As a church family, we are standing on the shoulders of a generation of faithful followers who believed, sacrificed, and laid down the foundation for us to thrive as a church today. It's easy to forget the handful of servants that risked a great deal nearly 50 years ago, going "all in" on the property that allows us to encounter God, build community, and extend compassion each week as we gather in the incredible facilities we gratefully call "home."
For many of us, we were personally introduced to Jesus by these faithful followers and our lives are now eternally changed because they selflessly passed down the good news of the gospel. And not only have we received this gift, but because of these courageous stewards, the health, stability, and continued generosity of our church has given us the ability to reach far beyond our zip code, bringing hope and healing to thousands through our mission partners all over the globe. There's no doubt the faithful seeds planted by the generation behind us have multiplied enormously and the Kingdom of God is forever changed because of it.
As we sit back and marvel at God's work in their lives a generation ago, we understand each generation must receive the baton and continue the race, carrying our faithfulness forward for those ahead of us.
The time to press on is now.
Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
PSALM 71: 17-18 | NIV
Our church is blessed.
No matter how you look at it, our location, facilities, staff, and volunteers have positioned us to make an incredible impact on our community and the world. And indeed today we're experiencing the fruit from the rich soil we've been planted in. Our church is on the move, growing healthy and vibrant, passing on to the next generation the gospel we ourselves have received. The truth is, we are one of the most fortunate churches in the Conejo Valley to have the resources we have. We believe the local church is still the hope of the world and, despite its imperfections, God has chosen to use it to extend compassion to thirsty souls. Whether it's a hut in Cambodia, a barn in Austria, or an Auditorium in Newbury Park, the house of God still matters and the local church remains His chosen instrument to deliver the message of the gospel to the world.
Looking at all that we've been given, we can't help but believe we're a "ten talent church" (Matthew 25:14ff). So our continued care and faithful stewardship of what we've been handed is imperative to our vitality now and for the decades to come. The facilities given to us by the previous generation have been leveraged fully and have lasted well beyond their expected lifespan. But today we find ourselves looking at the leaves changing color, a new season approaching.
Our Auditorium, the primary facility we use to share the gospel with our community, was built in 1995 due to church growth and and provided the necessary means for expansion at the time. Today, nearly 25 years later, we're still relying on the AVL infrastructure (audio, video, and lights) that was originally installed to sing and preach every week. These resources are essential to our mission and, until recently, had been able to shoulder the load of a generation.
However, despite being maintained adequately and repaired frequently, we've recently begun to experience the effects of our aging infrastructure. If you've been in one of our services lately, you've likely noticed flickering and burned out lights, pops and distortion in our sound, uneven balance in the music, lack of clarity, fading colors on our screens, and many other unfortunate distractions. In many ways, the tools we put our trust in every week to help us accomplish our mission are on life support. In 2016, right before our Easter and Christmas Eve services, we lost connection to our speakers altogether, causing us to scramble for a quick and inadequate fix moments before our two most evangelistic services of the year began.
The time has come where our infrastructure is limiting our impact on our community.
A solution is needed.
We spent a few years trying to simply patch up the problem areas and make temporary fixes but with each new hole we plugged, another appeared. After gathering several quotes to replace the main problem areas piece by piece, our leadership determined a more complete and comprehensive approach was the best course of action. We wanted a master plan that accounted for not only our immediate needs today, but for our vision for the church of the future.
Since great stewardship is our standard, we gathered wise advice from many who had traveled this path before and were encouraged to elicit the services of CCI Solutions, one of the most highly respected AVL companies in the country. Being in this business for over 40 years, CCI Solutions has helped countless churches of all sizes actualize their vision through thoughtful and purposeful integration of technology, keeping the message of the gospel priority #1.
And indeed, CCI has proved to be an invaluable resource for us, keeping our vision first and designing the tools needed to get us there.
