Set the Stage: A Manifesto for Church Stage Design by Jonathan Malm

Set the Stage: A Manifesto for Church Stage Design by Jonathan Malm

September 14, 2015 by
Set the Stage: A Manifesto for Church Stage Design by Jonathan Malm

It only makes sense that Jonathan Malm, founder of Church Stage Design Ideas, would write a book dissecting the process of church stage design. He intends for Set the Stage: A Manifesto for Church Stage Design to serve as a manifesto for stage designers. He says, “My hope is that this ebook will cause you to rethink stage design at your church. That it might even expand your mind and creativity for the art.” He shares the knowledge he’s gained over the years and adds in his personal experiences from the trenches of stage design.

There are essentially two parts to the book. The first half tackles the philosophy of stage design and encourages the reader to think about its purpose. He presents some great reasons both for doing stage design and for not doing it. Malm does a great job encouraging the reader not to settle for doing it just because every other church is doing it. I think many creative teams would be challenged by taking the time to consider some of his points. He includes chapters on Visual Worship and Who is Stage Design For? to go deeper into the reasons behind stage design.

“Stage design is not necessary. But it is a tool. Use a tool wisely, and it has great utility.”

The other main part of the book dives into the specifics of designing on stage. Having never been directly involved with stage design myself, many of the things Malm touches on were nevertheless interesting from a communications standpoint. He points out the differences and benefits of figurative design versus literal design, and also contrasts decorating and designing.

The book is interspersed with tips and insight from other church leaders involved in stage design. These are also compiled into one chapter near the end for a quick reference. Malm also includes a chapter on how to use Church Stage Design Ideas as a resource. Set the Stage is a quick read, but has a lot of valuable ideas to consider for any church who does or has considered stage design.

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Sheri Felipe


Sheri Felipe is a freelance graphic designer and writer, with a passion for branding and communications in the church. She currently lives with her husband in West Palm Beach, Fl.
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One Response to “Set the Stage: A Manifesto for Church Stage Design by Jonathan Malm”

  • Walker
    September 14, 2015

    Great, except for the fact that churches shouldn’t have stages.



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