by Brandon Keane

Eastlake Baptist Church is in Crown Point, Indiana, and is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Their mission and purpose as a church is to glorify God by developing trained, edifying, accountable, and reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ. On any given Sunday, their 200 regular attendees and newcomers will be greeted by a friendly group with a warm and welcoming spirit.

Eastlake’s building was originally built in 1982. They quickly grew and added a gymnasium in 1988. To dive deeper into teaching and discipling their congregates, they added an educational wing in 1996. When Pastor Ben Hammond came aboard in April of 2017, he soon realized the church needed to revive the antiquated auditorium. However, many challenges came with renovating an older building, and Integrated Electronics was called in.



Renovating this auditorium was no simple task. Archaic construction techniques, code, and compliance issues, settling of the building, and the structural support of the roof required some changes, added cost, and overall awareness of what could be mounted to the ceiling all need to be addressed.

Technology Budget

The renovation included an original budget of $50,000.00 for technology updates. When Pastor Ben brought me in to review the auditorium’s existing systems and explained his vision, I was very honest that $50,000.00 was likely not enough to do everything the church and his tech team wanted to do. I took their ideas back to my office, drew up a plan, and came back to them with a system design matched with an associated budget. The total price was just shy of $63,000.00 to give them everything they wanted for a turnkey system. They raised additional monies and moved forward with our design.

Volunteer Tech Team

Like most churches, Eastlake’s tech team consists of all volunteers. I was lucky enough to meet a few of them in person and they all had servant’s hearts. These people love the Lord and do everything they can for their church. However, most of them are not everyday professionals in the audio/video industry and because they have full time careers in other industries, they needed to hire a professional as their AVL Integrator to make decisions on their behalf, lead them in the right direction, and do more of the heavy lifting for them. They were involved every step of the way and as their integrator, my goal was to deliver their vision as best I could.

Remove, Re-Purpose, or Refresh?

Another challenge that comes along with a technology system update is discerning whether to remove existing equipment, re-purpose it, or to purchase new equipment. Because of their budget, we did all the above. We decided to keep their existing projectors, screens, and associated video hardware. We also kept two cameras, the existing computers, and their Behringer X32 console and S16 digital stage box.


Well Organized Systems

Most of their issues derived from equipment not being organized, cables laid all over the place, and the stage volume of their guitar and bass amplifiers being too loud. It was also hard for them to hear each other because they only had powered floor monitors, which added to the stage volume issues. The solution was to create well organized systems and a clean look for their online streaming platform.

We started with all new cabling for the entire space. To create a clean stage, we used recessed stage pockets from Ace Backstage and ordered custom engraved color-coded labels from Redco. The tech team wanted to have the ability to add camera feeds and stage lighting as needed so we planned for multiple SDI and DMX connections at the stage. Every cable was run to a centralized equipment rack just off the stage and terminated to a custom patch panel by Redco.

This took care of all the stage connections, but we didn’t stop there. We added additional camera locations around the auditorium for future PTZ cameras. Their tech team operates with only a few people so recalling pre-programmed PTZ shots is a must have for them. We also ran multiple tie lines for audio, video, and network from the backstage head end equipment rack to the FOH rack. We used Redco’s color-coded labels for this as well.

Audio Systems

Eastlake’s leadership team wanted a new audio system to blend in with the new contemporary design. Many loudspeaker companies these days offer column array speakers, but in my experience, most do not reproduce a live worship team very well. For a solution, I turned to DB Technologies and their IG3T active column array speakers paired with their SUB 915 active subwoofers built into the stage. The church purchased a second Behringer S16 digital stage box and off we were with 32×16 channels of AES50 to the console.

The worship team wanted to move away from floor monitors and adapter a hybrid wired and wireless configuration for their IEM solution. Because they were already invested in the Behringer product line, we chose to go with Behringer’s P16-M personal mixers and P16-D distribution module to avoid using local power supplies on stage. We also added a few wireless mixes for their singers using Shure’s PSM 300 series system and their SE215-CL earbuds.

Acoustic Treatment

Now that the worship team is running guitars and bass direct, their stage volume was much lower. The old oak pews were replaced with padded chairs, and the church added motorized window treatments for the side windows to control glare and to absorb sound. There were still some acoustical issues, so the church opted for the alternate price I gave them to cover the back wall with acoustical panels from Acoustimac. This helped tremendously, especially to minimize the slap back at the FOH mix position.

Video Systems

The main video systems for the church were kept and re-purposed for this project. The tech team decided to purchase a couple additional PTZ cameras and a PTZ controller, but the projectors, screens, and confidence monitor were all taken down and re-installed by their volunteers.


Eastlake wanted a dual-purpose front wash to light up the stage during the stream and to add some fun colors for VBS and other fun events for the kiddos. The lighting system needed to be simple to operate and they specifically asked for a hardware controller option. They did not want to use another computer to operate the lighting as this is not something they’re intending to indulge in. For this, we went with ETC Color Source Spot Jr.’s as front wash lights and ran 5-wire DMX cabling to the head end splitter. We also added a handful of DMX connections at the stage which their tech team has taken advantage of and added some nice uplighting. We installed an ETC Color Source 20 lighting console in the tech booth for simple lighting changes.

The Cross

1988 held more significance than building a new gym, because the auditorium caught fire and was burned that year as well. However, their 13ft tall oak cross was the only thing to survive the fire. At the time, the church was led by Pastor Don Deel, and he had the cross refinished and rehung. Pastor Ben Hammond knew how important this cross was to the church, so instead of taking it down or replacing it with a more contemporary option, he asked if I could backlight it to draw more attention to it. This took roughly eight hours to accomplish, but the result was striking. We used Enttec’s 9VLW-10 RGBW LED tape, their CVC4 controller, and a Mean Well 350w 24v power supply from TRC Electronics.


The existing network is a Comcast business network: nothing fancy here. There are no IT personnel on staff and thus, there are no VLAN’s or other network tagging that has been done. We added a Netgear GSM4230P switch at FOH and GSM4212P at the BOH equipment head end for AV network devices and re-purposed their Ubiquiti wireless access point which is running a wireless network for the church staff as well as a guest network.Network

Final Thoughts

Since the renovation, Eastlake’s tech team continues to learn about and utilize technology to help lead their church by delivering Sunday services clearly through technology and creating an inviting atmosphere with lighting and music from their worship team. Temporarily moving their Sunday services to the gym during construction was not easy, and was also a relational risk, but overall, this renovation has strengthened the bond of their church community. Although many difficult decisions had to be made within the team, a spirit of unity was at the core of their hearts, and the church body is thrilled with the result.

The takeaway of this endeavor is to remember that the purpose of everything in the church, including the building, is to glorify God. The family at Eastlake Baptist Church are truly enjoying their new space and thrilled to have accomplished this together.

Brandon Keane is a husband and stepfather, an AVL integrator with Integrated Electronics, guitarist for Century Worship, a volunteer musician and youth leader at Bethel Church in Northwest Indiana. He helped launch an annual worship night event in Northwest Indiana called “Awaken NWI” and is the author of the memoir “The First Thirty-Nine”. You can follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @brandonmkeane. Learn more at To learn more about Integrated Electronics, please visit


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