On May 10-11, 2018, CCI came out to meet with some of our key staff, elders, and lead volunteers for a two day intensive collaboration to assess our facilities and needs. But at the onset of our meeting, before discussing our problem areas or needs, CCI wanted to learn as much as they could about the vision, goals, dreams, heart, and culture of our church. More than simply wanting to fix our issues, CCI desires to help design an AVL system that resources our vision, not limit our vision to our resources.
Here were a few of the key questions we discussed:
- What's your church culture like?
- What are people saying about your church who attend?
- What's your current demographic?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What do you want your people to experience in your services?
- What are your dreams for the future of NPFCC?
- What's limiting those dreams?
After an encouraging conversation about our vision, culture, and dreams, several key themes were uncovered.
In a word, our church DNA today is family. And we never want that to change. We want our church to continue to look like family for the generations to come. We want this to be a place where age, race, gender, and background are irrelevant as we gather to love and be loved by our One Heavenly Father. We want our church to be a safe home for the prodigals to return, a place the young learn from and reenergize the aged, a place for deep community to be built, and a place where fun, whimsy, and play are regular parts of life. No matter what pieces of technology enter our building, we need this church to be a place where people belong.
We want our church to be a church on fire, a church on the move, a church that never settles or stagnates, a church that longs for more of Jesus with every rising sun. We want to thrive, not simply survive; progress, not just persevere. We want to show our children enthusiasm for the Lord and stir in their hearts freedom and risk and adventure, giving them a glimpse of the Kingdom that is daring and courageous and has them on the edge of their seats. As we read the gospels, we get the impression that's what being a disciple of Jesus would have been like. And it still is! So we want a tools that can help us reenergize the church of today and tomorrow to encounter God and change the world.
Though we will never conform our beliefs based on our ever-shifting culture, it is our responsibility as stewards to do the best we can to communicate the gospel to our culture in relevant ways. Today, the language of our culture is technology. "High definition" is no longer a top shelf option, it's the standard for relevant communication. Those entering adulthood know nothing of a world without smart phones, IMAX, or social media. If we are going to engage our culture today, the medium and environment we use to communicate to them matters greatly. As the apostle Paul modeled, we must "enter their world" in an effort "to lead those we meet into a God-saved life" (1 Cor. 9:19-27). We believe this is one of the best ways we can extend compassion to our own culture, meeting them on their turf but offering them a Gift even greater.
We realize just as we've been blessed with an infrastructure that has lasted well beyond its expiration date, we want to do our best to leave our kids equipment that still meets their needs as they take the reins years from now. So we asked CCI to intentionally design an AVL system that will endure as long as possible and also leave room to expand and adapt to the brand and style of church the next generation creates in the future. What a gift that will be!
Like Paul, our prayer is to share the gospel with excellence and clarity (Col. 4:4). The Almighty deserves our very best, for He gave His to us. And we give Him our best not just because He deserves it, but because we want people who are far from God to receive the message of the gospel with such clarity that they're cut to the heart and can't help but respond to Him after their encounter. We want our services to be free of distractions so the message of Jesus is unmistakable amidst the noise of the world. We want what we see and hear in our room to be consistent, balanced, and pleasing in every seat so everyone has equal opportunity to be embraced by the goodness of God.
We want a system that can multiply and distribute the effectiveness of our message not only across town but across the world. With the technology readily available to us today, we can reach the homebound widow and the East Coast addict every week. We dream of having the tools to live stream our services to any home in the country with the press of a button, record and distribute original music created by our praise team, engage our community excellently through social media, or even connect to a satellite campus for future church-planting efforts. All of these are ways we can extend compassion through technology.
After seeing our vision for the future of the church, CCI spent the next two days thoughtfully and intentionally crafting an AVL plan capable of the task. Having carefully inspected our current systems, it was determined the most reasonable and reliable course of action was to create a proposal that replaced nearly all of the current infrastructure in the Auditorium—the lights, screens, speakers, sound board, cameras, and more. With all of the pieces of our current system nearing the 25 year mark, each one is long overdue for a total overhaul. CCI was able to design a AVL system they believe will not only give us the family-feel, passion, relevance, longevity, clarity, and reach we want, but be a system that is incredibly reliable, volunteer friendly, and hassle free well into the foreseeable future.
