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.
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?
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?