First Southern Baptist Church

First Southern Baptist Church in Bryant, Arkansas is one of thousands of 600 seat churches across this country that was at a crossroads. Their church space was designed and built in the 1970’s, and very little had been done since that time. While they had a healthy church, they were not growing quickly, due in part to the look and feel of the first impression of the space. The church was looking at building a new facility for an estimated $7 – $10 million in total construction costs. This project was not going to be done quickly due to the need for fundraising in a weak economy.

Over the course of a couple meetings, Paragon 360™ opened the church up to the idea of renovating their current sanctuary space. The end result was a complete sanctuary renovation that included removal of pews, carpeting and bad seating areas right and left. It was replaced with stained concrete, flexible seating, and lit milk glass side walls. Ceiling panels were put in to hide the older wood, circular dome ceiling. The old stage was removed and replaced with Paragon 360’s modular staging system, allowing for flexible stage arrangements. Multiple scenic and architectural elements were designed into the space along with all new audio, video, and lighting systems and a new LED house-lighting system.

Lighting systems included ETC fixtures, dimming & distribution with High End Systems control systems. Several Chauvet moving lights were included along with over 50 LED units for set lighting and 46 LED units for house-lighting. Audio systems include Bose and Electro-Voice loudspeakers and amplification with Symetrix processing. A Yamaha M7CL console handles 48 inputs from the stage including 8 Shure wireless systems and traditional monitor and in-ear mixes. The Video system included an Analog Way presentation switcher, two Panasonic PTZ cameras with Vaddio remote control. One Sony NX5U camera was used on a tripod, and a Blackmagic ATEM 1 was used for camera switching. Live Streaming was handled by a Livesteam Broadcaster.A Blackmagic Hyperdeck is used to record all church created content.

“After putting Paragon 360 to work, within a few short weeks we had our first design concepts which were perfect for our church,” explained Chad Smith, Worship Pastor at First Southern Baptist Church. “We were amazed that just in that short amount of time paragon was able to capture our heart, our passion and our vision for ministry. This was not a small project it was a complete renovation top to bottom. We could not be more satisfied about the end product. Already after a few short weeks we see people excited to come to church. For the first time in years people are passionate about inviting people to church because they are proud and they see new life in this church and they are excited about wanting to reach people now. It has ignited our church members to want to reach out to people and to do new ministry. It’s just phenomenal how our church has received it” said Smith.

“With Paragon 360, we were able to capture for less than a million dollars everything that we had dreamed of for $7 – $10 million without rebuilding our sanctuary,” explained Pastor Patrick Mead. “It’s amazing. In fact the sanctuary was phase two of our property plan and now we have moved that to phase four, if we even have to do it because of the quality of what we got for less than a million dollars. We probably have saved $7 – $10 million in the long run” Mead says.

“People who have been attending here for many years were very apprehensive in the beginning because they just could not see how this room could be transformed like it has” said Smith. “After completion they walk in here and they are shocked and amazed that a 1980 facility can feel like 2013” Smith explained.

Paragon 360™ started design work during the summer of 2012. The church moved services into a gymnasium area for twelve weeks while Paragon 360™ renovated the space. The new sanctuary was completed on June 2, 2013.

“In theory, Paragon 360 renovated our space but in reality, to me it’s a new sanctuary” says Pastor Mead. “This sanctuary feels nothing like the old. It is a new sanctuary, it is a new experience, it is a new feel, it is a new day in the life of our church,” explained Pastor Mead.

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