Set Design: Creating an Inviting, Worshipful Space

Even if you aren’t building sets to match messages, it’s still impactful to create a look that provides an inviting space. The alternative of blank walls and general room lighting gives a sterile classroom feel.

Set Design: Creating an Inviting, Worshipful Space
The lighting during the 2017 Simply Worship conference in Concord, N.H., which was held at CenterPoint Church on October 28.

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Set Design: Creating an Inviting, Worshipful Space

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Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.
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As a lighting designer, I believe set design is a natural extension of my craft. It is a major part of what we present for a look and feel on Sunday morning, and it is one of the palettes on which light can be painted.

Matching your set look to the message has many benefits.

I can still remember my first large worship experience, at a Willow Creek Worship and Arts conference in the early 2000s. Thousands of worship leaders singing in one room can get very intense!

Just as much as that left an imprint on me, so did their set. The theme that year was “An Hour on Sunday.” Wow, even as I just typed that, I can start to get choked up. It means, if someone is willing to give us an hour of their time, then we should do our best to make it count. To support this theme, they had various clocks in different shapes and sizes hanging around the stage at many different heights and depths. The look was interesting, thoughtful, engaging and yes, timeless! Most importantly, it supported the message.

That’s our number one inspiration.

Matching your set look to the message has many benefits. First, it engages both sides of the brain during the message by stimulating both the visual and the auditory cortexes at the same time. It is similar to when your pastor tells a story related to the message. It helps you relate to what is being talked about, in a way that you will experience more deeply and remember longer. Just like all those clocks hanging around the stage helped me remember the message many years later.

Even if you aren’t building sets to match messages, it’s still impactful to create a look that provides an inviting space. The alternative of blank walls and general room lighting gives a sterile classroom feel that likely leaves many looking for the door. So, where to get inspiration from?

Many in the church community look to the site Church Stage Design Ideas, for inspiration.

Use the links at the top of that site’s homepage to jump to their other two sites, Worship Set Ideas and Series Ideas.

However, there are a couple caveats on using the work of others as inspiration.

First, make it your own. Your space is likely not the same. You’ll have to adapt the design to fit your space.


More About Chris Tall
Chris Tall currently serves as the Lighting Designer and Assistant Tech Director for Essex Alliance Church in Essex Junction, Vt. His start in lighting came early in his freshman year of high school after he talked his way into a Maynard Ferguson concert. Since then, he has always been active in lighting and technical show production. While the work has taken him from lighting local theater to designing special effects for Universal Studios, MGM Vegas and Disney, Chris enjoys being part of a team that works to bring a production's dream to life. When Chris isn't working, he can be found making dinner for his family or flying RC planes.
Get in Touch: Flylightvt@gmail.com    More by Chris Tall

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, November-December 2017
The November-December 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a review of the 49 New Product Award entries this year, as well as those entries up for Solomon Awards in 2017.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Stage Design · Team Management · Budgeting · Team Development · Volunteers · CenterPoint Church · Church Community · Designs · Lighting · Lighting Designer · Message · All Topics

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