Church, Create

Rethinking Church: PVC Pipe Stage Design

Rethinking Church was a series to go back into the days of the early church and see what made them the movement they were. We wanted to take a futuristic approach to this series since it came on the heels of our Sent series that took an ancient look. To accomplish this futuristic look we looked to Tron as our inspiration.

We designed a stage to match the look and feel of the series brand.

Original sketch

Due to the price of the PVC we eliminated the fifth panel under the screen.

Materials Used

  • 260 – linear feet of 4 inch PVC pipe

  • 64 – 90 degree elbow joints

  • 12 – couplers (just in case, and we were glad we did)

  • 3 – 4’x8′ coroplast panels

  • 60′ – 1×2 (frame for center screen)

Construction Process

We delegated the measuring of the pipe to create the design to 2 people who came back with the measurements on the right.

They went ahead and cut all the pipe on a Friday and we assembled it on the following Monday.

It looked great on paper and it looked just as good assembled on the floor. But when we flew it, there was obviously an error somewhere. They were definitely out of proportion.

So after a phone call to my engineering friend, Sam McCord and calling in our master plumber Jimmy Nickelsen (who is also our Speedway Campus Worship Leader), we came up with a game plan to extend the long legs of each section by 3 inches.

With Jimmy in the lift and 2 of us holding the structures as they flew, we began sawzawing away at the long legs and extending them with a coupler.

It was the remedy, but it wasn’t easy. As we began to cut, the joints loosened and some of the structures came apart making it harder to glue as they were already suspended in the air.

With patience and more patience, we held each piece as the glue set and all was copasetic.

We had one more thing to troubleshoot. The bottom of the 2nd structure, which was flown from the structure above, wasn’t parallel to the ground. So Jared, our Technical Director, cut some PVC pipe to support the structures from the ground. This also prevented them from moving.

Jared then made the magic happen by adding lights to the set and the end result was great.

It’s always a privilege to have the volunteers to help take these stage designs from a poor sketch on paper to a final product.