We arrived at Lakewood Church about an hour before the service started. And I really was not prepared for the incredible size of this church. The facility is remarkable. Imagine taking a large arena, like the Air Canada Centre, and converting it into a church.
As mentioned in a previous post here, Lakewood invested over $90 million in renovating the arena.
The sound system was certainly the best that I have heard in any church and, for that matter, in any concert setting. I was amazed at the clarity and fidelity of the sound at various locations across the facility. I did not get up into the rafters however the main seating areas all presented the sound effectively.
We listened to the sound check and I have a brief video clip of the sound check here. I estimate the average SPL at roughly 95 – 100 dB. They were not afraid to let the music go loud.
The production environment was world-class and state-of-the-art. No doubt that the audio/visual environment is one of the best in the world.
Some interesting observations. The Yamaha concert grand piano was donated to the church by Yamaha. The piano was about $150,000. Sony donated over $200,000 in flat screens for the music stands. The platform for the musicians is on hydraulics. Their stage lowers when they are not playing and rises when they do play.
The church fields a vocal choir of roughly 100 people. The worship band consisted of drums, percussion, keyboard, grand piano, bassist, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and a horn section.
No monitor wedges. Everyone uses in ear monitors.
Best worship team I have ever heard. They were led by Cindy Ratcliff.
Joel Osteen spoke. I had heard that he teaches a prosperity gospel and that his teaching is pretty simple. His message confirmed what I had heard. However, he does have a lot of charisma. I left the church challenged and encouraged.
This would not be the kind of church that I would want to attend on a regular basis although it sure would be fun to be part of their worship team. Great musicians.
Here is the video of the soundcheck at Lakewood.