Written by Duke DeJong
For years we have known that good sound is critical to creating an atmosphere for worship. However, in the information age, we have developed the need for multisensory engagement. We have not only been conditioned to crave it, but people are picky about what they experience.
Raising the Bar
So what does this mean for churches? It is not enough anymore that the paint in your church is not peeling; people expect some thought, character, and multimedia to show up in worship spaces today. The great news is engaging worship spaces do not have to be about spending large amounts of money.
Finding a Style
Your budget will certainly have an impact on the end quality of what you do, but you do not necessarily have to drop tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring visual interest to your space. It is not about adding expensive technology or visual elements, but about finding a style that engages your target demographic and using strategic media, color and contrast to enhance what is happening in the room.
It's A Lot Simpler Than You Think
With a few strategic lights and a trip to Lowe's or Fast Signs, you can be off and running. In fact, one of the most viewed stage designs on www.churchstagedesignideas.com, a popular online gathering place of stage design ideas, is based entirely on lighting bubble wrap hung against a dark backdrop.
To answer the question of how to get started, here are seven tips and tricks I have learned over the years:
1. Build a small team for stage design
Creativity is better in collaboration. Our best ideas came from a small group of people who would refine ideas until they went from good to great.
2. Have diverse talents on your team
One of the most important people I had on my first team was not a lighting guy, but a skilled carpenter. When we threw ideas around, he would take them and begin processing how to make them. He'd often come back with tweaks that made the design better.
3. Use the talents that are readily available
You do not have to hire professional stage designers unless your situation demands it. If you have people skilled in metal work, carpentry or sewing, start with those skills. Use the talents that God has placed within your church and began in that direction.
4. Allow for a stage design budget
With a smaller stage, designs do not have to be expensive. However, make sure your team has a reasonable budget to work with. Most of our designs were between $250 and $750 for a stage that's 40 feet wide by 30 feet deep by 20 feet tall. If your budget is tight, don't cut the per-design budget, but decrease how often you change it.
5. Create contrast
Light is most noticeable when it is surrounded by darkness. Dark walls with well-lit materials create a dynamic contrast allowing your set to pop. Bright sets against a light-colored background can look OK, but usually not great.
6. Use color to reflect the mood of what is happening
I love LED lighting and neutral colored materials. With a few strategic lights and light-able surfaces, I can lead people visually in the feel of what is taking place in our services. For example, light and bright colors are perfect for upbeat songs while darker; richer colors set the mood for more worshipful times.
7. Allow for learning experiences
Let your team's creativity loose! While you need to be smart, empower your team to think outside of the box while helping them learn from their mistakes. We did not love every design we have done, but if we did not like it, we changed it. However, we learned a lot in the process, and it made future designs even better.
Give us a call for great deals and inspiring ideas for your worship space!