Christ Fellowship has been on the move since it was founded in 1984 as a small Bible study group of 40 people in Dr. Tom and Donna Mullins’ Palm Beach Gardens living room in South Florida. Since then, it has grown to become one of the largest churches in America with more than 28,000 in attendance each week at what are now 12 locations throughout the region, plus an online campus.
Most recently, Christ Fellowship added a new temporary “portable” church that meets on Sundays in the 800-seat auditorium of the Suncoast Community High School in Riviera Beach. The new location, which officially opened Easter weekend of this year, features an L-Acoustics Syva sound system that not only meets the church’s need for a powerful PA system that can be deployed quickly, but also provides it with a powerful tool for eventually helping future temporary locations transition into permanent ones.
“The Syva system is the perfect solution for a portable church location like this because it meets the power concerns of the location and it can be deployed quickly and easily, and stored efficiently, all of which are important for a temporary location like this,” explains Christ Fellowship Audio Director Connor Newcomb, adding that it also leaves more rehearsal time for musicians and vocalists. “And, as importantly, it offers the same sonic quality as the L-Acoustics systems that we use in our other locations, so we have a consistent sonic ‘fingerprint’ everywhere that helps the music appeal to the entire range of our attendance.”
In Riviera Beach, the Syva system comprises two Syva main colinear source enclosures, two Syva Low bass reflex modules, and four KS21 subwoofers, split between the left and right sides of the stage and mounted on KS21-Chariot carts. These are powered by two LA4X amplified controllers, split between the left and right sides of the system, which also power two pole-mounted X12 coaxial delay speakers set up 11 feet high in the back of the room to compensate for the higher elevation of the last several rows of seating.
“The KS21 subs were added because the church wanted a higher low-end output for their worship music; plus, they interfaced well in the amplifier scheme alongside the Syva,” says Nick Geiger, Account Executive, Houses of Worship for Diversified, the project’s AV systems integrator. “It also reflects the fact that they wanted consistency in the sound between all of their locations, most of which also have L-Acoustics speakers. It can be set up and taken down quickly and easily, and without the need for specialized infrastructure, because it can run on wall power. Those were very important criteria for the church. Also, it sounds great, which they expected because Christ Fellowship uses a lot of L-Acoustics systems, from the smallest to the largest, in their other locations.” In fact, the church has a K2 rig in its 1,900-seat worship space in Port St. Lucie, and Kara, Kiva II, ARCS WiFo, and ARCS II systems in various other locations—plus another portable “pop-up” church system featuring eight A15 enclosures, eight KS21, four X8 frontfills and LA4X power.
Danny Dagher, Christ Fellowship’s Production Director, describes the church’s worship-music style as modern, and says that L-Acoustics systems allow the church to achieve a remarkable degree of consistency from location to location, despite differences in room sizes and types. “From box to box, whether it’s Syva or Kara or K2, for us as end users, we like that we can depend on the fact that we’ll get a consistent audio experience in every location,” he says. “But that’s been especially true of Syva, which gives us that same experience with just a bit less SPL than the larger PA systems we have. It’s delivering a concert-like experience here at 95 dBA, and we still have 6 dB of headroom, so the punch is there, but so are the clarity and intelligibility.”
Beyond Syva’s clear sonic benefits, the system also offers churches like Christ Fellowship some strategic possibilities. “How well Syva has performed at this new location provides a potential pathway for how the church can open future locations, because Syva offers a way to set up temporary locations that can eventually turn into permanent ones,” with the kind of sound quality that can span the transition, Geiger points out.
Dagher agrees that the level of performance that Syva offers is great for everything from nascent church plants in transitory spaces all the way up to much larger fixed installs as attendance grows. “Syva is a great capital investment because it can carry a church through from a portable site to the next level,” he says. “It’s a solid foundation for the future as well as the perfect solution for this moment.”