We are three weeks into our new service at the Elkhart campus. Week one attendance was 738. Week two 548 and yesterday we had 552. The service is held in a movie theater on two or three screens (depending on how many we need) and is 100% video...beginning to end...no live elements. Why in the world would we do that? It's a great question. And this morning I read a portion of an email from our senior pastor, Mark Beeson, answering this very question asked by another pastor. Here is an excerpt:
Great to hear from you! Thanks for the encouragement on the mulit-site efforts. Elkhart is our first...and we're planning many more.
Since architecture shapes expectation, we're planning to maximize the potential of theaters. People come to the movies expecting to be moved emotionally. They don't expect anyone to talk to them during the show. They don't feel strange laughing out loud, shedding a tear or feeling deep deep emotion. With lights low they watch the screen and occasionally, when it's a great moment, they even applaud!
With this "virtual" strategy, we are able to multiply services at the lowest cost imaginable.
If you offer ANYTHING live....you must have sound (that means speakers, mixers, cables, amps and brilliance at the mixing board. You MUST have lights (and they cost too). If you add live music you need floor monitors (or in-ear-monitors) and the mix becomes all the more critical. We used 3 theaters on Sunday! Imagine the cost of equipping all 3 theaters with sound and light equipment...and making sure each had fantastic music that we brilliantly mixed! (Staggers the mind, doesn't it....)
With our strategy, we can multiply services at a MIUCH LOWER cost than other multi-sites across America demand. The jury is out on whether it will work....but I'm hopeful! I believe it will!
So, we are doing something that NO ONE is doing (that we know of...or our consultants know about). We are doing the whole service on video.
A pretty good answer. Again, the verdict is still out. But we are three weeks into it and the results so far are astounding us!