Posted in education on September 30, 2015 12:33 pm EDT

Satellite Campuses: To Stream or Not to Stream

And how does a church’s decision impact architectural design?











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TAGS: avl design, multisite, video,


By Shaun Miller

Since [the multi-site] model works, designers have to get creative in finding ways to maintain the integrity of the church’s DNA from location to location….

I remember the first time I walked into a satellite church that was a “video venue.” The band was live, but the preaching was shown from the main/central campus and broadcast to this one. I went in thinking this would be a terrible experience, probably because of all the poorly produced sermon and teaching videos I had seen up to that point. How could you possibly have a meaningful church experience watching a screen?

Well, I was wrong, and I can admit that. It had its flaws but not nearly what I was expecting. There was potential, and while this first time of seeing it happen was in a rented movie theater, this was only a temporary stopping point for the congregation [on the way to its] new permanent building.

Some background

A 2010 Leadership Network survey found that churches that went multi-site by adding satellite campuses had on average a 90% success rate. Many churches are seeing the trend in adding these sites instead of enlarging their current locations, and even seeing satellites birthing satellites of their own.

Since this model works, designers have to get creative in finding ways to maintain the integrity of the church’s DNA from location to location, while church pastors and staff have to ultimately facilitate that. So what are ways that design and systems can help the congregation feel as connected when they are miles apart?

With the Internet a mainstream reality, the ability to stream content to other campuses is becoming more of a regular occurrence. Years ago only a few megachurches had what would be considered professional broadcast facilities in-house, with the ability to produce their services and transmit them anywhere via satellites. That left the majority of churches having to use a tape delay-style system.

At Northview Church in Carmel, Ind., (where this writer serves as production director), there are currently three campuses, with a fourth and fifth in the works. The concept of the satellites is to be "Northview" to that community. And from town to town the ministry must adapt, yet the underlying Northview DNA stays the same. The church has created a model of what all its campuses will look like, and then it adapts them for each community.  continued >>