Platform

What Happens Here

  • Sermons and liturgy (spoken presentations)
  • Seating for choral and/or instrumental musicians
  • Drama and music productions

What to Look For

  • How great is the separation between the platform and the rest of the worship space?  Is it too high or too low?
  • Does the platform seem crowded, or too small for its assigned use?  Is it difficult to focus on the most important activities taking place?
  • What kind of access is provided?
  • Broad steps across the entire platform edge
  • A raised ledge with designated stairs only
  • Access from “backstage”
  • Access for persons with disabilities or confined to wheelchairs
  • Is platform lighting appropriate for its use?
  • Is the stage or platform dedicated to a single kind of activity?  If not, how easily is it converted to another use?
  • Are musicians seated on the platform?  What measures are taken to help them see and be seen, hear and be heard?
  • Where do other worship leaders sit when they’re not actively leading worship?
  • What kind of liturgical furnishings – pulpit, font, table, etc. – are used?
  • Is the location of the platform or center of worship fixed?  If not, how is it moved?  How is lighting modified for different configurations?

Why It Matters

For better or for worse, as worship mimics theatre, the platform from which worship is led takes on increased importance and sophistication. 

Ideas

One acoustics consultant described the platform and its immediate surroundings as sound’s “Wonder Years.” What he meant was, like children, sound is greatly affected by the surfaces it encounters early.  They should generally be reflective (hard) and diffusive (shaped to disperse rather than focus sound).

It’s important for musicians playing or singing together to hear each other.  If they get no sense of the  sound they’re generating, they may overcompensate with too much volume or bad dynamics.  Look for ways to reflect some sound back to its source as a way of improving everyone’s experience.

Room x Room posts are brief examinations of the nature, purpose and potential of typical spaces used in ministry. The intent is to help users see and consider how each component contributes to (or hinders) the ministry it serves.