The Set Designer is the second of the "building" personas (the ones who pull the stuff off, pretty much). A Set Designers knows the value of well-prepared space. More and more companies are realizing that the traditional cubicled office layout actually hampers productivity because of its blandness. The space we live in profoundly affects the quality of our work, and Set Designers strive to create work spaces that can foster creativity and innovation. In the book Tom Kelley said he is questioned by people as to whether or not creating "creative" space actually makes a company any money. His response is another question: "How many companies really want their offices to be boring, dull, and devoid of energy and emotion?" Well, when you put it that way…
It’s the same in the church, I think. Sometimes people question the value of, say, spending money making a worship space look good, or installing track lighting in the foyer instead of fluorescent lighting. If money is spent on those kinds of things, we think we’re just one step away from outright idolatry or something. But my response is like Tom’s: Why should our worship spaces look drab? Why shouldn’t our foyers look cool? Is it more holy to make things look as bad as possible?
Set Designers can affect all kinds of aspects of a church community. For example, if you oversee a staff, think about creating a community space devoted to innovation. This space would be stocked with all kinds of creative supplies, like Post-it notes of all colors and sizes, markers and crayons of every color, poster board, scissors, etc. Kind of like a kindergarten classroom, when you think about it, which would kind of be the point. It would be a place people could drop in to start recovering the creativity too many of us left in kindergarten. How about learning spaces? Do people learn well under fluorescent lights and bland walls, or is there a better way to design learning spaces? (Kindergarten classrooms might be a good place to start.) Set Designers can also help to create spaces in a church building that not only benefit staff and members, but the whole community. How can the space you have be utilized to transform your community?
Another idea for the Set Designers out there: could you create dedicated public space for creativity and innovation, where anyone could come before or after a church service, or any time during the week, to collaborate with one another to dream up the future of your church? Perhaps this would be a way to make the development of vision and values an open, communal process. If people feel they have some ownership in the process, they’ll feel much more committed to the "final product". The other advantage is that you will be able to utilize many creative minds you may have never even thought to tap.
Set Designers can be invaluable in the church, creating the right kinds of spaces for worship, creativity, innovation, learning, mission and celebration.