Church. Cafe. Bar.

church-0113The New York Times recently ran an article about a newer trend in creating church environments in unusual places. The article is worth a read, but I wanted to elaborate on what it means for the A/V/L industry.

In short, the article cited examples of churches in Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Tampa where they created unique spaces that served one purpose Monday through Friday but had other applications during weekends.

From a cafe, bar and strip-center locale, the churches have turned away from the largesse of big church buildings and opted for community-oriented venues that often shared space with other proprietors. What the article did not mention was the potentially bigger-trend of churches creating entire commercial centers that run double-duty for off-hours operation.

Nonetheless, the A/V/L industry has a truckload of experience in bars, entertainment venues and retail spaces. Churches, however, do not. The blending of paradigms has a common denominator in the technology, but the application and options are typically not considered in typical church venues. From B2B options like sponsored digital signage to B2C interactive technologies (which don’t have a logical usage in most church buildings), the A/V/L industry is ideally suited to address this duality.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity here? Helping churches understand that, in these situations, the technology can actually be a part of the revenue stream instead of merely being a sunk cost. The commercial market has been operating this way forever, but it’s a whole new world to these progressive-thinking churches, and they need your experience, ideas and solutions.