When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey film released last year, I wrote an article about how Bilbo’s willingness to leave his cozy hobbit hole might cause us to consider stepping out of our comfort zone. Who would’ve known that exactly one year later, RTB would be in the midst of our own move?
Last week RTB took up the daunting task of relocating over thirty staff and over twenty-five years of accumulated gear to our new facility in Covina, California (just a few miles from our previous location). Moving a large group during the holidays is enough to make anyone stressed. But instead, this has been one of the most exciting (and grace-filled) times in the ministry’s history, certainly in my thirteen years here.
“We are in awe and so blessed to be able to inhabit such a beautiful building nestled in the trees with amazing views of the mountain to the north,” says Amy Robertson. As special projects coordinator, Amy has been involved in every step of the remodeling process. Her keen eye for design created a space to propel RTB forward in our 2015 vision.
Our previous facility was “a converted strip mall on a crazy busy street with just eleven thousand square feet for almost forty employees.”
Now we have twenty-six thousand square feet of potential where we will be able to stretch out and still have room for growth. Our own conference center will allow us to host events without having to rely on churches or other venues in our area. Our new state-of-the-art audio and video studio has already been used to film our newest small group Bible study on Genesis to be released in May 2014!
According to digital outreach director Phil Chien, the new audio and video studio (top panel of the photo below) gives the team the flexibility to create sets quickly. In the past the team would have to go on location, where sound and lighting were an issue. Or they would have to use a common area in the office, which would take up to a day to set up.
With the new studio, “we can control the sound. We can control lighting. All of our equipment is now housed in one area. We’re now able to record straight to our servers and edit on the fly. This can now function as a seamless, singular piece.” In theory, this means the team can produce twice as many resources, Phil says, including delving into video podcasting, which is something we’ve never done before.
The ministry opportunities continue with our new conference center (middle panel). By utilizing Polycom, we aim to create an “immersive, in-room experience” for educational purposes as well as for hosting events, allowing scholars to reach thousands more without adding travel time and expenses. And our gorgeous break room (bottom panel), located just outside of the conference center, will double as a green room for special guests and speakers.
Amy adds that “the possibilities for use of the building are as limited as our minds—and we plan to use both to their fullest capacity for His kingdom!”
Know that as we navigate the freshly painted halls, we can’t help but be thankful for the faithful partners who continue to support our ministry. We’re grateful, too, for those who remind us that people need reasons to believe—reasons from science for faith in a personal, transcendent God.
We are still adjusting to this new adventure but, like Bilbo, we courageously forge ahead. The journey has just begun.