How To Set The Stage

Everything Communicates

I got a question this week about the best way to set up the stage for a worship gathering. You might not give much thought to it, but how you set up the stage communicates a lot. Here are my thoughts on it.

Note: If the images aren't loading you can download them here.

The typical rock band setup is singer in the front, guitarist to their left, keyboardist on the right and then bass player in the back next to the drummer. It looks something like this:

The thing is, a worship band isn’t a typical rock band.  We're not putting on a show and we don’t get the hours of practice with the same band members and same ten songs a rock band does so what are we to do?

Show's over

The method is the message. It's hard to tell people we aren't putting on a show when we set up everything like every show we've ever seen. We don't need to hide the band (we're a part of the worship gathering too!), but shifting the band in a way that highlights Christ rather than the band can go a long way in setting the expectation. A cross in the center with the band gathered around clearly communitcates who's at the center of the gathering.

 It's hard to tell people we aren't putting on a show when we set up everything like every show we've ever seen.

The Eyes Have It

With lineups and song lists always changing, sometimes in real time, it's important for the band to have clear sight lines to everyone. Hand signals can be helpful but if someone misses it you're in trouble. Being able to feel and see your drummer about to go back into that bridge or your lead guitarist extending that solo another two bars goes a long way in keeping everyone on the same page. Seeing each other also creates a greater feeling of community. We didn't come to church to worship on our own, we came to worship together. With all this in mind, my favorite stage setup looks something like this:

The band and congregation can all see each other and the cross takes center stage. Everybody wins.


I chose to offer a setup for the a five piece band because that's what we teach at Worship Artistry. If you are intentional about placing the spotlight on Christ and making sure your band can communicate well, you can adjust to any personel. I also want to make clear that this is by no means THE way to set your stage. You have to work with your people and your environment, but it's important to always be asking why we do things. How do you set up your stage and what is working well for you?

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for

How To Set The Stage

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Stage Positioning

I cannot see the images at all for the stage setups, could you email them to me?
I'm using the latest version of Firefox as my browser

Stae Postitioning

I cannot see the images at all for stage setups. could you email them to me as well?
Thanks in advance

More then average

Our Worship Band usually includes the Worship Leader on piano as well as main vocals, drums, bass, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, keyboard and 2 to 3 other vocalistist. Do you have any suggestions on placement for everyone?