PLANO, TX – There is light at the end of the tunnel, and this time of quarantines and social distancing shall pass. Motorist driving down the George Bush Freeway outside Dallas, saw a shining reminder of this on Tuesday April 21 when First Baptist Plano broke ground on its new 10-acre campus. It was, as Steven Braucht, the church’s Minister of Worship and Communications stated in a Facebook post, “full speed ahead at this point.”
David McCauley, of the New Haven, Indiana-based CSD Group, which will be responsible for installing the AVL system in the new 49,000 square foot building, appreciates and shares the church’s enthusiasm. “Starting a project amidst a global pandemic may not be what you expect, but for FBC Plano the dream of a new facility has been a long time coming,” he said. “Like the church, we couldn’t be more excited.”
For McCauley, the ground breaking is a sign of things to come. “We’ve had multiple projects stall, as you can imagine, but things are already picking up,” he said. “Projects are coming back online — and now we’ve been seeing even more new projects starting as people have reevaluated what streaming and broadcast projects mean moving forward.”
On the latter point, McCauley notes that recent events have made First Baptist Plano glad it followed CSD Group’s advice about going with a CHAUVET Professional LED stage lighting system anchored by Ovation ellipsoidal fixtures. “CSD has been working with FBC Plano designing and dreaming about the new campus,” he said. “Like a lot of mid-sized congregations (the church has 1,300 members), there was some push back on budget for proper stage lighting, but future-oriented vision won the day.”
As a result of this decision, First Baptist Plano, which traces its roots back to a Saturday in 1852, will have a lighting system ideally suited for the increased broadcast and livestreaming demands expected to be placed on houses of worship in the post coronavirus age. “Lighting for on-camera applications is where churches of all sizes want to be in the future,” he said. “It’s the way to reach people – ‘camera lens missionary,’ so to speak.
“Now with fresh eyes focused on the ‘new reality,’ the FBC is happy to be investing in proper lighting for video,” continued McCauley. “All who once did not understand the value of broadcast looks, color and proper face lighting are now singing praises of the forward thinking!”
The long-term impact that this moment in history will have on the way people communicate will extend far beyond houses of worship, believe McCauley. “As a country and a world even, individuals and organizations are having to reevaluate how they reach people,” he said. “The importance of seeing things through the eye of the lens in communication has never been greater.
“These times may be a challenge, but they’re having a positive effect in many ways,” continued McCauley. “We are seeing some good things come out of this: families are spending more time together, people are having time to learn new things, and Ministries are able to reach different demographics, whether it’s a small church reaching 70 people instead of its normal 40, or a larger church with a more dramatic increase in its following.”
McCauley recalls being told by one bishop friend of his, how his church’s online audience jumped from a few thousand to over 50,000 viewers globally. As this demonstrates, he says, broadcasts and livestreaming have created a “new world” for churches. Thanks to its stage lighting system, First Baptist Plano will be able to take advantage of all the opportunities created by that world once its new church opens and COVID-19 fades into history.