Beginning in 1949, First Baptist Church of Merritt Island opened its doors with a single mission in both mind and heart: Love God. Love People. Go into the World. Over the last seven decades, First Baptist Church has mirrored the community it serves, moving through new phases of growth and change. The Church and its parishioners are an active community that also engages in wider outreach, global missions, and partnering with other like-minded churches.
"As we thought about the future, it became apparent that our path included remodelling the Church and supporting facilities to better align with the community goals that Baptist First Church is dedicated to. We wanted all aspects of our space to reflect our core values, including active faith, uncompromised truth, passionate unity, extravagant grace, and humble service," said Executive Pastor Carey Dean.
With the help of Don Allensworth, founder and president of The NewGround Group, they re-evaluated what the First Baptist Church wanted to accomplish over the next 20 years, reimagining a facility complete with a professional sound system designed to meet the community’s needs.
This vision fosters the next generation by expanding the children’s ministry area, creating a space where children could explore, play, and learn. It also promoted deeper community connections through the creation of a larger, two-story common area where church members could gather to connect and relax both before and after services over coffee. Finally, it provided office space for volunteers and church leadership to support the goal of humble service.
The team, determined to support congregants with the right spaces and foster clear understanding through intelligible audio, had their work cut out for them. With a diverse congregation — from age to languages spoken — professional sound quality was a vital part of the larger initiative.
To realize this goal, the Church partnered with Pro Sound and Video, which brought a wealth of audiovisual knowledge and an expertise in audio tuning for spaces of all sizes and configurations. Now part of the Solotech family, Pro Sound and Video has over four decades of experience designing, developing, and installing some of the most advanced professional audiovisual systems in renowned venues across the United States.
"In order to realize their mission, it's critical that churches of every size consult with AV experts to deliver the best sound quality they can as part of any renovation or development project," Allensworth emphasized.
During implementation, the Pro Sound and Video team faced a major challenge optimizing the sound within the large, very tall sanctuary, a space with 60-foot ceilings, a sloped floor, and ability to seat more than 1,000 worshippers, both at the ground level and in the balcony.
“The space was so large and contained multiple hard surfaces at varying angles, so understanding and mastering how sound travelled and behaved within the space required someone with a deep understanding and experience of audio,” said Patrick McGuire, technical ministry at First Baptist Church. “This is why working with a partner like Sound Pro and Video and a manufacturer like Bose Professional was crucial."
It was also critical that the solutions were able to support vocal and instrumental music and the spoken word while also keeping in mind the diversity of the spaces, since guests often experienced a four- to five-second reverberation, making it difficult to participate during services.
The Pro Sound and Video team developed an integrated system that satisfies all these difficult nuances. The Bose Professional ArenaMatch AM10 and AM20 loudspeaker arrays allows consistent, intelligible sound to every listener within the large sanctuary space. Complemented by ArenaMatch Utility AMU208 loudspeakers in the parking area, church goers are now welcomed the moment they arrive.
As part of the renovations and expansion, in-ceiling and surface-mount FreeSpace FS2P pendant loudspeakers delivered top-quality audio in a low-profile footprint for the meeting rooms, office spaces, and children's ministry area.
To round out the solution for this community-focused institution, the Bose S1 Pro portable speaker system with F1 subwoofer provides flexibility for on-the-go sound support for any occasion, such as church events and community activities.
First Baptist Church of Merritt Island had a bold vision for supporting the next phase of its growth and wider community engagement. Ultimately, the project amplified the impact of services, offered flawless instrumental and voice support for worship, and effortlessly unified community meetings and day-to-day work efforts.
"We are so pleased with our partnership with Bose Professional. Their products deliver exceptional quality and help our parishioners really participate during services,” shared Pastor Dean. “We never thought that it was possible for a space this large to sound so good. We are beyond thrilled with how — at each step of the way — solutions came together to meet the vision we had to meet the needs of the community."
With more than three years invested in the planning, design, and installation process, all members of the First Baptist Church of Merritt Island are excited to see the vision come to life. The church leaders and parishioners have turned their eyes to the future, confident they are creating the inspiring and moving experiences church members and their larger community need to love God, love people, and get out into the world for years to come.
PARTNER: Pro Sound & Video
Now part of the Solotech family, Pro Sound and Video has spent more than four decades designing, developing, and installing some of the most advanced audio/video systems in many of the most renowned venues in the United States. This heritage is built through unwavering dedication to our craft. Every project must be the best that we can make it — and then even a step further.