Published in April 2008

From Office Supplies To Global Ministry
By Dawn Allcot

AV and architecture transform retail space for worship use.

The T.L.Lowery Global Ministry Center in Cleveland TN.

The building that houses the T.L. Lowery Global Ministry Center in Cleveland TN is a converted Office-Max retail store, but you can’t tell by looking at it. The classic American architecture of the white building is defined by a rounded portico; pillars supporting the portico flank the tall front door. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels have been replaced by two smaller rows of windows. “Imagine it without the columns and the portico,” said Bill George, secretary of the T.L. Lowery Global Foundation, “and you have an OfficeMax!”

It takes quite a bit of imagination, however, to picture this distinguished building as a bustling retail space. Even inside, the structure reveals no hints of its former life. Visitors to the ministry center enter a circular lobby, where they are greeted by a Panasonic 42-inch plasma screen for digital signage, which displays news about upcoming events and information about the center. Glass display cases on either side of the lobby showcase pieces of history from T.L. Lowery’s 60-year career as a Pentecostal evangelist, pastor and denominational executive.
The 24,800-foot, $4.5 million ministry center also houses an 850-seat sanctuary/auditorium with state-of-the-art AV systems, media studios for recording and broadcast, a boardroom, bookstore, prayer room and office space.

‘Not A Church’

The T.L. Lowery Center is not a church, representatives are quick to point out. The home of the T.L. Lowery Global Foundation, the center exists as an educational venue for evangelistic pastors. “Prior to building the center,” said Ministries director Greg Casto, “Dr. Lowery worked out of an office and toured the world. Building a central location is a vision he’s had for many years. The Lord spoke to him about having a place where he could bring people together to mentor and teach them, a place where he could be a leader to church leaders.”
While high-profile guests in the Pentecostal/Charismatic community offer high-energy worship services during the Friday Night Fire series, the ministry center’s purpose is teaching and ministry development as modeled by T.L. Lowery. Upcoming events include an Evangelism Certification course and the International Conference on Spiritual Impartation, a four-day event featuring T.L. Lowery, Perry Stone and Greg Casto, and hosted by Pastors Ron and Alice Scott.
Situated next door to the Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland’s main retail center, the ministry center is located in a bustling section of the modest city. Dr. Lowery’s son discovered the building while driving through town one day. When he pointed it out to his father, the senior Lowery knew the Lord had led him there to fulfill his vision of creating a gathering place where evangelists could learn.

“It’s in a high-traffic area…a very desirable location,” said George. “It’s in an area with a lot of hotels and restaurants, which is important for the type of training we do, where we bring people in from other places.” He added that renovating an existing building was much more economical and sensible than starting from scratch with new construction.

From Shopping To Worship

Transforming a former big box retail store, with its high ceilings and parallel wall surfaces, into an acoustically superior sanctuary capable of hosting musical acts of all sizes, Friday night high-energy worship services and classroom instruction for large groups of evangelists posed several challenges, according to acoustical consultant James S. Brawley, president of James S. Brawley & Associates, Inc.

Clemson SC-based Brawley, who completed the sound design for the space, worked closely with Sam Arnold of Southern Digital Products, Inc., the project’s Huntsville AL-based audiovisual installer.

“It’s an educational auditorium with live music performance and evangelical instruction,” Brawley said. “So the criteria was to have a robust music amplification sound system with enough inputs and outputs to handle typical worship music bands normally found in a Pentecostal church, including several voices, praise team, horns, string, keyboards, organ, drums, guitars and basses.”

Arnold added, “They run a very high level of live sound in the sanctuary. I expected it to be a high level of sound, but it turned out even higher than I expected.”

The high ceilings and parallel wall surfaces created acoustical challenges when it came to achieving the desired sound quality. Brawley specified acoustical treatments on the back wall; additional sidewall treatment was recommended, and may be installed at a later date.
High Ambient Noise

Another challenge was the high ambient noise levels created by the HVAC system, much of which was reused from the venue’s OfficeMax days. The contractors installed a lay-in ceiling with acoustical panels to block some of the noise, and Brawley worked with the HVAC contractors to route ductwork in such a way that it created less ambient noise in critical areas of the auditorium.

Brawley specified that Yamaha IF2115 two-way full-range loudspeakers with 15-inch woofers be placed in an arc to cover the entire sanctuary. The speakers are placed in a semicircle around an eight-foot extension off the front of the 20'x15' stage. Brawley determined optimal speaker placement using modeling software. The speakers are powered by a collection of Yamaha PC-3301N and PC-6501N power amps. Two Yamaha IS1218 subwoofers were added, along with four Yamaha IF2112/AS floor monitors. Four IF2108 speakers can be configured as compact floor monitors or front fill floor speakers.

