Carrying A Theme In Worship

This post is part of CREATIVE CHAOS over on Carlos Whitakers blog
where each Thursday Artists gather to share a creative thought or activity they have used in their church or will use this weekend. You can visit the chaos here
Sometimes it's hard to carry a theme through a series. Summer time is especially hard-because people are in and out so much, one series themes are hard to pull off.
The Summer of 2007 was going to be a challenge as we were to have weekends with different speakers.
We knew that we wouldn't have consistent teaching from only one pastor during this period, so we needed a way to connect all of these stand alones. We were having about 4-5 different speakers during the summer.

So we came up with a Theme "LIFESONG", where each of the speakers would speak from a life verse that means someting to them or has impacted their life. So, there is no way to connect that except with a theme. We were drawn to this gerbera daisy from stockexchange photo. It was bright, summer like and clean. We also used the LIFESONG "song" as a theme song throughout the series.

We found a backdrop from Backdrops.usthat gave us a visual effect on stage. By in effect branding the series with the flower, we created consistency across our services. Now I canshow this graphic (less the words) to anyone and they can name me sermons and scriptures used. Effective? I think so.

We also asked the congregation to submit their favorite life verses during the series and used these during services.

In using a theme in worship, we've found that visual branding of a sermon series helps people to remember the teachings. In over 3 years of doing this, our retention of topic and teaching has increased. My last test showed that nearly 80% could recall title, text, and teaching clearly.

I'll be posting next week about new series "Winds of Change" where we've chosen the Windmill/Wind Turbine (since we're surround by a farm of 700 nearby) to show change and God's faithfulness. We have two backdrops from (we sent them our pictures--not their stock photos) and are building light boxes with backlit logos. I think it too will be will remembered.

So my thoughts on themes:
1) Find a common metaphor/picture/story--explore how that can be expressed visually, verbally and through communication pieces.
2) Keep it broad--don't be too narrow. Allow space for it to breathe.
3) Connect uncommon things with a common graphic or representation. It can provide the umberella for things that would normally seem disjointed.
4) Color and Music can also be connectors to themes in music. Look for inspiration in color combinations in fashion, furnishings and more. Music can carry you week to week as a "theme" song is reinforcing the teachings.

What do you do to connect your services when a common scripture or section of teaching isn't used?