One person’s vision really can create lasting change. When Dave Bowden formally began the television ministry in February of 1994 at First Baptist Griffin, he wanted to provide access to the worship service for people who were unable to leave their homes. He was so determined that he engineered a way to use the crawl space in the sanctuary for the wiring needed to set up the cameras. In the early days, the team taped the worship service in the sanctuary (on beta tapes), edited the tape, and then took it to the local television station, where it would be aired on a one-week delay on both Thursday night and Sunday morning on the local Comcast channel. The worship service was also available live on the local radio station. 

     Bill Hardee wanted to increase the vision for the radio and television ministry. Finally, in 2016, the church was able to upgrade to high definition equipment. At the same time, they entered into an agreement with Comcast to run a designated fiber optic line from the church balcony to Comcast’s main switch in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The team spent about a week setting up the technology for live broadcast. We were the first live fiber optic television broadcast they had ever produced.

     The new fiber optic technology enabled us to air our worship service live, not only to the local community, but also to the greater Atlanta area. Live streaming on the internet also became possible with the addition of the fiber optic line. When we added the live stream recording to our website, we increased the potential audience for our worship services by opening it up to anyone in the world. As a result, we may have up to 150 views online in any given week, some of which are international viewers. The church extended its streaming options and continued to improve its production in the Connexion service to include the FaceBook community once Steven Norris arrived. 

     On any given Sunday, the worship technology team (the TV/Radio Ministry) manages the cameras, sound, slides, live stream, and the cable broadcast for two worship services with only five people in Celebration and 4 or 5 people in Connexion. This team, which is led by Bob Long, also maintains the steeple chimes and the television monitor network inside the church. Special events like funerals, weddings, concerts, and special services like Christmas Eve will also be broadcast on television and online because of the dedicated work of this team. Their team could always use extra help, and they are happy to train interested volunteers.

     Members like Nan Moore have shared their gratitude for this ministry. She writes, “I am thankful that FBC Griffin offers online viewing for worship services. The 9:00 AM service is my preference because I enjoy the traditional style of worship. Since I live out of town, having access to my church’s worship service is uplifting and online viewing is a way for me to feel connected to my church. Thank you, FBC Griffin, for offering this alternative to in-person attendance.”

     Roiella and Scott Beard write to share that they watch the live stream from Titusville, Florida. Roiella says, “It is good to see friends, though it is from a distance. I keep you all in prayer as I know that I am being prayed for as well.  We are still members and it helps to have our community “back home. First Baptist of Griffin has a lovely sanctuary, rich in history, and it is a comfort to see God’s people there in worship.”

     When you contribute to the regular budget, the Dave Bowden TV/Radio Ministry has adequate  funding to provide these services to our larger viewing and listening audience. When you volunteer for the worship technology team, you can learn exciting new skills (or hone skills you already have) that directly serve and benefit our congregation (both locally and globally).