“One of the requirements was to have sufficient stage monitor mixes and loudspeakers to give them a lot of flexibility in the way they might set up the performance platform for different musical groups,” Brawley said. “It’s different from a church in that they don’t have the same band for every service.”

The floor monitors complement an Aviom A in-ear monitoring system, which Brawley said has been well received by touring performers. The system includes six Aviom A 1611 personal mixers, an A-16D Pro A-Net distributor and a 16/0 Y1 Yamaha A-Net Card to connect it to the FOH mixer, a Yamaha LS9 digital console, expanded from 32 channels to 40.

“Most musicians are able to home right in on the system,” Brawley said.
Visitors enter a circular lobb featuring a plasma that displays news about upcoming events and information about the center.

Preconfigured System

The monitoring system is preconfig-ured because most instruments tend to show up in the same position regardless of what band is performing. The mixing console makes it easy to make minor adjustments to the system, as well. Brawley said, “In addition to feeding each instrument to the musicians so they can mix themselves, I feed two of the channels as a left and right PA mix. If anyone gets confused, he can dial those in and hear the same mix that is coming out of the PA on his Aviom station.”

Two Marantz CDR510 dual CD player/recorders play background music. One recorder can receive a direct digital output from the mixer for live audio recording. “Having the output available directly from the digital console into the CD player both on record and playback is one of the advantages of the LS9,” Brawley said.

A selection of AKG microphones, including orchestra, choral, earset, instrument and lav mics, plus 14 channels of wireless capabilities, rounds out the audio segment of the project.

Video Capabilities

Arnold described the installation as a three-part process, comprised of live sound, AV (which included the digital signage in the lobby and video screens in the sanctuary) and broadcast television equipment.

The sanctuary/auditorium features two 72"x96" Draper screens, placed about 10 feet to the left and right of the stage. These screens receive images from a pair of Panasonic PT-D5600U projectors. Arnold noted that the drop ceiling, in addition to the surface ceiling lighting system and television lighting, posed some challenges to proper video system placement. “We had to get them to make some modifications to the lighting systems to accommodate the screens and projectors,” he said.

The projectors receive inputs from a JVC VCR/DVD/SVHS combo recorder, a JVC DVD recorder and four Hitachi Z4000W cameras for image magnification. A TV One switcher converts the various video formats to RGBHV. An Extron RGBHV router feeds the video screens and the plasma monitor in the lobby, permitting each screen to receive an independent feed from the media server, cameras or another source.

The sanctuary/auditorium also includes a 32-inch Sharp LC32D40U LCD monitor, placed on the stage as a confidence monitor for the guest speaker. Originally, this piece of equipment was slated to go in the lobby display case as part of the digital signage package; another Sharp LCD monitor was purchased for the same purpose, but has not yet found a home in the facility.

Plasma Feeds

The plasma screen in the lobby receives content from a Key West MX-A single-channel media server w/NTSC, as do the projectors. In addition to showing pre-programmed material, the plasma can receive a feed from the sanctuary cameras to show the services or classes taking place in the sanctuary. The server allows ministry center tech staff to mix live or recorded video with pre-designed graphics for a compelling digital signage presentation.

All video is controlled by a Crestron CP2E control processor, through a TPS 4000 10-inch touchpanel located in the broadcast studio.

The broadcast control room sits about 15 feet from the left of the stage, directly behind the front wall of the auditorium. Through streaming video on the web and broadcast television shows, this room and its contents further permit T.L. Lowery to fulfill his vision of teaching evangelism across the world.

Through four Hitachi cameras located in the main sanctuary/auditorium, operators can capture classes and services in the auditorium for streaming over the web or for projection into the lobby. Services and classes can be recorded and sent out for editing; in-house editing capabilities are in future plans for ministry center. Four TVLogic LVM-170W 17-inch rack-mounted LCD monitors receive feeds from the four camera sources.

A Clear-Com intercom system permits communication among those in the broadcast control room and the auditorium. The system consists of an SB-440 four-channel switchboard main station, a four-channel, four-wire interface, three CC-260 double-ear headsets, three CC-95 single-ear headsets, dual GM-18 18-inch gooseneck mics located in the broadcast studio, two RM-220 remote stations with two channels each and three RS-602 belt packs.

View of the auditorium from the console position.

FOH Mixer

The LS9 FOH mixer also functions as a broadcast mixer. According to Brawley, this was not the ideal solution but, with help from Yamaha staff, it was turned it into an effective, cost-saving alternative not having independent mixing consoles for broadcast and PA. The LS9 was configured so the first layer of faders operates the PA and the second layer handles the broadcast mix. “With the instant recall, you can actually send two different mixes to those two places easily, with only one operator,” Brawley explained.

