One of the most common challenges in Children’s Ministry is storage space. The next issue frequently encountered is ministry area. When you combine these two together, you can find yourself in a real pickle, especially if you are trying to develop a unique stage area with impact. Here are some helpful hints on creating a stage set that plays big and still packs small.First, consider the wonderful uses of PVC pipe. Its uses can go so much farther than just creating a puppet stage. The gray PVC conduit can even be heated and shaped into curves, etc. You can use it to build frames for draping cloth backdrops, collapsible tables, and banners and signs. Think about designing a portable curtain backdrop that you can accent with posters, signs, and props.
Second, consider using posters and signs to accent your stage set and promote your theme. Mount your posters, signs, and even designer wallpaper to foam core posterboard for durability and easy set up. You can hang some from the wall or ceiling. You can also create self-standing ones similar to the celebrity stand-ups you find in stores. These self-standing posters add so much dimension and pack flat for storage!
Third, think about lighting. Even a few portable colored floodlights shining up on the back wall will create lots of atmosphere.
Fourth, if you want something different than a cloth background, maybe you could design your set from foam insulation board. It’s easy to cut with a knife, melt with a soldering gun or blowtorch, and carry off to store flat against a wall. And it can be painted with latex paint, though it will take some time to dry.
Fifth, if you’re looking for space to display props for object lessons, etc., take a walk through the furniture section of those Mart stores. There are oodles of shelving units that will fold up flat and easily store during the week, and still have a nice presentation for displaying items for you lesson.
Sixth, use the ceiling. You can hang most anything from the ceiling to create more impact and even carry the theme throughout the whole room. (posters, signs, inflatables, toys, plastic birds/fish/fruit/etc., party decorations, fabric, fun noodles)
Seventh, use sound effects and background music! It creates tons of atmosphere and takes a tiny bit of room.
Eighth, use lightweight colorful props such as: fun noodles, inflatable objects, posters from the teacher supply store, etc.
Ninth, use computer projection! Consider using a projection system for more than just words for your song service. Use it for displaying pictures for your sermon, backgrounds for your puppet skit, and movie clips for your life application stories.
Tenth, take a road trip to the local building supply/home improvement store. Walk the isles just to see what’s there! You may surprise yourself in what you find!
by Gary R. Linn