Set Design: Do We Really Need It?

When considering a new set design for a worship venue, what do we want to communicate with this new set design?

Set Design: Do We Really Need It?
An example of a Christmas set design. When considering a new set design for a worship venue, my first thought is always about communication.
Set Design: Do We Really Need It?
An example of a Christmas set design. When considering a new set design for a worship venue, my first thought is always about communication.

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Some would say that designing a set for the worship area of any church is a waste of time and resources. After all, people — including the technically gifted — should be able to worship the Lord in any setting.

In some ways, this argument rings true and starts to chip away at the iceberg of production-related problems plaguing the church today. However, before totally ruling out set design as something too showy or expensive, we must stop and consider what set design encompasses.

Every worship venue, whether ultra-traditional or uber-contemporary, has a set design.

Simply put, the set design of any given space is the collection of aesthetic features that contribute to the makeup of the space. This could include elements as traditional as the walls around the organ chambers or the pictures in the stained glass window behind the pulpit. It could also be the three-dimensional design elements sitting on the stage or even the environmental projection throughout the room.

Every worship venue, whether ultra-traditional or uber-contemporary, has a set design.

Now let’s turn our attention to best uses of the space we have to work with. There is no doubt we all work in vastly different worship spaces each equipped in many ways. Due to this fact, I’m going to keep the thoughts here fairly generic so they can be applied in many different situations. 

When considering a new set design for a worship venue, my first thought is always about communication. What do we want to communicate with this new set design?

Even the color of your walls or the placement of the instruments on your stage can communicate something. So it’s important to step back and determine what you want to communicate before even beginning the design and execution stage.

Branding is critical. Our world is full of branding. Everywhere you turn you see a logo for something. Our eyes are accustomed to viewing content with cross-marketing and subliminal brands placed right in front of us. Set designs for worship spaces can take a great leap forward in this realm.

I don’t mean that we should sell advertising on stage.

However, look for ways to creatively integrate your church’s logo or perhaps the current sermon series artwork (if you have that) into your set design. This is another way to visually support the message your leadership wants to imprint upon your congregation.


More About Michael Scott
Michael Scott serves as the Director of Media Arts for Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla. He has a passion for serving the church and helping the Body connect through worship. Michael oversees all aspects of live production in multiple venues with a team of more than 50 volunteers. Ask any of his volunteers and they will tell you that Michael's main goal for his team is to serve without distractions and with excellence. Throughout the course of Michael's career he has had opportunities to work with many churches of varying sizes as a full-time employee, contractor, or consultant. Michael has been married to his wife Kristi for 12 years and they have two sons, ages 8 and 6.
Get in Touch: mscott@hhbc.com    More by Michael Scott

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Article Topics

Visual Arts · Stage Design · Congregation · Contemporary · Cross-Marketing · Dimensional · Set Design · Worship · All Topics

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