displays were to serve as both signage visible through the glass wall facing the parking lot as well as the front of a meeting area within the lobby.  Finally, these displays and speakers needed a way to tap into the sanctuary’s audio-visual systems to allow patrons in the lobby the ability to participate in the service from outside the sanctuary.

Addressing the Challenge of Ambient Light

The greatest challenge was ensuring the additional video displays could be seen from both the parking lot and inside the facility.  The large glass wall faced west, meaning any video display hung nearby would receive direct exposure to sunlight for well over half the day, reducing the clarity and brightness of the image to viewers.  While LED walls would have been a great solution, the church just didn’t have the budget to do LED walls in this phase of project.  To confront the issue on a more friendly budget, Tim called for the use of ambient light-rejecting screens from Screen Innovations and 10,000 lumen projectors from Panasonic, creating two projection systems more than capable of shining through the ambient light of the room.

Added Signage and Speakers in the Lobby

Other areas of the system also needed attention to make sure they functioned in an optimal manner.  Ceiling speakers installed at strategic points throughout the lobby now provide even audio coverage throughout the space, supported by a Crown amplifier with built-in DSP.  Digital signage LCD displays inform patrons of future events as well as offer a front-row seat to the Sunday service in multiple locations throughout the new lobby space.  Video distribution is handled via an AV over IP infrastructure, and a Crestron control system with 5” touchpanels provides users intuitive control over the equipment and signal routing.

“The new lobby space is fantastic!  We now have the space for so many additional ministry opportunities and the AV systems that Tim helped us with are an integral part of all the things that will be going on there.”

Ryan Bibb, Lead Pastor at Radiant Life Church

The project was awarded to Parkway Electric & Communications LLC and completed in the summer of 2020.  Now, the people of Radiant Life Church can now look forward to a season of growth with the facilities to support it.

Cover image credit: Jeff Tippett/Tippett Photo.