Sometimes, you just gotta rent some lights…
This Easter, we spent a little extra to rent some mover that are a little more powerful than ours. The tight beams enabled us to match some looks between the beams and our back screen, which made for a nice look. More on the Easter staging to come…
Category Archives: Creative Planning
Sometimes, you just gotta rent some lights…
I have been spending 100% of my time recently in the field of management. That is a noble endeavor, one that is sorely needed in the church. But it is not the entirety of what I have been called to do. To be able to give, there has to be something there to give from. In practical terms, that means that there needs to be some time set aside each week for creative intake.
This is intentional – not just watching or listening to something that you already know and like, or even just surfing the net. If you want to be inspired in your video or graphic arts looks, collect some great examples and see how you can adapt them to your needs. If you want to be inspired for your stage/platform “looks,” search for sites that cause you to think outside of the normal patterns of your day-to-day (including, hopefully, at times, the website you’re reading). I try to make reading a part of my daily plan – I also try to visit as many other churches as I can when I have off weekends. It refuels my tank!
One thing that I learned during my time at Willow Creek was the importance of transitions. It’s very easy to get so focused on the content – the various bits and pieces – of what we’re doing on any given weekend that we neglect look at how they all fit together. You can have a great song, or moving video, or some other very profound service element – and an awkward transition can drain the impact from the moment, sometimes completely.
We make sure that we do two complete runthoughs each weekend (actually three, since we do an abbreviated one on Sunday morning, as well). The first one has every single service event, in order, with every single element, including announcements. The only thing that we don’t do as part of that is the message. In addition, we run through all of the lighting, where everyone is staring, the lyrics and Scripture verses, etc… each Thursday at 1:30pm.
This takes planning. I do think that our worship leaders have to have a certain amount of freedom to react to the moment. However, I also know that sometimes freedom can be an excuse for laziness. The people of our churches that God has entrusted us to serve deserve the best we can bring, and like anything else in life, planning, practice and preparation help us to be able to bring our very best!
What are you doing when you’re not singing or playing?
My role these days is usually as the worship service “producer” at Northview. It’s my job to lead the planning process. It’s also my job to make sure that all of the elements are solid, and that they fit together and flow well.
We work on transitions a lot – we don’t just need great worship music, videos, etc… – the service elements all need to flow well and fit together in a way that makes sense. We also take the visual into account. I’m a musician by background, and I know that one of the weaknesses of my kind is that we tend to focus on the music – only. There’s so much of an emphasis on making it sound great, that we completely ignore what it looks like. We lose focus of the fact that a big part of communicating is visual. And that’s our job. To communicate. To communicate God’s love to His people, and to communicate our thanks back to God.
So back to the visual side of things. Keeping the focus where it should be is critical. All it takes is someone messing around with an effects pedal, or scanning the congregation for friends, or – and I’ve seen it happen fairly regularly – scratching themselves, and you’ve just pulled people’s attention away from the elements that you worked so hard to put together in the first place, or – even more seriously – away from focus on God. Focus on God if it’s a song to God. Focus on the congregation if it’s a song designed to encourage each other in following/serving Him. Between songs, vocalists and band members should be looking at whoever is talking or leading a moment.
More in the days to come on focus..
A peek at Northview’s Christmas stage look for this year. We have two balconies in our auditorium (kind of like an old-fashioned theater), so the surface of the stage become part of the “look” for those viewing it from above. This year we have several large floor stickers to help give things a unique feel.