Give me Liberty…

This weekend at fresh life we had our first service in our siamese-sanctuary, the Liberty theater! We are calling it our siamese-sanctuary because it is not really a satellite campus, and it isn’t just an overflow venue either. It is a 90+ year old movie theater about a block away from the Strand, which is our current 90+ year old theater, that we have been meeting in for almost two years now. We closed on the Liberty on September 11th of this year and have spent the last two months cleaning, painting, building out the stage, connecting the two theaters with state of the art fiber-optics, installing an HD projector & killer sound system and converting the concessions stand into a fully functioning espresso bar.

The body at fresh life engaged in the project in a major way. So many skilled and generous people spent hundreds and hundreds (no exaggeration) of hours pimping the building out for Jesus. (did I really just type that?) The work continued right up until the eleventh hour Saturday night but it was all worth it when both the Strand and the Liberty were filled with people worshipping God and studying His word Sunday morning. And best of all, no one had to shiver through service watching a screen outside the Strand on the sidewalk! 🙂

In case you are wondering how it all works (that’s what I would be wondering if I were reading this) both venues have live worship teams, pastors, their own ushers, greeters, security, and new believer’s counselors. In that respect it is very much like a traditional satellite campus except they share a common children’s ministry and, thanks to the fiber-optics, the message is also shared between the venue’s. The building I teach at in person (which will switch from week to week; randomly and unannounced) broadcasts the message in 720p to the other theater’s screen.

By God’s grace and thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers everything went great and the worship services were synchronized to within seconds of each other as we approached the teaching. (for any pastors wondering how they stay in sync, we are relying on a variable length meet-and-greet to absorb any latency that accumulates during worship and announcements.)

Even though there were a number of areas where we saw a need for tweaks It was encouraging to hear that several people said they were able to engage in the video teaching better than normal because in person faces on the stage are smaller than they are blown up on the screen. The fact of the matter is we know the power is in God’s Word, no matter how you hear it. We saw that firsthand when people responded to the gospel invitation, making public professions of faith at both buildings this weekend.

It was so exhilirating for Jennie and I to spend half of the worship time in each building before teaching at the Liberty. As far as I am concerned, extreme sports have nothing on ministry when it comes to raw excitement! Jesus said that He would build His church and it is an intense thrill to see Him keep His promise. In this season of ministry God has given us a new way to verbalize our mission as a church and we use it to fuel everything we do: “That those stranded in sin might find life and liberty in Jesus Christ.”

Here is a shot one of our photographers put together showing the message simultaneously occurring on the stage at the Liberty and on the screen at the Strand: