Once Upon a Starry Night
Not every idea in the church world is original… In fact, not every creative idea, in general, is completely original. That’s a topic for another time.
For now… enjoy our Christmas Eve Countdown video.
If I could do it all again I wouldn’t have a sick baby who was super fussy leaving me to have little time to get a good audio test run… For the most part, it turned out great… would like a little more lead vocal and touch less drum (or just less drummer in general… you worship leaders know what I’m talking about)
So we’ve kinda started this idea that we’ve continued through a number of different seasons at The Crossing Church… Dumb (but hopefully funny) Life Hacks and tips for special occasions. They all generally are thought up last minute and filmed rather quickly but so far have been received extremely well.
Comedy in Church is hard. Comedy, good comedy, usually walks a fine line of appropriateness, which is generally frowned upon by the church congregation (even though the night before they were laughing out loud at similar jokes on their favorite TV show). That generally leaves church skits, videos, and even sermons kinda waffling in this no man’s land of humor – funny to those who are on the inside, not so funny to those who are not. Sometimes you have to do your best to play to the audience (rule number 1 or close within comedy… know your audience) and do your best to get some laughs. Laughs hopefully help break down walls that allow the ultimate message to be received better… in theory.
So here are a few of our attempts to have a little fun (and admittedly play to the audience we know regularly attends each week and hopefully stretch them a little too).
It was time for a change and here is the new intro, host and more.
Not to mention that there was extra motion graphic work done for one of the announcements.
So here is our Christmas production from this year.
We arrange all the music for the choir.
Attempted to run the lights via midi signal being sent from Ableton which was also running our tracks. I also used my iPad to trigger songs via midi over wireless – which was pretty cool.
we don’t really have a camera team yet – that’s coming this next budget year… so the continuity issues you may notice are because we filmed one wide shot (and I didn’t do a good job setting that up) one service and a moving camera for the next.
This is what we were able to edit together.
So this happened… During our At the Movies series this past summer I was asked to preach for the first time (well technically the second but you’ll see).
*no copyright infringement intended. I do not own the rights to the movie clips or songs used. Without the clips from the movie half of the message would have been missed.
A little over 3 years ago when I showed up at The Crossing Church. The stage looked something like this.
Nothing inherently bad (outside the plethora of fake plants – half of which you can’t see in this picture). The floating crosses were a little strange looking but were part of a compromise from days past. Carpeted stage, strange gray carpeted catwalk like thing protruding from the front. Generally not too different from most churches like it. After deciding that using the stage and design to help enhance our message we ventured into the design area. We started with no budget and today we still only have a small one. We did and do our best to use what we find around us, on craigslist, or repurpose what we can.
A lot of churches are beginning to embrace the idea that a church platform can be visually engaging, enhance the room and message, and be a creative way to communicate with those who come through their doors. We started toying around with the idea about 2 years ago and have seen the wonderful results from taking the time and energy to create spaces like this. We’ve had simple 3D paper mache letters on the front of our platform, a 16′ fishing boat, caution tape, giant LED light boxes and more (I mean obviously we’ve used Coroplast…). We started small and continued to recycle what we could to created bigger elements. Church Stage Design Ideas was a great place for us to get ideas and has great articles on this same topic – I highly encourage you to check them out.
Here are what I think are 5 great reasons to consider playing with the look of your stage.
1. It creates a visual environment. We all know culture is becoming more and more visual and while the Church shouldn’t always just give in to where culture is going and how it consumes, this is an area that the Church has been part of for most all of it’s history. From stained glass windows, to cross shaped basilicas, to ornate decor on and around the stage and more, the church has seen a reason to create places that can transport someone to another world, or enhance the story they are telling with stunning visuals. We are doing this more and more and the Visual Worship movement is spreading like wildfire. The stage can be one of those elements, and I would argue should be.
2. It creates memorable ideas. Sometimes creating a design around a sermon series can help someone recall or remember things from that series that they may have not otherwise. Like I said earlier we had a 16′ fishing boat on stage for about a 6 week period. People still remember that ugly green boat but most of all they remember what they took away from that series because they remember that boat. We ask them about other ideas from other sermon series and it’s harder to recall for them. It’s a Mnemonic device really.
3. It’s a great place for people to serve and volunteer. Think about the opportunity for those who like to work with their hands and like to build things, your creatives and designers who visualize things, and even those who don’t just want t place to serve. The church should always be looking for ways to involve people in the church and finding ways they can serve.
3 Reasons to not consider stage design
1. It’s more about the creativity and design than about pointing people to Jesus. I have fallen in this trap many times. Sometimes is more about being cool than anything else. Thats a great reason to stop or pause or not do it at all. No matter how cool your stage is or how awesome things look let’s not forget the main reason we gather; to share the love and Grace of a great big God. I’ve seen more ministry done on ugly stages than really pretty ones at times.
2. Your tradition and current environment is a extremely valued asset. Not every church needs to play with the look of the stage. Some badly need to do so… (yeah burnt orange 70’s shag carpet stage… I’m talking to you). But some places find comfort and importance in their “look” be it traditional or not. It’s always important to think of what you are trying to communicate and how you are doing so. That may lead to a realization that adding some Coroplast towers may take away from the ambiance that already exists. Be smart, don’t do it just to do it, do it for a reason… one that you have poured over in prayer.
3. You’re doing it to be cool. The church will never be as cool as MTV. The church will never be cool no matter how hard we try. That’s ok by me (some churches are cooler than others however… #JustSaying). Like I mentioned above if you are doing it just to do it then you’ve missed something. Actually all 3 of the “don’ts” could be summed but by saying, make sure you pray through the why.
Bonus: 4. Because you already have a bunch of ficus trees on stage. Why would anyone ever think of changing that!!! Who would ever want to remove a ficus tree!!!
I love the creativity that can go into arranging songs and making them your own. I think they killed it.