Over the past decade, Knoxville, Tennessee-based Faith Promise Church has been blessed with providential growth—so much so that the church has had to quadruple its sanctuary capacity from 500 to 2,000 in order to accommodate its increasing number of weekly attendees.

Along with the facility expansion came the need to update the lighting system to ensure uniform coverage and impact throughout the worship space. Ultimately, the lighting revamp for the main sanctuary called for an upgrade of the church’s previous Avolites Pearl to the manufacturer’s flagship Sapphire Touch lighting control console, which was installed earlier this year along with ten LED moving lights.

“People at the church commented at Easter how they loved what we have been able to do with lighting to creatively enhance songs and components,” enthuses Michele Stephens, Faith Promise Church’s worship and creative arts leader.

“After years of faithful service, the Pearl was running classic software and showing signs of age,” explains André Huff, principal and founder of Limelite Design Service, which supplied the desk. “We could have addressed those issues, but everyone felt it was more cost effective to upgrade to the Sapphire Touch,” says Huff, who has been working with Faith Promise on its lighting needs for more than ten years.

Stephens agrees with Huff that it was time for a lighting overhaul. “Our lighting technology was growing old and inadequate,” she says. “We also went to an LED wall, which required the lighting to have ability to get over the intensity of the wall, as well as expanding the size of the room and stage.”

Every Faith Promise event in the main sanctuary now uses the new console, which controls the lighting of church services, youth events, concerts and video shoots. “Our lighting philosophy is to enhance the atmosphere of the worship experience, which is highly creative, energetic and progressive,” explains Stephens. “We feel that lighting helps create energy and enhance the mood, so that is where we put our priority for its use.”

Through each renovation, the church added everything from a few more lights to video walls, as well as a better sound system. “But it basically was the same package they had in the smaller space; it was time for the church to start moving its illumination from just enough lighting to progress to a complete system,” Huff says of the latest improvement.

Why did Huff recommend Avolites? “I have worked with all of the major lighting console brands, and Avolites is very designer-friendly and easy to train even lighting volunteers on how to operate,” he explains. “A big part of why we went all the way to a Sapphire Touch for Faith Promise was in the future we will integrate an Avolites Ai media server and Media Wing with the console,” he adds.

In Huff’s opinion, a primary advantage of using the Sapphire Touch is the Titan software—used across the entire Avolites console range—as well as the expansive surface on which the user gets to work. “Avolites has always been known for its ability to let you easily run a show on the fly or ‘busking,’ as Avolites calls it,” Huff notes. 

Avolites amped up technical capabilities substantially with Titan by merging a cue-stacking ability, he adds. “That feature was offered before, but you had to put the console in another mode for memory allocation purposes,” explains Huff. “So now you have the best of both worlds. The programmer can write looks and store them to recall. When the show takes a hard right, you can punt and move right along.”

Faith Promise is now in the process of converting all of its satellite campuses and youth areas to a uniform lighting control platform so that technicians can program for any need. And, as funds become available, Faith Promise’s plan is to add new features to the system. “We’re not completely where we want to be, but we’re off to a great start,” sums up Stephens.