By Ben Temperley
Professor Jon Davey introduced his Architecture III, Non-Western Architecture class at SIUC to analyzing the critical sub-systems of a system. A system, in short, is composed of inputs and outputs involving matter, energy, and information (M-E-I). The inputs are related to the outputs through a network of relationships. The author will examine the Kansas City International House of Prayer (KC IHOP) Prayer Room system by identifying its ten sub-systems (Boundary Acceptance, Boundary Elimination, Distribution, Synthesis, Storage, Converter, Activation, Supporter, Reproducer, and Regulatory) as described by Ellner (1981). The author chose the KC IHOP because a major component of his design thesis is patterned after the KC IHOP prayer room.
The Boundary Acceptance sub-system for entrance into the Prayer Room is the doors and the internet. The live internet web-stream is a virtual entrance for anyone with internet access.
Security guards act as a Boundary Elimination. The Prayer Room is open to all unless there is a security threat that must be blocked from entrance. Entrance via the webstream is disrupted by a lack of internet service.
Aisles, doors, hallways, etc. distribute persons throughout the Prayer Room. Electrical energy is distributed from wall outlets through cables or wirelessly through the air. Sound and video are distributed through cameras and sound recording.
Synthesis is required for units to reach their final form necessary to reach equilibrium. This is accomplished by providing spaces for people to sit, stand, or lie down. Persons must also engage their hearts in prayer and worship. Musically, it is accomplished through microphones, mixing sound, playing together, singing together, etc.
Storage space is required for matter, energy, and information before they are in use. Storage rooms are used for musical equipment. There are other rooms and locations within the building for people who are not currently worshipping in the Prayer Room.
A converter sub-system transforms M-E-I into more acceptable forms for the system. The Holy Spirit performs a work on receptive hearts. The Spirit enhances worship in ways that the human heart alone cannot. The worshipper must submit to the Holy Spirit and engage in the worship process.
Activation triggers dynamic changes in the system's equilibrium. Activation in the KC IHOP involves reading, meditating, speaking, and singing the Word of God. With the Spirit's guidance the singers and musicians of the worship team activate a response of worship by those in attendance.
A stable, spatial relationship is supported by a system of a floor, ceiling, walls and columns. The stage provides a platform for the singers and musicians leading the worship.
A reproducer sub-system is responsible for damaged, destroyed, or deteriorating components of the system. This is the facilities' overseer. Instrument cables, instruments, microphones, lights, recording equipment, etc. need to be fixed or replaced from time to time.
Maintaining a healthy, vibrant Prayer Room needs constant monitoring and regulation. Before singers and musicians engage in a set (a block of time for singing and playing) they brief on what they plan to do under the Spirit's guidance in a room adjacent to the stage. When not participating in the Prayer Room worship, all those involved must study the Word, pray, and commit to holy living if the Prayer Room is to function properly. They must also be open to instruction, criticism, and revelation for improvement of the worship experience.
The KC IHOP is a complex system involving many sub-systems. However, by systematic analysis, one can make sense of it. The author hopes that this example of systems analysis may encourage others to try the same on other systems and make their own discoveries.
About the Prayer Room. (2011). Retrieved February 19, 2011, from Kansas City International House of Prayer Web Site: http://www.ihop.org/Images/content/201/1000060168.jpg
Ellner, (1981). Definitions of Critical Sub-systems. Master course in Environmental Design. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois.