On our honeymoon, Matt and I took a tour of Disneyland where we heard a lot about its history and development. It was there that we heard Walt Disney modeled the entrance to Disneyland after a movie theater and that is how it remains today.
At Disneyland, you enter the turnstiles into a small square (a sort of lobby). In order to get into the park proper, you enter through tunnels on the far ends of the square (which function as “doors” to the theater proper), each emblazoned with a plaque declaring, “Here you leave today and enter the worlds of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” Once you enter through those tunnels, you are quickly swept inwardly into the park and can no longer see the outside world.
This effect is compounded by the 12-to-20 foot wall of dirt, the “berm,” that surrounds the park. Disneyland has also never sold a newspaper in the park; to do so would to bring the outside world in. I’ve even heard that buildings are not allowed to be over a certain height in the immediate area surrounding the park, so they cannot be seen by guests enjoying the rides and attractions.
Disney intentionally wanted to create a world unto itself, a sacred space, if you will. A place where the cares of the world would not intrude and distract from the present moment. Such a place allows guests to fully focus on their present experience.
When the church gathers for a worship service, we have the challenge of transitioning everyone from the busyness and distraction of life into a singular focus on God. This does not happen automatically simply because we walk through the doors and the service starts. In fact, it is a personal pet peeve to walk into a service and have it begin as if I am locked and loaded for worship.
Some important questions to ask ourselves to that end:
- How can we help people make the mental transition?
- Are we creating a space separate enough for people to focus on God, meet him, and be transformed by him?
The more intentionally we can answer these questions, the more likely it is that our worship services will actually lead to worship and an authentic experience with God.
Up Next: Multi-Sensory Experiences