Stage Design: Constantly Be On The Lookout for Inspiration

No set design ever brought anyone to faith, but great design can draw people into worship in a fresh way, where God can move in their lives.

Stage Design: Constantly Be On The Lookout for Inspiration
When making a decision behind a particular stage design, make sure to ask if it adds to one's vision for a weekend service and how it does that. If the answer is, “Because it looks great!” or “I want to be like the other church I saw online,” that’s a fine place to start. It, though, has to go deeper.

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When we do stage design in church, there are many things to consider, but you must start with figuring the answers to these two fundamental questions.

God is interested in the details and obsessed with spaces used for worship.

1. Does this add to the worship experience or distract from what we are trying to accomplish?
2. Does the idea “fit” within the parameters of the vision, budget, theme and style of your (not someone else’s) church?

First things first: Always start with the question, “Why?”

If you understand the “why?”, you can cast vision to others more effectively and communicate to your team and others. You start by asking, “Why does this add to our vision for a weekend service and how does it do that?”

If your answer is, “Because it looks great!” or “I want to be like the other church I saw online,” that’s a fine place to start. It, though, has to go deeper.

We add design elements to the stage for many reasons, some practical and some artistic.

Practically, we want to add necessary light, shape the space in a specific way, draw attention to something, maybe hide something, communicate a theme or idea, and assist the worship team or speaker in some way.

Artistically, we add elements to the stage to create wonder, use color to help tell a story, add tension, to help communicate a big idea and build up parts of a song or message in a service.

If you have a spark of an idea, then pray about it!

Seek other creative types and get their input and research the actual design process. Look for new ideas online, at other churches in your area, and in commercial set inspiration. There are no new ideas!

Your ideas should be constantly brought under the question of, “Does this add what we want to add?” If it is just lighting for the sake of making something look cool, or a graphic that is confusing, then move back to the drawing board and reevaluate.

If your set design passes the first test, then move to the second test by asking the following questions:
• Does this “fit” and “feel” like us?
• Can we budget for it?
• Can it actually be built?
• Will it last?
• Is this something we just copied or did we see something that inspired us to personalize it for our own context?


More About Brian Wilson
As the Group and Men's Pastor at Calvary Community Church in Sumner, Wash., Brian has has worked in church and parachurch ministry for almost 20 years, having served as a creative director and production pastor at the church in the past. He has been involved in all areas of church ministry and writes and speaks about excellence in church ministry and healthy church leadership.
Get in Touch: brian@wearecalvary.com    More by Brian Wilson

Latest Resource

For Lighting Design, What Software Is The Right Match For Your Needs? (Part 3)
Dig into this final part of a three-part series that looks into choices for lighting design software, including Vectorworks and LightConverse, and how each can best serve the needs of your church.


Article Topics

Visual Arts · Stage Design · Team Management · Budgeting · Leadership · Team Development · Budget · Church · Color Theory · Communicate · Electrical Wiring · Inspiration · All Topics

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