With a need as great as ours, the cost is substantial as well. However, the staff and elders agree the need is worthy of the sacrifice and the fulfillment of this need will position us to thrive now and well into the future. Thankfully, the ongoing faithfulness and generosity of the church family last year gave us a healthy head start toward our financial goal. But reaching the finish line will still require a special sacrifice and bold generosity of our entire church body.
AS A PARTNER IN ADVANCING THE KINGDOM AT NPFCC, THE LEADERSHIP IS HUMBLY ASKING YOU TO PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER DONATING A SPECIAL GIFT TO HELP US PRESS ON TOWARDS OUR VISION, ABOVE AND BEYOND YOUR REGULAR TITHE.
We don't make this request lightly. We know what a sacrifice it will be for each of us. But be encouraged that the staff and elders of the church are united, personally walking in sacrificial solidarity with you, having already committed generous donations themselves toward this effort.
Below you can review the total projected cost, what we've already saved, and more detail on what's included in the project.
Total project expenses
This total accounts for every piece of the project from start to finish including all equipment, labor, materials, wiring, permits, etc. This is a comprehensive system overhaul, addressing every piece of the audio, video, and lighting infrastructure in the Auditorium. The breakdown of each piece of this project is listed below in the FAQ section.
Thanks to the ongoing faithfulness of the church family for the past several years, we are pleased to announce we already have a large portion designated for this project. This reduces our total need to $570,000.
On Wednesday, May 15th at 6pm we will host a night of worship in the Auditorium where we will gather celebrate God's faithfulness to our church over the past 50 years and pray for the next 50 ahead. During this evening, we will take a moment in the service to bring forward our financial commitments. Our leaders will then announce the total amount raised and we'll continue to celebrate God's goodness together.
We will have commitment cards available to you beginning March 31st in the Auditorium. The cards are intentionally anonymous and will simply be used to count to the collective total committed during this evening. You can give your gift before the night of May 15th but we ask that you still bring your commitment card and submit it before or during the night of worship. If you are unable to attend the night of worship, please drop your commitment card in the offering receptacles in the Auditorium or in the offering plates as they're passed.
For giving online, please use the link in the section below and make sure you select the "Press On" category in the drop-down menu. If you're giving a check, write "Press On" in the memo line. If you're giving cash, place it in an envelope and write "Press On" on the outside.
We anticipate construction can begin at the beginning of July so we are boldly and faithfully asking you to make a commitment as soon as the Lord leads you. We encourage you to pray sincerely, asking God to reveal to you what He'd like you to give and follow His prompting. No matter what He leads you to give, we'll put it to use right away.
We can't thank you enough for your selfless and generous partnership. May God richly bless you as you give, and may your gift multiply in the Kingdom as souls are saved by hearing and receiving the good news of Jesus through these tools.
"Let us press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus."
PHILIPPIANS 3:14 | NIV
What does AVL mean?
AVL refers to all the necessary equipment we use to operate our services with. It's an abbreviation for "audio, video, and lights" but we use it to apply additionally to cameras and all the auxiliary pieces to connect and operate all of this equipment. When we use AVL in this context, here are all the pieces we're included and the corresponding percentages of the overall project total:
- Audio | 38% | Acoustic room treatment, assistive listening system, main speakers, sound board, microphones, monitors, patio speakers, audio distribution campus-wide, and all infrastructure, project expenses, labor, etc.
- Video | 28% | LED screens, video switcher, cameras, video distribution campus-wide, and all infrastructure, project expenses, labor, etc.
- Lighting | 34% | Stage lights, house lights, light controller, wall-mounted control panels, dmx distribution, and all infrastructure, project expenses, labor, etc.
Why do sound, video, and lights matter?
