Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Usually newer worship expressions are relegated to secondary worship spaces. Usually this is rationalized because they don’t need as much room as the traditional sanctuary affords.
But, this subtly makes it harder for them to grow, giving them a second-class feeling. Here is a church that had trouble growing its contemporary worship service because (in part) it was upstairs in an inconvenient location. But after moving the contemporary service to the sanctuary, interest and attendance jumped.
Take a look at this example exhibiting recommendations to a client. Then note the four things they did (and you can do) to ensure parity between worship expressions.
You will have to do some things to make a cavernous sanctuary feel smaller and more intimate for a smaller crowd. But, this can be done in four ways.
- Use lighting to make the space seem smaller. Keep certain parts of the sanctuary darker and focus most of the light on the area in front of the stage.
- Rope off seating. This goes along with #1. Roping off seats steers people to seating that is concentrated in part of the sanctuary.
- Move the preaching and worship leaders off of the platform. The platform (as can be seen in this picture of a client church) can be utilized for a screen and the worship leaders can move to the floor in front of the first rows of pews. This creates connection and community between the leaders and the congregants.
- Move the musicians to a location where they don’t have an extensive setup and teardown between services. You can see the musicians were moved away from the center of the stage, putting them to the side. This meant the musicians didn’t have to take down and set up as much between worship services.
Want to maximize the missional impact of your various worship services?
And do you want to unite them as well?
Get the outside voice you need … with consulting/coaching by Bob Whitesel DMin PhD bob@ChurchHealth.expert