Continuing our series from Seeds, today we’ll be digging into some great quotes from Marty Sklar of Disney. Marty has been the leader of the Imagineers for 50 years. Think about that for a minute; he was part of the team that developed Disney World in Orlando, as well as the other sites around the world. What has he seen and learned over those 50 years? Well, let’s find out. He actually had forty commandments in various disciplines, but I won’t even attempt to go through them all.


Marty Sklar—Disney Imagineer

“Communicate with visual literacy. Color, shape, form, texture are all keys to communicating. Pay close attention to color relationships.” 

We’ve probably all seen color clashes that are visually jarring. But are we guilty of that in our churches? What does the color on the walls say about who we are as a church? Do we color-coordinate well? Do we color-code things so people know where they are? Do we match the color of our graphics with the color of our lights (or make sure they compliment)? Do we use the right textures for the moment? What is our language of color and texture and is it consistent church-wide? These are all questions worth asking (and even better when you answer them).

“Avoid overload. Don’t give your audience too much information. Remember, they’re not contestants on Jeopardy; you only have a few seconds to gain their attention. Make them want to know more.” 

Too often, preachers and program people want to tell the entire story of the Bible in one 60 minute service. Not only is that impossible, it’s a huge turn-off for people. The Bible is full of mystery and depth, there is no way to “recap” it. Find a singular thought, develop it well, and leave the congregation anxious to learn more (then give them a way to find out more).

This applies to announcements, too. I’ve seen graphic slides (and the accompanying verbiage) go into excruciating detail about a given event. Give people the name, date and time along with a brief description. Then give them a way to learn more. Please… 

“Tell one story at a time. Create a story line that holds together from the first idea to the last.” 

A lot of churches are guilty of telling too many stories at once. I’ve observed that the best ones have a consistent, singular story that they keep telling over and over. Every ministry reinforces that story, and every service re-tells that story. The story can be different for every church, but it should be consistent once you get there. 

“Keep it up. Maintain it.”

Have you ever seen a candy wrapper on the ground at a Disney park? Probably not. There are two reasons for this. First, they have a veritable army of grounds keepers that pick things up quickly and efficiently. Second, because the grounds are so neat and clean, you unconsciously learn not to throw your trash on the ground because it would be offensive to spoil the immaculate grounds. 

When you walk into a church that is dirty, not maintained, and generally unkept, you unconsciously come to the conclusion that these people are not serious about what they believe. Constant mistakes in production lead to the same conclusion. 

“People can feel perfection. They may not be able to articulate it, but they can feel it.” -Walt Disney

This goes back to the unconscious perceptions we generate. We’ve had plenty of discussions on perfection versus excellence versus doing your best and I’m not going to go into all that here. But consider the implication of Walt’s words on what we do.

That’s just a smattering of the first 10 commandments Marty shared with us. He had a lot more, but it’s time to move on.

I was going to re-cap Whitney George’s breakout session in this post as well, but then I looked at my notes again. Yeah, no way to recap that in this post, so you’re going to have to wait until Monday. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Today’s post is brought to you by GearTechs. Technology for Worship is what they do. Audio, video and lighting; if it’s part of your worship service, and it has to do with technology, GearTechs can probably help. Great products, great advice, GearTechs.