Today, one of the more popular themes for children’s church areas is the “Main Street” theme. This flexible theme converts a plain, ordinary church hallway into a design that calls to mind a classic, small town Main Street, complete with store fronts, street lights and 3-D signage. The model of this theme, of course, is the Main Street, USA at Disney theme parks. It’s a salute to hometown Americana with it’s retro decor and design with shops such as candy stores, ice cream shops, barber shops, arcades, police and fire stations. You can see several examples of Imagination Atmospheres‘ Main Street designs in our gallery but in this article I’d like to focus on a different kind of Main Street design and one that works quite well in a children’s ministry church environment. This is a “Biblical Main Street” or “Old Jerusalem Town Square,” complete with Biblical-style storefronts, merchants and vendors.
Types of Biblical Main Street Themed Environments
Imagination Atmospheres has created several Biblical Main Street themed environments and we’ve discovered they generally fall into three main design categories:
- Realistic Design
- Storybook/Cartoon Design
- Modern Design with Biblical References
Let’s take a quick look at the different categories.
A Realistic Design would be one that fabricates an authentic Biblical environment. This type of design is rare in children’s ministries and is usually created for theme parks, stage or film sets. The purpose of this type of theming is to capture the realism of a Biblical landscape. architecture and experience. A professional theatre company producing a Passion play, for example, would have need for this type of environment and would request Imagination Atmospheres to build a village, room or set with the most authentic detail. Creating this type of detail would involve many artists and would require a larger budget and timeline but the end result would be an atmosphere of stunning realism.
The Storybook/Cartoon Design uses the Realistic Design as a model but creates a visual environment closer to the illustrations in a child’s storybook. Architecture, murals and other details have a more stylized or cartoon feel to them. This design is the most effective for children’s rooms in churches. Depending on the needs of the particular children’s ministry, the design can range from the more realistic look to an extreme, stylized, cartoon version. This allows for a fun, humorous environment that also serves as a teaching tool. Many of the Main Street designs created by Imagination Atmospheres have a Disney or Looney Tunes feel. This allows the environment to appeal to kids and adults alike. Because Imagination Atmospheres custom designs all of their themed environments, your particular theme could be created to focus on preschool, elementary school, middle school or even high school kids.
Often, the Biblical Main Street themed environments reflect the standard Main Street environment in that they also feature “store fronts” and “vendor shops” along the themed street or square. These can feature the humorous as well. Some of the “store fronts” we’ve created in the past are:
- Delilah’s Barber Shop
- Joseph’s Carpentry Shop
- Paul’s Travel Agency
- Mary & Martha’s Bed and Breakfast
- Goliath’s Big and Tall
- Noah’s Pet Shop
- David’s Music Shop
- Elijah’s Chariots
- Matthew’s Tax Service
- Dr. Luke’s Office
- Samson’s Gym
The options are limited to your imagination and it’s a great opportunity to completely customize your own themed space.
Modern Design With Biblical References
This design isn’t really a “Biblical Land” environment, however, we put it here because it is a modern Main Street theme with Biblical references. This is also currently a popular choice for children’s church areas. The distinguishing characteristic of this theme is that it looks like a contemporary Main Street theme but the store fronts and vendors (and frequently street signs as well) have names that evoke Bible characters and stories. The shop names are usually the same as the ones in the Storybook/Cartoon Design mentioned above, while still incorporating a contemporary design. This gives a humorous level to the atmosphere which kids always appreciate and teachers can utilize for stimulating questions and teaching points. In this type of themed environment, you get the best of both worlds while still being very customizable and personal.
I should mention briefly that it is possible to do the opposite to this design, where you have a Biblical environment with modern references. This is also a great way to incorporate humor. For instance, “Delilah’s Barber Shop” may have murals featuring contemporary barber tools and furnishings in her ancient store front. Often the Storybook/Cartoon Design utilizes this technique to some extent anyway so it is indeed possible to have a theme incorporating all of the different Biblical Main Street design elements.
The Main Street themed environment is a popular design for children’s worship areas today. The added dimension of Biblical style and elements make it a fun and unique way to bring your teaching curriculum to life while giving your kids a fun atmosphere they will want to come back to on a regular basis.
You can start designing and customizing your children’s ministry space today by contacting Imagination Atmospheres for a free consultation.