The bottom line is our Sunday service is the primary tool we use to mature the believer and present the gospel to the unchurched. Though the "church" is defined as the gathered body of Christ-followers, we want to be a church unchurched people love to attend. We believe church should be modeled after Jesus' approach to "sinners"—keeping grace open, prioritizing belonging before belief, and presenting Jesus in relevant ways. We want to be a church, as Andy Stanley says, that "continues to function as a gathering of people in process; a place where the curious, the unconvinced, the skeptical, the used-to-believe, and the broken, as well as the committed, informed, and sold-out come together around Peter's declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God." We believe creating a welcoming, excellent, and inspiring environment gives both the believer in process and the unchurched the best chance to increase their faith or embrace it for the first time. We believe that properly stewarding audio, video, and lights will help us reach our goal.
Couldn't we just repair what's breaking?
We have been doing that for the past 4-5 years and have been able to get by only with much work and frustration. In the end, we had to face the reality that not only are our systems failing but our room has changed (removing the back two walls causing a drastic acoustic change in the room), our music style has changed, and the current tools in place (even if they functioned properly) are inadequate for our current and future goals as a church. The standard projected lifespan for an AVL system is 10-12 years. We reached nearly 25! We can certainly applaud the former AVL equipment on its way out for doing a great job, but this update is long past due.
Why CCI Solutions?
They were highly recommended to us by a valued ministry partner and we wanted a company who could help us see the whole picture, implementing not just quality pieces but a thoughtful integration where each piece connects like puzzle with the rest. With their incredible experience with churches across the country day in and day out, they were the perfect fit for our needs. Learn more about CCI here.
Have we received other quotes from other companies?
Yes. We began to investigate several solutions over 5 years ago and have pursued a total of 4 solution options, each presented to the church leadership for consideration. It was our leadership's feeling that CCI Solutions gave us the best overall approach and would help us design the right system for the the whole picture.
You mention that the typical lifespan of AVL equipment is 10-12 years. Does that mean we need to do this again in 10-12 years?
The manufacturers give lifespan estimates based on equipment usage in a wide variety of environments including concert venues, clubs, touring rigs, etc. The typical load a church puts on AVL equipment is much less strenuous than a concert setting which naturally increases its life expectancy. This is why we’ve been able to squeeze out nearly 25 years of use on our current AVL equipment and we anticipate we’ll be able to extend the lifespan of this new equipment past the 12 year mark again. That being said, from here on out, NPFCC has accounted for future upgrades like these, creating a specific budget line item to build up the reserves needed when our next replacement is required. Essentially, this could be the last fundraiser of this type needed!
Can I view the line items of the AVL proposal?
Yes. Click here to download the Executive Summary provided to us by CCI Solutions.
Is the new sound system going to make our music louder?
In short, no. But read on if this stuff interests you! Currently, our sound techs are instructed to keep the sound level no more than 90-95db during the loudest sections of our songs and we use a professional caliber decibel meter to monitor the levels throughout the service. This decibel level is scientifically safe for our hearing and also common among churches. When people speak of "loudness", most of the time they don't necessarily mean the volume is high, but rather the tone and quality of the sound is shrill, abrasive, or harsh. There are many factors that cause poor tonal quality in the sound but a few of the biggest contributors include the acoustic properties of the room, the type and tuning of the speakers, the sound source (instruments and microphones), the capabilities of the sound board, and the skill of the sound engineer. In our current room with our current equipment, achieving a quality sound that is clear, smooth, full, and inviting has been very difficult to achieve, leading to a less than ideal tone. The AVL proposal will drastically improve all of these factors allowing us to achieve a quality, pleasing, and vibrant sound while not increasing the volume at all.
How will the funds be collected?
Each weekend from March 31st to May 12th we will continue promoting the vision and need for this project to our church family. Then, on Wednesday, May 15th at 6pm we will gather in our Auditorium for a night of worship to celebrate all that He's done in our church and all we anticipate He'll do for generations to come. In the middle of this celebration, we'll have a time for those who've decided to give towards the project to come forward and place a commitment card in a box up front (the commitment cards may be completed anonymously). A few of our leaders will then total up the amounts pledged and the final amount raised will be announced and celebrated to close the evening! Your actual gift may be given any time starting now. If you would like to give online, please select the "Press On" category. If you're giving a check, write "Press On" on the memo line. If you're giving cash, place it in an envelope and write "Press On" on the outside and place it in the offering trays one Sunday or in the offering receptacles next to the exit doors.
