With multiple locations and high-tech worship, ARISE is a church that does things a little different. That’s why they wanted a road case supplier that does things a little different too.
Think “church” and you might imagine an old building with fixed pews, the epitome of permanence. But ARISE is a church on the move, literally. As a thriving multisite church, ARISE’s seven congregations meet mostly in shared venues, necessitating that most of their equipment be stored and transported in trucks between Sundays. It’s a fluid approach to church, and one that seems to be working: each Sunday, several thousand members gather at points throughout New Zealand, as far south as Dunedin and as far north as Whangarei.
Since all locations, bar one, are in rented, multi-purpose facilities—a school hall, a performing arts center, a conference auditorium—equipment has to be packed in and out on a weekly basis. Plus, these locations connect with each other during services via live video link.
Being a church that’s heavy on technology while remaining light on its feet presents unique technical and production demands that go well beyond the skill-set of your average pastor. Cue Tom Borkin, the man responsible for making this happen each week. “Three or four years ago, when we started doing more [video] linking, we had to iron out a lot of things,” says Tom, ARISE-wide technical manager. “It is stable now.”
“Bye” to Shabby Latches
Their relationship with Fiasco began a few years after ARISE’s launch in 2004 when Tom and his team were on the hunt for cases to transport TVs used by the children’s ministry. They had no luck finding the right case for their needs until an intern stumbled across Fiasco. They bought the Fiasco cases and were impressed with the result. “The TVs that travelled in those first cases are the same TVs we use today, which is pretty impressive because things had a tendency to get broken.”
Prior to this, ARISE had been using road cases from other manufacturers, but there were significant frustrations with these. “Shabby latches,” says Tom. “Things didn’t line up in the truck pack. Even if they were the same brand of case, they didn’t sit well. And the lead times weren’t always clear.” After their positive experience with the Fiasco TV cases, however, ARISE decided to branch out. They invested in a number of Fiasco products, and Tom hasn’t looked back since. “Better latches, great wheels, clear lead times and Truck Packology at the end of the night when you just want to get home—it’s a win.”
“Truck Packology at the end of the night when you just want to get home—it’s a win.”
It’s this last feature, Truck Packology, that’s the biggest gain. Each week, ARISE teams around the country unload almost everything they use: sound systems, lighting gear, furniture, foyer displays, kids’ equipment—and then load it back into trucks again a few hours later. Being able to pack everything into trucks easily and efficiently while getting the most out of limited storage space is essential. They still have to work with some of their old cases, but the superiority of the Fiasco system is crystal clear. Tom explains, “We’ve got two trucks [at the Wellington location]: the truck that’s packed nicely with Fiasco cases—that’s the dream—and then the ‘rubbish truck’ that’s tough to pack.”
“We’ve got two trucks: the truck that’s packed nicely with Fiasco cases—that’s the dream—and then the ‘rubbish truck’ that’s tough to pack.”
Another benefit to the Truck Packology is just how easy and intuitive it makes packing, which is major plus when working with volunteers. “You might have somebody helping once a month in the morning,” explains Tom. “You want to make packing a truck as easy as possible.” The same applies to the interior divider system, in part because they’re easy to label. “Even if [as a volunteer] I don’t know what I’m doing, at least I can still read a label.”
Truck Packology is Tom’s favourite feature of Fiasco, but “a very close second is Joe,” says Tom. “You can just text him and he’s quick to respond—around lead times, stock options, and he asks the right questions.” That relationship looks set to last long into the future. “After years of seeing things not always be perfect, we know now that when things fit properly, then it’s going to work and we’re going to spend less in the long run,” says Tom. “We’ve cottoned on to how much easier quality is.”