Published in January 2007

The House of Worship Market
By David Lee Jr., PhD

The Big Picture, as I see it.

Editor’s Note: We are proud to have David Lee Jr., PhD, writing the monthly “House of Worship: Business.” A member of our Technical Council, David is CEO of Lee Communication Inc., Orlando FL. David’s extensive background includes more than 25 years of experience in the audio/video industry. And, as a licensed minister, he will be able to provide Sound & Communications readers with insight in the House of Worship segment that is not available anywhere else. International projects are his specialty, having worked in more than 50 countries, with current projects in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, as well the United States. Reader input is encouraged; tell David what you would like to learn, and comment on his columns by sending your thoughts to dlee@testa.com.

    Preachers of almost every faith share at least two common traits: They like to be seen and heard. From early history, we learn that rabbis often preached from lofty pulpits, that Jesus preached from a mountainside and that Muslim leaders climbed tall minarets to call followers to prayer. Today, many religious leaders still use these symbolic pedestals; however, of them also are using newer AV technologies to share their faith.
    As I see it, this is Good News for systems integrators, contractors and consultants in the AV industry.
    However, I know church leaders who are struggling with the use of newer technologies. Oddly, this is more Good News for us. The use and struggles that church leaders are experiencing suggests that we have a lucrative market to understand and pursue. We are presenting “House of Worship: Business” to address problems and point out opportunities in the House of Worship market. My goal is to provide insight into the House of Worship business. Here are a few topics we will discuss in future issues.
• As I see it, we have numerous new challenges and exciting opportunities in the House of Worship business. For example, we face the challenge of understanding the ever-changing implications associated with the transition from analog to digital communication technologies. The obvious implication that defines opportunities is that older (analog or digital) technologies are being replaced by new ones.
    In many cases, but not all, these newer technologies are less expensive, easier to use and do more than their predecessors. To the point, the increasing demand by church leaders for higher-definition audio and video technologies that enable them to generate, record, edit, duplicate and distribute their messages in ways that are current to the time we live in, means that we have many new opportunities to put new money in the bank!
• As I see it, another important implication of the transition from old to new is that the emergence, convergence and use of so many new communication technologies in worship facilities is expanding the role of the systems integrator, contractor and consultant in this sector. We have more opportunities, but we are no longer able to specialize in only one area of knowledge.
    I say this because, as mentioned earlier, I know hundreds of church leaders who want to create a media-rich experience during church services. These church leaders also want to distribute their messages to broadcast sources, on the internet and to portable media such as DVDs and iPods. So, as I see it, we must now integrate audio, video, lighting, signage and (oh, yes!) computer technologies that combine to form a holistic communication system that enables church leaders to create desired mediated experiences for their congregants.
• As I see it, most publications in our field describe the background, personnel, and equipment installed and used in large venues. We understand that this is the smart thing to do. I doubt many would read a publication containing only simple installations in small venues. Yet, small churches represent the majority in the House of Worship market. So, as I see it, their small beginnings represent opportunities that can yield profitable, long-term results.
• As I see it, large and small worship facilities share many of the same needs. For example, most churches have members who are handicapped, who are multi-ethnic, who are teenagers and who are small children. These specific groups have communication needs that, in part, can be addressed using newer media technologies. These and other unique people groups represent new opportunities for us to explore.
• As I see it, we have many exciting challenges and opportunities in the House of Worship market. Please tell me what you see. In conclusion, I am grateful to the administration of this industry-leading publication for allowing me the opportunity to interact with you each month.



David Lee Jr., PhD, is CEO of Lee Communication Inc., and a member of
Sound & Communications’ Technical Council. He travels worldwide consulting
with churches, organizations and governments. Send any comments to him at david@leecomm.tv.

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