Will we have a way of knowing, on May 15, amounts already paid vs. amounts pledged?
Our leaders will calculate the total amount pledged and also look at what’s already been deposited in the Press On fund online. The leadership will also count any checks or cash given that evening during the night of worship. We’ll present as much detail as possible that evening and celebrate it all!
What if I can't attend the night of worship on May 15th?
If you can't attend, we ask that you still turn in a commitment card with your total pledged amount so we can accurately count up the total that evening. You can turn in your card to one of the offering receptacles near the exists of the Auditorium or in the offering trays one Sunday before. Your actual gift may be given online, by check, or cash any time before May 15th.
When will construction begin?
We anticipate construction beginning near July and last approximately 2 months. During that time we will meet in the Family Life Center Gym for our Sunday services. If you can't make your contribution before May 15, we ask that you consider giving your gift as soon as possible so we can plan adequately for the project.
What if we don't raise the total amount?
If the total amount is not raised we will take any available funds and apply them to the portions of the project with the highest priority. We will continue to complete the project piece by piece as more funds become available over time. However, the more pieces we can do at once saves costs on labor, inspections, travel, freight, etc.
What if we raise more than we need?
If we raise more, there are several other projects around the campus that we have on our "dream list." As with this project, we'll prayerfully consider where to put it and be great stewards with what's given.
Can't the church just take out a loan?
Though this option has been considered, the leadership has decided for now to hold off on that option in an ongoing effort to stay clear of any additional debt. We are currently on course to pay off our mortgage in 2025 and we would like to avoid pushing back that timeline.
I can't give one large amount now. Can I make several contributions spread out over time?
Yes. We understand the financial difficulty of giving a large one-time gift. We sincerely appreciate your desire to make an ongoing commitment to this project and, if the total amount is not raised initially, we will rely on your ongoing gift to help us complete the project. We ask that you prayerfully consider giving this gift above and beyond your regular tithe so we can ensure the month-to-month expenses of the church are still covered. When you give, make sure you give to the "Press On" fund online or write "Press On" in the memo line of your checks or cash envelopes.
I don't know a lot about AVL technology but it seems like a lot of money, so give it to me straight, are we buying a Bentley or a Buick?
First of all, that's a fitting illustration since this AVL project is simply a vehicle to help take people to an encounter with God. Our current "old car" is in constant need of repair and, quite frankly, has become an obstacle not only to those of us who are repair mechanics, but also to many of our members who have been good enough to put up with our "squeaks and rattles" for some time now. We in leadership all felt that this was not fair to you and not good stewardship. Moreover, part of being a good steward in seeking and saving the lost in our community means we use a vehicle the unchurched may actually consider getting inside. Once inside, we'll escort them to the presence and goodness of God and keep journeying alongside them as they grow in their faith. But back to the original intent of your question—although this tool is not inexpensive, of the four other AVL options we investigated, CCI's quote came in toward the upper middle. This AVL proposal is not a top-shelf "Bentley" but it will have enough horsepower to take us where we need to go as a church with greater ease today and in the future. Let's put it this way, if we were building a brand new church in Newbury Park today, this is the AVL equipment we would put in. It's the modern equivalent of what went into this facility back in 1995. It fits our community's overall standard for excellence without being over the top. It complements our church size, style, and personnel resources yet gives us room to expand in the years to come.
Will our volunteers be trained on the new equipment?
As a part of the package, we've included hands on training by some of the country's best technicians to equip our volunteers to thrive in their roles moving forward. We know a tool is only as good as the one holding it so we've accounted for this up front.
I have more questions, is there someone I can talk to?
Yes. The elders will be available on Sundays after each service beginning March 31 through May 12 in room F11. You can always reach out to the church office anytime to set up a meeting with any of our leaders.