“If we didn’t have the technology available,” said George, “we would be limited only to the impact we could make on the city of Cleveland TN, which is a small town of about 38,000. Having this state-of-the-art broadcast technology enables Dr. Lowery to reach out to a much larger audience.”
He continued, “More important than just the worship experience is the training that takes place here. By having the technology available, we’re able to make Dr. Lowery’s classes available to a much wider audience. It extends the ministry and teaching opportunities exponentially.” n



Oceaneering Entertainment Systems
With offices in Florida and Maryland, Oceaneering Entertainment Systems (OES) provides standalone and turnkeyservices for the entertainment industry: concept development, engineering, production and installation. Fieldservices include system repair, maintenance, refurbishment and diagnostics. OES specializes in underwater and land systems, medium/large dynamic mechanical systems, show action equipment and specialized ride systems.

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2 AJA D10AD A/D converters
2 AJA D10C2 D/A converters
Bittree patch panels, patch cords
Canon 13X, 20X lenses w/no extender
1 Canon 19X lens w/extender
1 Clear-Com SB-440 4-channel switchboard main station
2 Clear-Com GM-18 18" gooseneck mics
1 Clear-Com IF4-B4 4-channel 4-wire interface
2 Clear-Com RM-220 2-channel remote stations
3 Clear-Com RS-602 2-channel belt packs
3 Clear-Com CC-260 double-ear headsets
3 Clear-Com CC-95 single-ear headsets
1 Evertz X1201S 12X1 SDI switcher w/control panel
2 FEC RKMV5 rackmounts
1 FEC RKSPAJ250 dual rackmount
1 FEC RKSPAJ75 rackmount
1 Grass Valley 8900FFN high-power GeckoFlex modular
universal frame
2 Grass Valley 8901 Gecko distribution amps
2 Hitachi RM-Z3 dual rackmounts
4 Hitachi Z4000W cameras
1 JVC SR-DVM70US DVD recorder
2 JVC SRMV50US VHS multi-standard VCRs
2 JVC SRMV50US, combo DVD-R recorder/S-VHS decks
2 Link 812-OP/A black burst modules
1 Link SPG-812/SD master sync generator w/frame
2 Marco ER7030-01 30" deep 40RU 70" equipment racks,
5 Marshall VR-63P triple 5.8" widescreen LCD monitors
1 Marshall V-R84DP-2C 8.4" LCD monitor
12 Middle Atlantic PD-815R-PL 8-outlet power conditioners
4 Mohawk M80646 300' triax cables
1 Panasonic AJ-SD93 DVC Pro 50/25 switchable VTR w/SDI input
1 Panasonic AJ-SD930B DVC Pro 50/25 switchable VTR w/edit
1 Ross S100-001SL Synergy 100 digital production switcher
4 TVLogic LVM-170W 17" LCD monitors w/rackmount
1 Videotek VTM-OPT. 1 audio level, phase measurement option
1 Videotek VTM-200 serial digital/analog multi-format
onscreen monitor
2 Vinten 3525-3S Vision 250 systems
1 Vinten Vision 100 head, dual pan bars, two stage
3 Vuetech VF2 R2P remote panels
1 Vuetech VF2 R4S remote panel
1 Wohler AMP2A-10S 20 input analog audio monitor
2 Yamaha HS50M-CA powered active speakers, monitor
1 Yamaha MV12/6-CA audio mixer
House Sound
4 AKG C451B orchestra mics, choral mic
1 AKG C477WR-L/P earset mic
2 AKG CK77WR-WL lav mics
4 AKG D22XLR instrument mics
3 AKG PS 4000 wireless antenna splitters, multi-couplers
3 AKG PT400 body pack transmitters
12 AKG WMS receivers
8 AKG WMS 400/880 handheld transmitter receivers
4 AKG WMS 400/C400 handheld transmitter receivers
6 Aviom A-1611 personal mixers
1 Aviom A-16D Pro A-Net distributor
1 Aviom Aviom16/0 Y1 Yamaha A-Net Card
6 Aviom L50 layflat cables
1 BTX DP-C0518 8 port Ethernet switch
1 BTX PD-PP110C5E24 rackmount Cat5 patch bay
BTX YD-PC6GRY5 3', 5' Cat5 patch cables
3 FSR FL500 series floor box assemblies
8 Lowell RPC-1 sequenced
power strips
2 Lowell RPSW-MR rackmount
power switches
1 Lowell SCS8 8 step sequencer
2 Marantz CDR510 dual CD
2 Marco C-3-8 caster base for
1 Marco ED3472 edit desk
1 Marco ER7030-01 70" equip-
ment rack, 30" depth, 40RU
3 Middle Atlantic PD-815R-PL 8
outlet power conditioners
14 Pro Co Sound AQ-25 25'
mic cables
4 Pro Co Sound DB-1 direct boxes
Pro Co Sound custom plates,
1 Tripp Lite 500RT 1RU Smart 500VA rackmount w/6 outlets
1 Yamaha DME-24N audio processor w/crossover network
4 Yamaha IF2108 fold back speakers
4 Yamaha IF2112/AS floor monitors
4 Yamaha IF2115 2-way full-range speakers w/15" woofers
2 Yamaha IS1218 subwoofers
1 Yamaha LS9-32 32-channel mixer
1 Yamaha MY8AD24 8-line input expander
2 Yamaha PC-3301N power amps
3 Yamaha PC-6501N power amps
2 Chief CMA-0305 extension columns
2 Chief CMA-115 flat ceiling plates
2 Chief CMA-347 vibration damper mounts
1 Chief MTR-XXXX 37" plasma panel mount
1 Chief PRO 2051 lockable tilt wall mount
2 Chief RPA-440 inverted ceiling mounts
2 Draper 253037 72"x96" screens
1 Key West MX-A single-channel media server w/NTSC
1 Key West MX-A/XVP2 MX-A w/EDITOR, (MC) MediaCreator
4 Magenta MultiView UTx universal transmitters
4 Magenta MultiView AK500 receivers
1 Marshall V-R1042DP-XGA dual 10.4' XGA/DVI
LCD rackmounted monitor
3 Middle Atlantic 8-outlet power conditioners
1 Middle Atlantic shelf keyboard, LCD monitor, mouse
2 Panasonic PT-D5600U 5000 lumen projectors
1 Panasonic TH42PH9UK 42" plasma display w/speaker kit
1 Pesa PR128V5A2-P 12X8 RGBHV, stereo audio, local panel
4 QSC AD-S52 speakers
2 Sharp LC32D40U 32" LCD monitors
2 TV One 1T-V1280HD video to PC/HD scalers
1 TV One A2-2000 analog audio switcher
1 TV One C2-5200 dual-channel video processor
1 Crestron CP2E control processor
1 Crestron TPS 4000 10" touchpanel
5 Crestron ST-Com dual com interfaces
1 Crestron CN2-Hblock interconnect block

