By Dan Smith
As churches across the nation continue to embrace new technologies, Bobby Dennis sought to keep The Heights Baptist Church ahead of the curve. Dennis, technical director at the Richardson, TX, megachurch wanted to embrace not just technology, but the sort of thing that would impress, inform and entertain the congregation.
Dennis wanted a way to disseminate information – to share the week’s happenings, promote local events and support members of the congregation as they made a difference in the parish. What the Heights church needed was a way to do it so people would take notice.
Like many churches, The Heights determined the most appropriate way to do so would be through digital signage, a technology Dennis says has been working its way into houses of worship over the past few years.
“Today’s congregants are increasingly aware of and surrounded by technology used to create excitement and demand their attention – they now expect it,” says Dennis.
“Digital signage is actually a natural extension of technological support – the ability to deliver content in a presentation format that is visually striking, coupled with the ease of keeping the content current, increases the effectiveness of delivering information to the end-user,” says Dennis.
Churches are continuously improving the way they deliver messages, incorporating live presentations, pre-recorded videos, concert-grade sound systems, even lighting effects to immerse congregants in the worship experience. For The Heights and its thousands of members, digital signage pulls that technology-enhanced worship into the rest of the facility’s services, like youth ministries, music programs and community outreach. Dennis sought to upgrade The Heights’ use of low-tech posters, printed flyers and handouts to easy-to-create, appealing and up-to-date content on digital signage.
The church also needed to make sure each department would be able to use the new technology to support their efforts, so he needed something that could be updated locally and simply.
The church is using LG’s EzSign TV, a turnkey solution he chose primarily for its “ease of use, allowing each department to be self-sustaining.” After installing the first EzSign in the children’s area, he and the administrative assistant downloaded the software provided online and were freely creating signboards within a half hour. Each department would now be able to promote upcoming events, share campus-wide news and post photos and videos from recent activities themselves.
In only a few months, the display has already become an integral part of the children’s ministry. “The display has proved an invaluable tool when new prospects visit the children’s area in our church,” says Dennis.
Useful not only for its ability to attract attention, the new displays are also helping Dennis and his team to support parish programming. “The display is exciting, and with new content changes weekly, everyone who walks past the area becomes aware of the exciting things happening in the children’s program. It has enhanced program support — we’re getting more volunteers.”
The Heights Church has since made plans to incorporate the devices throughout all departments. Dennis wanted to share not just information, but photos, slide shows, promotions and video content – a tall order when budget is a concern. Because the software has been so easy to update, The Heights has been able to reduce costs for producing paper posters and flyers, but he says, “The most important gain is the efficiency, effectiveness and outcome” of the upgrade to digital signage. “Digital signage is a better way.”
Don Smith is director of Digital Signage, LG Electronics USA, Lincolnshire, IL. www.LGsolutions.com