Ok, I need for you guys to be good with me getting really nit-picky for a few minutes. This is one of my more annoying characteristics, but I believe that the details matter!
One thing that I’m a very big fan of is a clean stage. Why? Because it communicates a few things to your church:
• You take seriously what you do on stage.
• You want to bring your best, in every aspect, to God.
• You want things to be clean & welcoming for guests.
If you think I’m being dumb or over the top, that’s cool. However, I think there is something to having a stage that communicates these things to anyone who joins your gatherings. You can’t tell people what to think, but you definitely can influence their perception.
For instance, when someone comes into your church but is looking for any excuse to leave, something as dumb as a sloppy looking stage or poorly designed set can be a deterrent. Think about it: you never leave your place dirty with you are expecting guests.
I know its dumb, but someone’s perception is definitely their reality. We have the opportunity to effect that perception to help bring them closer to God, so why not? Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
I’ll assume you’re onboard with me. Yes, a killer set can go a long way, but lets leave that for another conversation.
Lets talk about 3 simple things that we can do to create a more visually appealing stage this weekend:
1. Clean Cable Runs
I’m a big proponent of having clean cable runs. If you can, try and group the cables together that are moving along the same path. Think through how you need things to be run before you actually run it. Our Production Director, Daniel Shafer, is AWESOME at this, and I can barely tell how he’s running things.
There is this stuff called TECHFLEX that is incredible. Its basically a braided sleeving solutions that you can use to run cables through that works similar to a lax Chinese finger trap. This is perfect for hiding multiple cables and for preventing the use of huge amounts of gaff tape every weekend.
ALWAYS leave the excess at the source (i.e. Mic, D.I. Box, etc) rather than the patch point (i.e. patch bay, input, etc). This will help you keep things organized if you need to make a cable change quickly. Make sure that you wrap the cable nicely and place it even under the mic stand or behind the source. This alone will do wonders for your stage.
2. Remove Extra Fluff
Walk about 10-15 rows back from your stage and take a look. No seriously, go ahead and do it, I’ll wait.
What do you notice on stage that doesn’t HAVE to be there? I’m not talking about stuff that needs to be there, but rather the fluff. Chairs, tables, rugs, music stands (but that might be a WHOLE other post), papers, cups, etc. ANYTHING that doesn’t need to be there, get it off stage.
This is something you can do today, but you’ll need to maintain every single weekend. It sounds dumb, but you should have someone (typically a producer or director) who’s job it is to take a final look at the stage before your first service and remove any extra stuff on stage. Stages are NOTORIOUS for being magnets for stuff, so removing anything that doesn’t have to be there will make your stage look even better immediately.
3. Teach & Preach Standards
If you’re the only person looking out for all these things, then it can get exhausting and even annoying. While you’re trying your best to keep the stage clear of clutter and junk, people just keep putting their crap all over the place. How frustrating!
However, if you take the time to teach your teams (Music, Production, etc) standards of how you do things as a group, then you’ll multiply your efforts. This one has application far beyond a clean stage, but just imagine if everyone saw keeping the stage and even the tech booth clean because they understood that’s just what we do. Sounds pretty great, eh?
This will change how your team views their ownership of each gathering. Instead of being just a cog in a machine, they’ll be empowered and encouraged to take action to improve the gathering as a whole. You can’t just say it once, though. This stuff has to be taught and preached, over and over again. The result of this hard work will be a healthier team culture.