Dallas, TX

First Baptist Dallas

First Baptist Dallas, led by Dr. Robert Jeffress, recently opened their $130 million dollar sanctuary, marking the beginning of a new era—and the end of one of the largest church construction projects in history.

Project Type

  • Houses of Worship


  • Audio
  • Scenic Elements
  • Video
  • Lighting
  • Rigging
  • Staging


  • Dallas, TX

Iconic Transformation - Over A Decade Later

Paragon's historic renovation of the original First Baptist Dallas Sanctuary, built in 1890 is still going strong over a decade later. It became the new home of their Day One Contemporary Services in 2012 upon Paragon's completion. Following the opening of the new sanctuary space in 2011, the directive was to renovate the historic space making it a more suitable environment for their contemporary services.

The challenge was to update & modernize the room while maintaining the historic nature and craftsmanship of the space itself. The look and feel of the stage needed to be modernized, versatile and practical in use while retaining the essence of the architecture. The idea was to create an environment that offered many of the contemporary lighting changes and service elements in today’s contemporary services but did not seem out of place in the 124-year-old space. The room would see a big transition in their programming as they were moving from a 200-person choir and 50-piece orchestra to a 6-piece band and small praise team with the message brought in by video from the main sanctuary space.

Creative Solutions

Paragon 360™ created custom scenic elements to mask the empty choir loft areas and push the attention downstage surrounding the band and praise team members. “We had to come up with a way to make the stage space seem smaller so that the presentation, while smaller, seemed much larger and filled the space,” said Donnie Brawner, CEO of Paragon 360™. Brawner stated, “The room was clearly not designed for what we were now trying to do. It was fun and challenged our team.

The modular stage set includes many of the custom features seen in the historic architecture of the space. The camera ready set which features flexible, changeable, illuminated backgrounds were designed to be moved, relocated or taken out completely at any time. As requested, the old sanctuary space will still exist when the modular set elements are removed. An illuminated center stage wall unit houses a motorized 6’ X 9’ Da-Lite ascending video screen. The screen serves as a backdrop to the music led service and becomes the centerpiece of the message itself as services from the main sanctuary are brought in. The live lighting elements around the screen aide in creating a more dimensional, emotional and live presentation of the message. The scenic design was intended to create a picture frame around the band, making the presentation feel bigger while also blocking the vast, empty choir loft.

Other parts of the project included the removal of carpet on the stage and much of the sanctuary floor. The carpet was replaced with a wood laminate flooring. Pews were re-spaced allowing for more comfortable seating. One of Paragon’s custom DE-360 Drum Enclosures was included on the project for better control of the stage audio mix.

Audio, Video & Lighting

AVL systems were upgraded and augmented as part of the renovation as well. New EVA Series Line Array Systems by EV were designed and installed as part of the project. Video systems were upgraded to include the new center stage projection and a center screen over the stage for graphics presentation. Lighting enhancements included new stage lighting fixtures, LED moving lights for the stage area and new GrandMA lighting control systems. "It was a tall order" explains Bryan Bailey, Media Director at First Dallas. "Renovating a 124-year-old sanctuary protected on the national historical registry, under the watchful eye of generations of long-time members, while making it palatable for a growing contemporary worship service is just ridiculous. However, that’s exactly what Paragon 360 agreed to take on with us at First Baptist Dallas. They nailed it. The space is amazing"

"Paragon 360 worked within very constrained budgets, tight timelines and a multitude of preferences to provide an absolute fantastic result."

Bryan Bailey, Media Director, First Dallas