"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

a few ideas

Balconies in church poll results:

I can see and hear everything - 11%

Makes me feel less connected to the service - 22%

Great location for tossing Jr. Mints at people below - 55%

I feel closer to heaven - 11%

I'm afraid of falling over the edge - 22%

Less distractions, more privacy - 11%

Traditionally, balconies in churches don't provide the "great extra seating" that you might think. People that sit up there tend to be a little more spectator-oriented, and less participant-oriented. They tend to feel disconnected. If they want to come forward for prayer or anything like that, they have to go down the stairs, into the foyer, and back in through the sanctuary doors. Lots of distractions along the way - you've gotta be pretty focused to not forget what you were "going to the front" for.

Some churches solve this by having the stairs to the balcony go from within the sanctuary, and instead of steps TO the balcony, each "step" is a different level of seating, kind of like stadium seating. So you're much more a part of the sanctuary.

I'm no architect, but I'm pretty sure that just couldn't be done in the new location we are looking at.

So I had an idea. I wonder if we could send part of our Worship Team up there? Maybe a bongo player? Or a singer? Or a couple of flaggers? Would that help with connecting the balcony with what's happening? Maybe. I dunno.


I had another idea, about the pews. Pews are essentially long benches with fancy ends on them. What if we shortened them down to a love-seat or individual seat length, and reattached the fancy end? So now there's just room for one or two people to sit down. And we move those seats out of the sanctuary, and place them strategically in a hallway, or a corner of a room, or something like that. Just a place to sit down if you need it.

AND attached to that shorty pew in some way would be one of the stories of the congregation that was there for 94 years. So you can sit in a piece of history, and read about part of the history while you're there!

(Oh, I am amazed at my own brilliance. What a wonderful idea! Just kidding - I'm in a weird mood! LOL)

BTW, a.s. also had a creative-use-for-the-pews idea, and perhaps they would like to share it with you. a.s.?? are you out there??


Sheepdog said...

It's hard for me to say much of anything because I'm no expert on in-church dynamics.

What if nothing was done re the balconies? What if we just let the people who are a bit shy or unsure, or who, for whatever reason, want to be in church but don't want to be right in the thick of things... what if we just let them do that? Better to have someone at the fringes than not there at all, no?

And it's not like our congregation and our pastors are so rigid that people won't feel like they can move around if they feel that it will make them more connected.

Having said that, I know that I could never pastor a church, so my thoughts about such things may not be even close to the best ones.

a.s. said...

Hmmm...it took me a bit to remember what my idea had been.

I was thinking we could use the wood from some of the pews to make a table. Then on the table, we could put our book of stories from our 'Words of Remembrance'.

The stand that the book is on is kind of 'antiquee' looking so it might look nice on the old, original wood from the church. Plus, the 'Words of Remembrance' are a part of our foundation, so it might be neat symbolically, to have them sitting on a foundation of original wood from the church that, in a way, would become part of our foundation. Wow! You might have to read that a couple of times to follow what I was saying. That got complicated! LOL

Maybe they would be willing to write out some of their own stories that we could also put on the table!

mrv said...

I like your idea Patti of having
some of the Worship Band in balcony.

Also, agree with with Sheepdog, let
the shy ones hide if they want too lol.

As far as pews, not sure I have any ideas on that.

Dougie G said...

Same idea I had before.Different day.

"You could research all the pastors that have been at the church and dedicate a pew to their "term in office?"...or so many feet of a pew, with a historical biography. This could be written on metal plates attached to the pew with a picture of the pastor.You could sit in the pew and imagine the history and events that transpired!"

The balcony would be good for the worship team. It would be like having surround sound!
It would also be good for the sound board.... and those few people who want to be away from the action for some quiet solitude. Or a Christian rendition of Romeo and Juliet!lol.

Patti said...

Let the shy ones hide - that's a good idea.

However, we might have to make a rule like I saw in a doctor's office recently - "If you leave your children unattended, we will give them espresso and a puppy, and return them to you."


Although it seems like the balcony would be good for the sound board, it's actually not, from an acoustical point of view. It means the person at the sound board, who is supposed to be making it sound good for everyone else, is in a different place, and therefore hearing a different sound, than everyone else. Thus defeating their purpose.

Romeo and Juliet though - that's fun!

Dougie G said...

When I was about 14 years old, I always sat in the balcony at my church in Burlington. I sat with the ministers son, because we were good friends. One day we snuck out of church and broke into the manse and stole the ministers cigarettes. Little did we know he saw us sneak out and we were caught red handed my a well informed wife of same. Boy did we get in trouble! There was no more sitting in the balcony for us!