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Designing Beyond the Stage

Designing Beyond the Stage

Being intentional with design to create immersive environments of worship.

You can learn more on this topic at WFX REACH 2015 Chicago, May 28-29th. For information or to register for the WFX Reach Conference click here

Recently, stage/scenic design in the church has gotten increased attention and as a result, there are numerous resources available to provide inspiration and guidance when adding stage design to weekend services.  Whether a beginner in set design or a seasoned veteran, it is important for churches to be thinking beyond the stage with designs.  When done correctly, stage design has the influence to transform any space and communicate a powerful message.

When God revealed the plans to Moses about building the Tabernacle in Exodus 25-31, He specifically listed each material to be used and meticulously described each element’s design, down to the smallest detail.

Clearly, the environment of worship is important to God or He would not have been as specific or intentional with His design. Within this passage of Scripture, no detail in the Tabernacle is overlooked and yet, every element serves a very unique purpose. This should motivate those involved in stage design to create with intention and purpose without overlooking the minute details.

As Exodus 25-31 is studied, it becomes apparent that the elaborate design God intended for the Tabernacle is not limited to the Tent of Meeting or Holy of Holies, where He dwells, but it also extends into the courtyard and surrounding outer areas. In other words, in our churches, the environment created on the auditorium stage should extend into the atriums, foyers, lobbies and other areas throughout the church. If this is accomplished, the message communicated to congregations will be continual and engaging from the time they enter the church until the moment they leave.

Immersive environments take time and delicate planning to be completed with excellence, as my church staff and volunteers know very well. Earlier this year my church celebrated its’ 30th anniversary with a series titled, “I Love My Church”.

On the auditorium stage we created four pillars and matching artwork representing the four core values of the church. In our large atrium, we created a large timeline stretched between two pillars for congregants to interact with.

Each individual in the congregation was encouraged to place a heart sticker on the timeline symbolically representing when they became part of the church’s story.

Additionally, we asked them to write personal stories and testimonies on the two columns. During each of the four weeks, the number of hearts on the timeline multiplied and the stories inspired others to share their own personal testimonies.

Everyone was deeply touched by the ways God has used our church to reach countless lives in our community, which may never have ever been shared without our interactive environment extending throughout the church building.

With each new stage design, consider expanding the environment and allowing ways for congregants to engage and interact outside of the auditorium. God cares about worship environments in their entirety: from the auditorium stage to the atriums, foyers, lobbies and smallest areas of worship spaces.

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