Sunday, December 26, 2010

visitor jitters...

I didn't anticipate that I would feel so nervous & apprehensive about visiting another church this Sunday.
But it is a good thing. I used to visit other churches frequently. So having a free Sunday gave me the opportunity to explore the feelings of making the decision to attend a church and what it feels like to be a first time attender. It's always good to get a fresh look at what others are doing.

First off, I checked online...some had good information. Some did not and were hard to navigate.
I was looking at about 4 or 5 churches. I think the deciding factor for me today was ease and the fact that they had visitor parking and said so up front. Also there was a possibility I might know a person or two there.
A couple had shuttle services to satellite parking. Didn't want to face that. Ugh! I am actually a very shy person in new situations.
I knew some of what to expect from the website. Directions were easy to follow, though I did google it to be sure.
It was nice to have a sign directing me to the visitor parking as i entered the parking lot and they had ample visitor parking near the front door. Cool!
Welcome Center right in side the door. Not comfortable going there.
Lots of greeters, opening the door, saying "hi!" and handing out bulletins.
Like the fact that they had the announcements rolling on the screen during the countdown. I learned a lot about what was going on. Easier to see and watch than trying to decipher the bulletin. Too much information.
Worship right up front. About 20 minutes. Most songs I didn't know.
Then the greet and meet. Stayed seated. Didn't know anyone. Not approached.
NOTE to self: Make sure to look for people sitting down and go out to greet them.
Service was smooth, though I didn't know where it was going, since I didn't see the order of service in the bulletin. Is that important?
The message was good from a guest speaker.
Communion at the end, really nice. Picked up a neat little idea from that.
After the service; I actually ran across someone I knew from my church. We didn't have services today at XC (that is a whole other story). It was nice to see someone I knew.

Now, from my creative point of view. I wish I had brought a camera. The stage design was great.
A snapped a couple pics with my cell phone:

I would love to be able to sit down and talk to the person who does the stage designs for them. I think that could be possible, since our church does have connections with the church I visited.
All in all, a nice experience.
If I was searching for new church I probably would give it another try.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

another BLANK stage...

Yes, another blank stage.
O.k. so we had a few poinsettias.
December 20th, we performed a Willow Creek drama. Lots of busy-ness on the stage.
So, no real stage design.
In the meantime trying to plan the stage design for January literally on a wing and a prayer (o.k. lots of prayer).
Then for Christmas Eve, it was requested that we decorate the interior of the auditorium to somewhat reflect a traditional Christmas decor. In addition to another drama sketch entitled "Stolen Jesus".

Along with praying about January; we are still taking time to reevaluate the contribution and value of the stage designs, particularly when it meets the crush of a Sunday only set-up and tear down.
The stage designing is not going away.
Can we continue to implement creativity in so little time?
Are we in the way of the other teams?
Does it really impact people's journey?
Does it entice the skeptic, challenge the lukewarm & ignite passion in the believer (to go into the world)?
This ENHANCE team prays and designs so the stage reflects the message being given, just like the other teams. If it was simply decoration, I wouldn't be doing it. We design experiential elements that hopefully land the truth of what is being shared. We work to engage ALL the senses in the worship experience.
After the holidays, the leadership often will offer to let us take a break from creative elements. That means dramas, videos, dances, etc.
For example, just in the last several weeks; we have done a dance/movement element, 2 drama sketches, 2 videos pieces, 4 take-away or experiential experiences-challenges.
Well, that break doesn't really include the stage. *smiles*.
This is the synopsis that we have to work from for the next couple months:
Unpack the seven or eight identifiable attributes of spiritual maturity that we seek to gain; use the stories from (1 & 2nd Samuel, 1 & 2nd Kings, 1 & 2nd Chronicles) etc. to identify example of those who got maturity right, or those who didn’t as positive / negative reinforcement.

That's it. Now go...what do you think the stage design should be?

Monday, December 20, 2010

envisioning the future…

I envision it now, fb filled with images of Menorahs to commemorate the festival of lights, pictures of Ashura pilgrimages, the meditative thoughts of Bodhi Day, the time of devout and penitential preparation of the soul for the proper and worthy celebration of the great feast of Christmas for the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the celebration of family, community and culture of Kwanzaa and, dare I say it?
Christmas Nativities to celebrate the birth of Christians long awaited Messiah…

Today my profile pic isn’t a nativity…but more importantly a reminder of the expectancy….

THIS is what excites me in my faith journey about the season. To imagine what it was like back then...patiently waiting for the long awaited and prophesied Messiah.

Can you imagine the years of anticipation that lead up to this moment in time?
By next year, maybe people of the Christian faith will be posting Nativities, those who simply celebrate the Santa man, could post pictures of Santa & elves...

If you choose not to believe any of it…well, then keep your profile picture of whatever…

Start a revolution…

Don’t muzzle or deny others, but humbly share the excitement that fills your life.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

all riled up...

Not sure what has finally gotten me all riled up about Christmas today, but I definitely am.
Was it because I was shocked today when the man at the bank actually said "Merry Christmas" to me; I was so surprised. I turned around and said "Why, thank you. Merry Christmas to you."
Was it yet another story on fb about the offensiveness of the Nativity, or no wait, was that a Christmas tree?
Or was it the song about the 12 days of "winter"?
That's it. While I respect the beliefs of others; I have the right to believe what I belive. I'm not telling anyone that they have believe what I do.

