Forest Hill Church, a multisite church with three facilities in and around Charlotte, NC, has taken a somewhat unique approach to integrating AV technology and distance worship. Many multisite churches employ streaming media to connect their outposts with the main worship location, essentially synchronizing their services in real time. Forest Hill Church instead put its investment into HD video and multichannel audio to replay its Saturday night services—held at the main church in Charlotte on Sunday mornings—at its two satellite locations just over the state line in South Carolina.
The church decided on a multisite approach six years ago, when its main facility’s Saturday night and Sunday services were nearing the building’s 2,000-seat capacity. But Peter McKenzie, Forest Hill’s production director and a veteran AV and lighting systems specialist, was less than thrilled with the streaming media approach to distributing worship services.
“I am honestly not a fan of it,” he says. “I believe a worship experience needs to be live, with a worship leader and band, not piped-in video from another campus. I am okay with the live streaming experience via the Internet, but [it] is still not a replacement to worshiping in a live venue.”
Instead, McKenzie suggested using high-definition projection and advanced sound reinforcement systems to play back recordings of the main church’s Saturday night services on the satellite churches’ three screens. This involved recording the service using four Panasonic