Before Going HD, Our Church's Screens Didn't Quite Fill the Box (notice the black bars)

A few Sundays ago, I looked up at the screens in our church auditorium and immediately bumped my wife and said, “Look!”

Her response was, “What? What am I looking at?”

I couldn’t believe it. For 10 years our church has had 4:3 screens sitting inside  widescreen frames, and that day they had finally upgraded to 16:9 widescreen HD. And she couldn’t even tell.

The Value of Planning Ahead

Just as I moved to Dallas about 10 years ago, the church family my wife and kids are now apart of was putting the finishing touches on a new worship center (the one you see pictured above).

At the time, “going HD” was all the rage, but the cameras and projectors were very expensive. Since the church already had a working SD setup from the older part of the church, they decided it wouldn’t be a wise use of resources to upgrade the system for the new building.

But even though they decided against the upgrade, they still planned ahead. The white frames in the picture above were designed to accomodate wide screens. One day, upgrading would be affordable, and someone had the foresight to plan ahead.

Surely, within a few years, it would be affordable and perhaps necessary to upgrade.

The Value of Waiting

But it wasn’t a few years. The existing setup kept going for another 10 years outlasting two recessions and our pastor’s bout with cancer.

A few weeks ago, however, it finally died with no hope of resurrection, so the church media team began working frantically on an mid-week transformation.

Mark Matlock was preaching the next Sunday and before he started his message he mentioned three important things. First, in light of a tough economy and a community that values not spending money on frivolous things, it was important to say that the new system was patched together with mostly used parts so it was much less expensive than a straight upgrade (awesome right?). Second, since it was less of a planned upgrade and more of a last minute necessity, there might be some glitches (actually, there weren’t any!). And third, all the pastors were getting facials since they were worried about the new screens showing their pimples (classic Matlock humor).

New Widescreens Displaying the Nicene Creed

Personally, I’m proud to be a part of a community of believers who value preaching God’s word (we’re going through Mark this year), reaching out to the local community (the church has several ground-breaking partnerships with the city of Irving), and the wise stewardship of God’s resources (no frivolous upgrades even if they would be cool).


In recent years, our church has also begun celebrating the ancient holidays on the church calendar that demarcate the life and ministry of Jesus. A few days ago was Pentecost Sunday, and I took the short video of the music team’s great arrangement of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

The video does show the new HD setup, but I think it’s real value is as a beautiful portrait of old and new, faithfulness and creativity, frugality and extravagance all mixed together:

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