Posted in education on March 11, 2014 2:46 pm EDT

AV & Lighting: Specifying User-Friendly Products

What the church technical director knows that can help AVL designers and integrators

Northview Church’s Carmel, Ind., auditorium makes use of the Meyer line array. Image courtesy of Shaun Miller.











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TAGS: avl, design, integration, technology,


By Shaun Miller

People study for years to acquire the skills to design a great building with beautiful architecture, useful features, and elegant touches. However, that is only part of the job; beyond the aesthetics, every building has to incorporate functionality. The users of the building day in and day out need to be able to do their jobs and work effectively. In the church, many of those doing the work are oftentimes volunteers. These people are the ones the church survives on.

I am the production director for my church, [Northview Church in Carmel, Ind.]. My design and architectural abilities end after using a tape measure to find the area of a room. I’m not about to pretend I can compete on a design level with those who build churches every day. I often end up making a fool of myself trying to sound smart in design meetings by using words like, “Inline Rotary Girder.” So, why continue reading? Because what I can offer you is knowledge on regularly using the church building to its fullest potential.

Image courtesy of Shaun Miller.

My church home, and place of employment, is moving into its fourth year with a new, state-of-the-art auditorium. We are still at the top of the technological [spectrum], using audio, video, and lighting to engage our congregation; and my staff of full time production people is there to maintain the equipment and provide training. For the most part, though, we employ a team of volunteers to actually “produce” the services each weekend. The decision to equip as many volunteers as we can requires us to utilize equipment that is volunteer-friendly, easy to train on, and will stand up to continual use.

AVL must-haves for sacred spaces

This process of getting to the weekend begins way before services ever happen in a sanctuary or auditorium. It begins on paper during the design process (planning the infrastructure for what the congregation is doing and what they will want to do in the future). Recently, I spoke with design veteran and church consultant Church Walthall of Walthall & Associates (, asking him what he believes is the greatest invention for churches over the past 10 years. Walthall immediately responded with, “Cat5 Cable or Category Cable, it has changed everything.” I couldn’t agree more, with the market full of devices that allow you to transfer almost anything over a relatively inexpensive and universal cable, it is essential as a designer to plan on pulling more of that than you would ever need.  continued >>