Setting the Stage for Worship
Over at the North End Collective Church in Boise, Idaho
, their new set design is so unique, I asked the Worship Pastor, Ben Biggerstaff, about the philosophy behind it and what it took to build it. While, the work was done by Foster Weld, a local welding and design company, Biggerstaff and his team put a lot of thought into it.
I asked him about the inspiration for the new stage and he spoke of the North End Collective as a church founded on the reality of God as our Father. We are sons and daughters, and together we are family. As a family, “we spend lots of time in each other’s homes, porches, and backyards. So, we wanted our corporate worship space to reflect some of the natural aspects of our backyards. We chose barn wood, steal and Edison lights strung over head.”
But, isn’t worship something we do with our lives? Is set design in a church really something we need to consider?
“Worship doesn’t begin or end with our time in our building. We know that worship is what we do with our whole lives and so I think the space creates a familiarity to the rest of life that both sets our church at ease and promotes worship outside of the building.
I believe that the role of the worship leader includes doing what we can to reduce fear and increase faith as we gather together. Reducing fear comes from connection and the stage design can help with that. Think about what is normal to (our) everyday life. Nature. Homes. Yards. Water. Landscape. What do (we) naturally find a connection with? Integrate that simply into a stage design and it will ease anxieties and fear for a greater time of worship. I’m personally not a fan of ‘props’ or anything that makes the stage look like a performance for spectators. The set needs to connect with the rest of the worship space. So, the fact that we are doing this ‘together’ is reinforced. We have a wood/steal pillar in the back of the worship space and wood planter boxers in the windows to tie it all together.
One more question. For those worship pastors and churches looking to update their stage design, do you have any parting words of wisdom?
“A few things to consider technically: If you have stage lights, how will the design affect the lighting? We created space between the wood so the light will be seen through them. Also, consider the footprint (of the stage and the band set up) and how that will affect cables running on the stage. Our (pillar) bases have large spaces where we can access the XLR inputs in the stage. Measure twice, cut once!”
Isn’t it refreshing to walk into a sanctuary set for worship and feel invited in? What has your church done to revitalize the worship space?
Writer & Artist
Amie Longmire is a writer and artist. She holds a masters degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California and an undergraduate degree in Organizational Leadership. She’s taught university level writing courses, published her work in magazines, started her own print company, and she’s been writing for small businesses as a freelance writer and editor since 2010.