Based in Spokane, Washington, Sun City Church is an up-and-coming house of worship. It was founded in January 2015 by Pastors Danny and Jamie Schulz (they’re married to each other and have three kids). Sun City Church currently holds Sunday services in the cafeteria of Spokane’s University High School.
“Sun City is a ‘mobile church,’” said Pastor Danny Schulz. “We carry everything we need—including chairs for 288 people, a portable elevated stage, and our AV system—in two U-Haul trucks.”
Every Sunday before service the pastors and their congregation set the church up, hold the service, and then tear it down afterwards; like a rock band moving from town to town. It’s a daunting task, but Pastor Schulz doesn’t mind: “Doing the set-up and tear-down every week helps build our community through everyone working together,” he said.
Since Day One, Sun City Church has been committed to using AV in its worship service. “We believe that faith is nurtured through hearing the Word of God, and thus our mission is to communicate the Word as clearly as possible to our congregants,” said Pastor Schulz. “The effective using of AV helps us fulfill this mission.”
“Our first location was in a community center that was equipped with AV, so we didn’t have to buy our own,” he added. “But we quickly outgrew that space, which is why we moved to University High School. The downside was that the cafeteria doesn’t have AV, so we had to put together a package that was affordable, portable, and capable of communicating with our audience effectively.”
How Sun City Church Does It
As a church serving a young, family-oriented congregation, Sun City understands the power of contemporary Christian live music and plain-spoken, interactive sermons. This is why the church’s low-rise stage is key to providing stirring weekly services. It is also why the words used in those services—be they verses from the Bible or worship songs praising God—are projected onto two screens for everyone to see. (The church displays pre-recorded HD videos on these screens as well.)
Sun City’s projection screens of choice are two Elite QuickStand 5-Second Series QS180HD free-standing screens, each one sitting on their own platform on either side of the stage. Measuring 180" diagonally across its total display surface, the QuickStand can be pulled out of its floor-sitting case in seconds, thanks to this screen’s dual cross spring mechanism. The screen’s display surface is comprised of Elite's MaxWhite Fiberglass (FG) 1.1 Gain material with wide diffusion uniformity. The QuickStand’s ATA wheeled case is made of durable aluminum to stand up to repeated setups/teardowns and relocations; exactly what Sun City needs as a mobile church.
“We searched for a screen that would be mobile, easy, and fast,” said Kyle Menasco, Sun City Church’s Production Director. “Choosing the Elite QuickScreen was a no-brainer.”
The content for the Elite screen is fed from a Mac Mini computer. It is then displayed on the screens via two Optoma EH501 5000 lumens video projectors.
For audio, the various instruments and voice microphones are fed into a Behringer X32 Rack 16x8 digital audio mixer located back stage. With the additional Behringer S16 16x8 Digital Snake connected via the AES50 Digital I/O, the whole digital audio mixer provides 32x16 XLR connections in the back stage portable rack. The church’s AV crew controls the board remotely using an iPad or Android tablet running the X32-Mix app from MUSIC Research Group UK Limited. The musicians also have access to three Behringer P16-M 16 channel digital personal mixers.
“Each vocalist uses the Behringer X32-Q personal mixer app (iOS/Android) to set their own IEM mix directly from all 32-channels plus effects with the X32 Rack/S16 digital mixer,” said Ben Hinson, one of the church’s audio engineers/musicians. “The response from our vocalist has been incredible when they realize the power they have to fully control their own IEM mix."
To deliver audio throughout the cafeteria, “we have two JBL speaker stacks on either side of the stage; made up of two PRX712 12" full-range speakers, a PRX715XLF 15" subwoofer, and a PRX718XLF 18" subwoofer,” said Pastor Schulz. “We also have two JBL EON-610 10" monitors on stage, plus Galaxy Audio ANY SPOT AS-1100/AS-1800 wireless in-ear audio monitors.” Sun City Church uses Shure QLX-D and BLX wireless microphone systems (with KSM9, BETA 58A, and SM58 microphone elements, and Countryman E6 headset), plus Audix drum and overhead mics.
Sun City Church’s AV system fits nicely with this house of worship’s fast-turnaround mobile mandate. The AV system delivers the multi-media impact the church is looking for, while accommodating the congregation’s nomadic existence. Overall, the system is in line with Pastor Danny Schulz’s belief in the power of AV to deliver the Word of God; a faith he has held since starting work as a pastor ten years ago.
“Our AV system delivers audio and video with clarity and impact,” said Pastor Schulz. “At the same time, it is quick and simple to deploy and take away. This is precisely what we need to serve our congregation effectively in our University High School location, and to get it stowed into our U-Haul trucks until next week.”
James Careless is a regular contributor to AV Technology.