Church stage design is becoming an increasingly popular way to enhance sermon series’ and worship experiences.
It’s clear that environment has a powerful impact on how people feel, behave, and learn. So while nothing replaces the power of preaching God’s Word, a creative set design can accomplish a couple of things if done well:
Make a sermon more memorable
Create an atmosphere that enhances the worship experience
At Milton Keynes Christian Centre, we recently ran our annual ‘All In Campaign’. This year, the series was titled “Courageous”. We wanted to bring some new design elements to the stage for the campaign, so we asked the Creative Arts Team if they would mind sharing some insights on the series’ stage design and shed some light on how they made it happen. Here’s what’s been shared…
Set Design Process
“With technology and concepts constantly changing, we are still learning how to do it well - we had a limited budget, but with the right materials and creativity, we put together a design that we were really pleased with, without breaking the bank.”
Sometimes a great stage design is subtle and minimalist, and sometimes a great stage design is bold, with the “wow” factor, but keep in mind that what works for one church won’t necessarily work for another. A church stage design must be appropriate for its context (i.e., auditorium, culture, sermon topic, staff/volunteer skill and capacity, and budget).
If you are looking for more inspiration, make sure you check out Church Stage Design.
Making The Set
To create the set, we started with 100 Double Wall Boxes. The boxes were folded shut and stacked to create a wall. The stacked boxes were painted in shades of blue and grey. The paint was mixed to colour match the series graphics/artwork. We used words from the series and printed them out using to adhere to each box. The words when then cut from white and black vinyl and stuck to the boxes. The boxes were stacked and staggered to create depth and height.
View or download the Courageous series artwork…
Week 1 (Courageous Heart)
Week 2 (Courageous Prayer)
Week 3 (Courageous Action)
Week 4 (Courageous Vision)
Week 5 (Courageous Unity)
Week 6 (Courageous Leadership)
One of the quickest and easiest ways to give the set an energetic look/feel was by adding depth. If the design had been left flat, it would have easily become boring and static, but depth gave it a dynamic feel.
Getting The Lighting Right
When designing the lighting cues each week, we made sure to set aside a portion of the lighting fixtures to highlight the boxes - changing the minimal, modular design into a dynamic set, and controlling the mood of the room.
With all this in mind, take a look at the list of materials below for constructing the stage design, along with some real-world images for inspiration.
- Box Type - Double Wall Boxes - 20x20x20 inches (508x508x508 mm) – 100 (£189.29)
- Paint - Mixed at Wickes
Do you have any other low-cost set materials you work with? Post your suggestions in the comments below.
Top Tips for Church Stage Design
Check out what other churches and stage designers are doing. The best way to learn is to be see what others have done.
Don’t take stage design too far, from support/enhancement to an element of focus. That is not stage design’s role. It is only meant to enhance and complement the worship and preaching, not draw attention to itself.
In stage/set design, having a good relationship with the creative and communications team(s) is a huge advantage. Taking time to involve others in the process makes the job a lot easier when trying to create cohesiveness across all weekend service elements, from video to series design, to stage set.
Top Tips for Church Lighting
Make room for dynamics. Impact is only as good as the dynamic between the fullest and most simplistic visual. If everything is at 100% all the time, there is no room for dynamics.
Use less light. Just because you have 50 lights, it doesn’t mean they all need to be on all the time… and the lights that are on don’t need to be at full intensity all the time. This is especially important when thinking about stage design - nothing gives away the imperfections in a set like excessive lighting.
No overkill. Lighting is designed to enhance, not become the focus of your service. When creating lighting cues, start with “enhancement” in mind. Lighting is a support element for the worship and preaching, not for drawing attention to itself.
There are loads of ideas out there... check out what others are doing, but make it appropriate for your context.