This is in response to a former article I wrote on DIY Student Ministry. This is the third of ten areas that I’m covering in this series.
Being an artist at heart, I become very picky about how things look. My leaders and volunteers would be the first to tell you that if I don’t like the way something looks, I have no problem voicing that concern and/or adjusting it myself. I probably slave over the dreams of stage design too much, but feel that I have settled for an adequate stage design that can be slowly improved over time. For a particular series or event I have been guilty of spending entire days setting up rooms, stages, adjusting lighting, etc. I will have a vision in mind and just can’t seem to walk away until that vision begins to come to life. For those of you who don’t have your own space for students, I get it. None of churches I have worked/interned for have had a designated student building. While the student ministry may frequent the space the most often, the room is usually shared with other ministries in the church. With this in mind, you can’t go over the top being student friendly by making permanent changes to walls or staging. So how can you make the most of your stage/student space?
Before I share some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past few years, I would encourage you to recruit a stage designer and interior designer, perhaps even a construction crew of dad’s (they love this stuff!). Having a stage designer for each one of your series can constantly bring that “new” feeling to an area – this also gets you away from the DIY SM concept. My stage designer is quite crafty and thrifty making the most of products so we can have a dynamic yet cost effective display. She is good about re-using and re-purposing products to get extended use out of them.
Tips & Tricks:
- Make the most of your lighting! Get away from those hideous fluorescent lights and install some floor lamps, pars, and LEDs. LEDs can totally change the mood of a room…use a deep blue at the back of your stage to make it look bigger. Custom laser etched gobos can bring a “student owned” feel to your room even if it’s not your space. When you’re not in the room simply turn it off.
- Using foam core, or white stretching fabric to make shapes and designs you can light up with LEDs.
- Do you have an ugly background? Use pipe and black drape.
- Rather than decking out the entire stage for a series, use a designated location. We “decorate” a 4’x8′ section of the room for each series and light it up. This allows us to give it our best shot in a smaller area…this is more cost effective and is easier to change over every couple of weeks.
- Go digital. If you have a projector, use it! Our screen is the focal point of the stage…we using looping graphics and videos that go with the current series. This helps tie everything together in an entertaining way. If you have the money in your budget to upgrade to a brighter or higher resolution projector – it’s worth it.
- Create multiple levels for your stage. You can do this in the construction of your stage or by using risers. If you use risers, throw an LED underneath, it can look pretty cool.
- Experiment with student seating…on the ground, in chairs, or find some cool retro rugs. Considering how big or small your space is, you might be limited to your options.
- Use a large TV as an external secondary monitor for rolling announcements and reminders. (this is a next step for our area)
- Did I mention how much lighting can make a difference in your space? 🙂
- Remember…you’re not in this alone, get others to help and actually own this!
What’s your advice on a student space/stage?