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The North Venue, an 800-seat hall with a huge multi-media system, will be dedicated at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. (Michelle Higginbotham / Special to the American Press)

The North Venue, an 800-seat hall with a huge multi-media system, will be dedicated at 8:30 a.m. Sunday. (Michelle Higginbotham / Special to the American Press)

Trinity Baptist to debut new house for alternative worship service

Last Modified: Friday, August 16, 2013 9:32 PM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

The alternative worship service at Trinity Baptist Church will have a new house to rock in this weekend.

The church is set to open The North Venue, which is an 800-seat hall with a state-of-the-art multimedia system that includes five video projectors and a professional-quality sound system capable of hosting concerts.

The facility will be dedicated at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, with the first worship service at 10:45 a.m.

Bo Coburn, North Venue worship pastor, said the facility was needed due to growth of the church’s alternative service.

“We started (the alternative service) 3 1/2 years ago and have been meeting in our student center,” Coburn said. “Through that time, we have outgrown that space, because of that we had to go to two services, then we outgrew the two services and finally we built this building so we can house that service. The original facility could hold only 350 people. Now we will be able to hold 800.”

Coburn said the alternative service features contemporary, upbeat music performed by a full band with drums and electric guitars, as opposed to the more traditional choir, orchestra and praise singers at the regular service held in the central venue.

“I think (the alternative service) is popular because people enjoy the newer sound of worship music, it is a less formal type of worship service,” he said.

“It is more personal and is also driven by a lot of media, lighting, videos and those kind of things. Initially we thought it would be for a younger crowd — college-aged, young married. But it seems like it is reaching people who like that type of music. We have people that are 70 years old who come, some that are 15, they come from the whole span.”

Coburn said the focus will remain on worship.

“We work really hard to allow the great tools that we have, like the projectors and the lights and the great sound system, to facilitate the worship rather than letting it do all of the work,” he said.

“I lead, our band leads, and we direct people through prayer, worship and the word. It is presented in a cool way, but it is nothing that takes the place of your relationship with the Lord. It is only used to enhance the experience. We are using lighting and technology to create a mood so that people can connect with God in their worship.

“Technology can get in the way and be a distraction, but if you use it wisely, it can be a great connection to ministry, to the Lord, to setting the mood for reaching people, reaching people that maybe don’t come to church. People that have technology around them all the time, then come to church where there is none, it doesn’t feel like anything they are used it. It doesn’t communicate to there. As soon as they walk in, there is a detachment. As soon as they walk in here, sure there is a lot of technology, but our job is to connect with people, connect them to the Lord, provide them with the opportunity to see what God is doing.”

The projection system can be used to display the words to songs that are being performed and environmental images to help create a certain mood in the room.

“Instead of changing set pieces on a stage, you do it digitally through the projection,” Coburn said. “You change the whole look of the building.”

Coburn said music is an ideal medium to reach people.

“I think the music plays a huge role in the way we connect to God, it sets the mood for a lot of things,” he said.

“When you are happy, you play happy songs. When you are sad, you play sad music. When you are on a date, you play romantic music. Music affects our lives all the time. Church is no different. We play a specific type of music that we think is most inviting for those people that want to worship. And, the words that we are saying are the words that we find in the Bible, that God wants to be said about him. We put that to music in a modern way, and people are allowed to, and encouraged to, worship in a modern way, still saying the Biblical things that we have been saying.”

With technology playing an increasingly large role in people’s lives, institutions such as the church has to keep up.

“Our society is more and more technology-driven every day, when the church does not work to keep up with those kind of things, it says that we are not willing to provide excellence to our people,” Coburn said. “We are not ministering to people in a way that they are accustomed in their life, so we are put on the back burner. Technology and the things they have in life continues and church becomes a smaller and smaller part of that because we don’t connect with them.”

Coburn said the entire church is excited about the facility’s opening.

“It seems like there has been a lot of anticipation for the new space,” he said.

“I know that our church is excited because it is a new opportunity for us to grow. We are literally expanding capacity to hold people, so we are expanding our capacity to reach more people. When you get to a certain capacity, it is hard for people to feel welcomed in a space, because it looks like it is already full and there is no room for them. When we create more room, it gives us the ability to have an inviting space that people really desire to be in.”

Coburn said even people preferring the traditional service should be excited.

“If you are interested in the next generation of people in general, then you will see the need to communicate effectively to that generation,” he said.

“Even if it is not your style, you see the relative nature of it to reach the next generation. You can get behind a church who has vision for the future and is not just looking to the past and not staying in the past, but is looking to the future — How can we grow? How can we move into something new? Here at Trinity, we are always looking and saying what can we do more for this community? How can we reach out more, how can we speak to more people. This is something that God specifically laid on our pastor (Steve James), that it was time for us to build a facility to house a generation that wanted to be in this room.”

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