Reaping the Harvest
Southern California’s Harvest Christian Fellowship breaks the mold with its sixth and newest satellite campus. New Orange County location incorporates technologies not found in the church’s other venues.
Tags: audio, education, lighting, production, streaming, technology, video,
Many of us are familiar with the name Greg Laurie. His Harvest Crusade events, taking place throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand, have seen thousands of professions of faith in Jesus Christ.“I was working part time at a retail store,” describes Harvest Christian Fellowship Video Production Supervisor Ken Sanders, “and my parents called me at work one Sunday to say they were going to a thing called a Harvest Crusade that evening. They asked if I would like to go and I said yes. After getting off the phone I was trying to figure out what a Harvest Crusade was and asked one of my co-workers. He laughed and said, ‘Oh geez, it’s one of those Jesus things, like a big church service. Are you going to it?’ ‘No, I’ll get out of it,’ I told him, and spent the remainder of the day trying to figure out how to avoid going. For a greater reason, which was unclear to me at the time, I was not able to avoid it. I mostly remember thinking how hokey the music was and my being very critical of everything that was happening.”He continues, “Then they sang a song of how Jesus came from heaven to earth to pay for my sin, and that’s when I started listening intently to everything. Pastor Greg got up and said he was going to talk on ‘What Happens After We Die’ and my ears really perked up. This was very interesting to me because I had been thinking about this very thing all through high school. There were nights I couldn’t sleep because the thought of just not existing anymore was very frightening. Then at the end of his message he asked, ‘Have you been wondering this very thought and would you like to have the assurance that when you die you will go to heaven?’ I got up, not ever looking back at my family, and walked forward and prayed the sinner’s prayer. After praying I felt the need to turn around and found my whole family was behind me. This happened July 2, 1992, and it has been the best decision of my life.”Laurie’s ministry started with a small bible study that led to the formation of a church that he pastors to this day, beginning with Calvary Chapel in southern California. Then over time Laurie planted Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif.New Direction“About a month after that crusade I volunteered to usher at the Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.,” adds Sanders. “I found myself watching the camera crew and quietly saying to myself, ‘I want to do that one day.’ About a year later I started volunteering in the video ministry. Then in April of 2002, I was approached by the executive pastor about coming on staff as the first video staff person.”“We met for a time at Free Chapel,” states Michael Smith, AV technology director for Harvest, “and people started expressing an interest in having a permanent campus. A small campus was built down the road from Free Chapel, and when that space became too small for the growing congregation, [its] current location in Irvine was built.”Harvest continued to grow, adding satellite campuses in Woodcrest, Eastvale, South Corona, and its Spanish-speaking church, Cosecha, to extend the impact of the ministry. And recently, a new campus in Irvine has opened, bringing the reach of the weekly ministry back to its starting point. At the present time, Harvest sees an average weekly attendance of about 20,000.“Our service style is pretty basic: bible study and worship,” Smith describes. “We bring in a guest artist every now and then. Services tend to run about an hour and 15 minutes. We do use hazers and moving lights, and try to keep things similar between campuses. However, with the new Irvine campus we’ve stepped out of that mold and have tried out some new technologies, and it has lessened the feel of the Riverside campus being the ‘main’ campus. Pastor Greg teaches from Riverside for the first two services on Sunday, but then drives to the Irvine campus and teaches from there for the noon service, transmitting the teaching part of the service back to Riverside from there.”Video DisplaysOne of the biggest changes in outfitting the new campus, which resides in a remodeled industrial space, is in the video display technology.“At the Riverside campus we have a large video screen that drops down over the podium for video playback,” Smith reports. “For the Irvine campus, we started down the road of using projection. But after visiting a few churches in the Dallas area that were using LED walls, we looked into this as an option. My lighting designer had seen Absen LED panels at the LDI Show and was impressed, so I spent some time researching Absen as an option. What I discovered is that the LED walls were comparably priced to a projection system that would deliver a solid image for our space, and the LED walls were significantly brighter.”“To achieve what they desired using projection, they would have needed two 20,000-lumen projectors for the center screen, costing probably about $140,000,” says Paul Motal, president of Matrix Visual Solutions in Orange County, Calif., the contractor hired to do the LED video wall design and installation. “The product cost of the LED video panels comes in at about the same cost as projectors. However, installation costs are higher. The wall at Harvest weighed about 3,200 pounds, and required both ceiling support as well as a knee wall to take the weight that the building structure could not support.”While the installation costs are higher, Motal says that this cost is quickly made insignificant because the maintenance costs are significantly lower. “Within three years, the installation cost is absorbed, and after that, the total cost of ownership drops below the cost of projection.”Harvest was originally planning on using projection for the two side screens, but after seeing the impact of the Absen center screen, staff decided to go with LED video walls for the side screens, as well.Audio SystemsFor audio, Smith is a diehard fan of d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers, and all of the campuses utilize d&b cabinets.“D&b loudspeakers sound very natural and musical,” states Smith. “And all of their stuff sounds the same, no matter what line of cabinets you’re listening to. In our Riverside space we have the first installation of the Q series cabinets, and we’ve never had a component blow.”Spectrum Sound based in Nashville, Tenn., did the detailed design and installation of the audio system and video infrastructure. “We have used Spectrum for years,” adds Smith, “and they provide the live audio for our crusades. They've done most of our AVL work, both large and small.”
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