List is edited from information supplied by Southern Digital Products, Inc


James S. Brawley & Associates, Inc.

James S. Brawley has been an independent audio systems design consultant since 1981. Prior to launching JSB&A, he was the applications engineer for JBL Professional Products. During his time with JBL, he was fortunate enough to work with world-renowned experts in the field of acoustics and loudspeaker system design, including John Eargle, D.B. Keele, Mark Gander and George Augspurger.

Clemson SC-based JSB&A is a full-service acoustical and sound system design firm that has provided acoustic and sound system designs for 1000- to 4000-seat auditoriums, theaters, athletic and concert venues, educational facilities, and worship spaces. The company’s services include sound system and acoustic design as well as AV presentation consultation. In conjunction with JSB&A professional associates, the company also offers consultation in the areas of HVAC systems noise, stage equipment, theatrical and entertainment lighting, and video production.

Brawley’s recent house of worship projects include extensive audio systems for Thomas Road Baptist Church, former home of the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, in Lynchburg VA, and Roswell United Methodist Church in Roswell GA. He also completed sound design at Millbrook Baptist Church in Aiken SC.

“A lot of worship spaces are moving to a concert format, where it’s not just traditional choral and organ music, and musicians in an ensemble,” Brawley said. “There’s a big trend in worship facilities, where churches are including a performance stage with a proscenium and the musicians perform in a concert-type setting.” To accommodate his customers seeking this high level of sound quality in a worship venue, Brawley specifies what he calls a “worship concert system.”

In addition, the sound designer said he sees more and more churches building multi-purpose spaces for their youth congregation. It’s not unusual to see multi-purpose youth centers with athletic activities, video games and high-energy worship, complete with a worship concert sound system, all under one roof.

This type of multi-purpose facility allows a church to get more use out of a space, perhaps seeing it in use seven days a week, instead of one or two, and provides more value to its congregation while staying within a limited budget. Not unlike the multifunctional sanctuary/auditorium in the T.L. Lowery Ministry Center, these multi-purpose facilities continue to stretch the boundaries of audiovisual technology capabilities, as systems are designed to fill varying needs without compromising performance quality.

For more information, go to


Dawn Allcot is a freelance writer specializing in the audiovisual and health and fitness industries.

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