I believe in Christ. I believe in celebrating Christmas. You are free to celebrate or not celebrate, whatever you wish.
"But, as for me & my house" we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Therefore, I am going to post a different pic of the Nativity as my profile picture from Christmas. And you know what, no one can stop me!
I already have posted my first one as my profile pic.

Here are some others that I am considering...

Merry CHRISTmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Nothing big and flashy, just a simply SHOUT element. We were studying the book of Joshua a couple of weeks ago, and I can't think of Joshua without the battle of Jericho. Think about it, seriously...God tells a group of warriors, strong, bold, courageous...hey there, just walk around the city
once every day for six days with the seven priests carrying ram's horns in front of the ark.
On the seventh day you big strong men march around the city seven times and then the priests blow their ram's horns.
That's what they did-and gave a war cry. The walls of the city collapsed, and the Israelites were able to charge straight into the city.

The stage was very simple.
Bought and painted some trash cans and buckets. Sorry, I am so not a graffiti artist.

So this is what we ended the service with...
SHOUT element at about minute 44
Let it buffer, then watch...

how to make teeny, tiny books....

Link to how you make teeny, tiny books...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

intentionally BLANK stage design for church…

The next few Sundays the stage design @XC will mostly be BLANK.

There are still some who prefer a BLANK stage for a variety of reasons. While I won’t delve into those reasons, suffice it to say the naysayers have it this month.

Trying not to let the negative comments overcome us. Simply taking time to reevaluate the contribution and value of the stage designs, particularly when it meets the crush of a Sunday only set-up and tear down.

When we were discussing the implications of going to a Sunday only set up, we tried to explain that the added in stage elements (drama, dance and stage design) would have the toughest time with implementation.

So the stage design team is praying and talking. Thoughts?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Friday, December 3, 2010

fishies in the ocean…

I think the “Fishers of People” is one of my favorite stories. I am all about reaching the fishies in the ocean vs. fishies in fishbowls. These big, strong fishermen chose to give up their well paying jobs and decided to follow a man they believed in. All to change the world. This week we are studying Mark 1:16-20.

Again dear friends, if you are reading from facebook, link over the designing for Philistines… to see the pictures.
In between the OT lessons, we are doing NT stories.
First was the “Parable of the Sower” (Matthew)
This week is “Fishers of People” (Mark 1:16-20)

Started with our theme song “The More You Know the Bible”.
Then did the “Books of the Bible Rap” (hit the link & scroll down, then you are able hear part of it) to go along with the four books of the Gospel that I've made.
In case you are wondering, I make these books from various types of boxes (cereal, dog bones, etc.). Glue white construction paper around three edges for the pages, and glue some colored paper around it for the book cover. Then I use sticker letters to write the name of the book.

Then we made simple fish out of colored paper triangles.
Read the scripture (and story). We talked about how fishermen catch lots of fish with nets. Then we pulled out our personal nets (made from white chiffon fabric with knots tied around the edges) and practiced catching our fish in the nets.

And of course the ever popular coloring sheets.

Somehow we have gotten on a kick of having snacks from different parts of the world.
So, the snack this week is one I learned to eat while living in Panama. They are ‘Maria” cookies. Yum, yum! Though they are popular in a lot of Latin American countries.

Hopefully you are enjoying these posts. I seems to be where I need to be at this time…

clothing is pouring in…

I’ve been blogging three years now. Almost solely about stage designing and experiential elements for worship experiences.
Back then there was Jonny Baker who blogs mostly about ancient modern experiential practices and Ragamuffin Soul (Carlos Whitttaker) mega-blogger from Buckhead Church which is one of the three North Point Community Church campuses. Los had a weekly blog carnival for stage design. It was very cool. Then he stopped.
I met several bloggers through Carlos’ blog.
Then more recently Church Stage Designs Ideas. There was another one that encompassed several types of creative arts from Willow Creek, which I can’t seem to find right now.
The trouble is, it seems most of what I find out there is about stage designing for large congregations with budgets. These are great resources for inspiration.
This week’s inspiration comes from Simple Worship Stage by Fork in the Road Music blogger
Russell Martin. I saw this design a couple weeks ago-and it jumped out at me. Very nicely done, simple and inexpensive. We were in the planning stages of creating the stage design for “Fishers of Men”
The implementation didn’t quite translate as well as we intended.

I wasn’t there for implementation - one person implementation, short time frame. I did have to laugh because though I was at home that morning, we were in communication via txt. Sending pics and suggestions back & forth. It turned out nicer than our pictures show.
At least, when the other elements we added in (video- it pulled it together nicely.

This was also the first week for the collection of items needed for the local elementary school. The items poured in; I will have more pictures later.
We have 4 Sundays a year, that are designated "Family Sundays". Everyone except the babies and toddlers are in the main service. This was the first week of our reformatted Family Sunday.
Before we simply had the children join us, had a shorter service, had kiddie bags and maybe an element design for all ages. This time we focused the entire service on a child's level, including the message from one of the teachers in the children's ministry. It worked out really well, but will need some tweeking.