Author Archives: Lindsey Marek

About Lindsey Marek

I am the outreach director for Kidnect CDC located in Omaha, NE. One of the best parts of my job is designing, building and painting sets for our children's ministry. My husband helps out from time to time. We have no formal training for such things, we've just picked up some tips and tricks from theater along the way. So if we can do it... so can you!

For Scotte

One year ago my friend and mentor took his life. It changed a lot of things around me. I wrote about it last year, but could never bring myself to finish the post. As the anniversary rolls around this year, I find myself reflecting on that post and wanting to finish it.

Yesterday in a meeting, we talked about grief and the one year mark. Our Pastor shared how people mistakenly think a grieving person should be over the loss and moving on in a year. He shared how it’s so easy to be frustrated when you look at how far you still have to go in order to be through the grief. It is a long journey. But he also suggested that you take a moment to look at how far you’ve already come.

This chapter isn’t finished. My grief is not over. But I know that I have come a long way, and God has been by my side for every step. In this post, I can see how far I’ve come already. And I feel it’s time to post it.

Last month my dear friend took his own life. I cannot tell you how heart-broken I am. Scotte was not only my friend, he was my boss, my encourager, my source of inspiration. I will miss his creativity and his cheesy jokes. I’ll even miss cleaning up his messes and those stinking coffee cups he left everywhere.

Scotte was a lot of things for a lot of people. He was unlike any person I’ve ever known. To me, his greatest talent was encouraging others. He was so good at making you feel special and included, which made working for him a dream. I took my job at Kidnect because of Scotte’s mission and vision and stayed working there when I wanted to leave. Being on Scotte’s team has always been special to me. I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.

Scotte encouraged me to do many things I was uncomfortable with. I went on a middle school mission trip once (middle schoolers terrify me). I went, just because he needed the help and he asked me to. When I thought I wanted to be a childcare director, he gently turned me in another direction. He saw other talents in me that would be wasted in that position. Instead, he gave me the freedom to create. Even when he thought my ideas were crazy, he let me give it a try. If I was stuck on something, Scotte’s office was the first place I’d go. He was the one who encouraged me to start this blog, encouraged me to dream big, to be better.

And that’s as far as I got. I could never finish the post. It still feels unfinished. But I think I will feel that way for a long time, maybe forever. Scotte was a dear friend and a super person. I think about him everyday.

A lot has changed in this past year. I still mourn. It looks different than a year ago. I’ve reflected a lot on Scotte’s greatest qualities this last year and the one I miss most was his ability to encourage others. To make you feel like you were special. I’m trying really hard to carry that on for the people around me. I pray that God can help me to be a mentor and a good friend to those around me. Especially those that miss it like I do.

Miss you everyday Scotte.






It’s been awhile…

Hello all! Wow. It’s been a minute since I’ve been on the blog. So much has happened!

When I started blogging years ago, I felt the need to provide easy set ideas for other churches to use. I’ve searched the internet for my own purposes and never found anything similar. Sometimes I’m just looking for inspiration. Sometimes I need to learn how to create something specific. YouTube is sometimes helpful with learning new things. But set creations and painting techniques are harder to find! Let me know in the comments if you have ever seen anything like that!

Anyway, I started blogging because I felt that need myself. Other churches had begun to take notice of our stuff and asking to rent our pieces, etc. People always seemed to have this idea that building a set was so hard! But seriously, if you have someone with just a little bit of creativity in your churches you can do this! Like I’ve said before, my husband and I have no formal training and when we began we really didn’t know what we were doing either. We attended some breakout sessions at children’s ministry conferences that got us excited and gave us ideas and we just went for it.

At that time my husband and I were doing set work as volunteers. We both have full-time jobs and so set was kind of just a hobby and took a backseat to other things. Since then, my job description in the church has changed a bit. My technical title is Director of Outreach for Kidnect but my responsibilities are kind of all over the place. I am the assistant director in our childcare program, I build sets for both of our children’s ministry locations, I teach chapel and I am the lead teacher and program coordinator for our school age program. Which means, I can finally focus on set stuff (plus this blog!) during the workday! I hope to get this blog up and running with some new content very soon! I hope to see you back here then!


VBS Brain Storm

So… VBS this year.  Anyone else doing Group’s VBS this year?  Weird Animals?  When we first looked at it, we were less than excited.  Keep in mind this was way before we knew anything about it.  All we had was this one picture of their main set and the name.

Weird Animals VBS Decorating Set Image

The title didn’t have us dreaming big.  We really couldn’t think of anything except Dr. Seuss books when we looked at the picture.  Big fuzzy trees and strange imaginary plants.

Then we thought:  well why not?  Why don’t we go for something similar to Dr Seuss’s jungle of nool.  That could be cool.  So we went to our old friend Google.  I Googled Seussical Set.  And found this beauty:

From the Nisbett Family News

And this one:

Seussical Set by wetojoby wetojo on deviantart

I showed these photos off to some people (people being Seth and my boss 🙂 )  who thought they were just as cool.  On a side note- my boss is someone I also consider a friend- he is the youth director at our church and the big-man in charge of the childcare we opened there.  The childcare is where I get to hang out everyday.  Anyway, both guys liked the photos.   Seth and I talked about the possibility of carving the stairs from foam.  Of course they wouldn’t be functional… but Scotte (my boss)  was excited about the idea of real stairs for use by our dancers and leaders up front.  

So then, our stuff came in from Group and they posted all of their set stuff online.  I spent a few hours watching their videos and dreaming up ideas inspired by them.

I love these flowers.

And I was super inspired by this tree.

 I really love how all those little things hang down all over the place.  I want to build a giant one in our sanctuary.  It’s a big space with a super tall ceiling, and now we have a lift to get things waaaay up high!  Exciting!  I can’t wait to get started!  Our next step will be to talk it through with our team at church and see what will be possible for this year.  Keep Dreaming!  -Lindsey

The Basics

Hey there!  I wanted to share with you the very basic things that we use every single time we build a set.  Number one: Paint.  Duh.  Paint is my best friend.  It can make everything look good.

tagged paint          cart tag

This is my paint and my paint cart.  For some reason, years ago we needed the cart as a prop and it was donated.  I found it sitting sadly in the corner of the garage and snatched him up.  My paint has to be hauled around alot, and it’s very helpful to have this guy or I would probably never put things back.  Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t put it back. ever.  Not without wheels.  Now about the paint, I realized after I took this picture that that can is the only one we have like that.  Some times we buy mis-tinted paint off the shelves because it’s like $7.00.  Score!  But usually I grab a color sheet and ask them to mix me the cheapest flat paint they have.  Flat paint looks waaay better under any lighting, and it’s easier to paint over. and over. and over.  The Cool Whip container is what I use to mix paint.  I have several little tubs that I keep on hand to make new colors.  I don’t run out to buy new paint every time I do a set, I try to create new colors from leftovers if I can.

Next up, are our one man walls.  When we first started building sets we built about 10 of these walls all in one afternoon.  We knew how to build them from our theater experience in high school, and we also knew that we would get tons of use out of them.  So the price didn’t matter.  But still, these are fairly inexpensive!  Here is the front and back of one of the walls:

tagged wall1       painted tagged wall

The front of ours has obviously been painted, last time it was used it was Santa’s workshop!  We made our walls of a few 1X4’s and a sheet of Luan which is like a super thin sheet of plywood.  Ours are 4′ X 8′, but you can make them any size you want!  We’re lazy, and the Luan comes 8′ tall- so we went the easy route.  You just nail the boards together, or you can use screws, but for us- we went the lazy route again.  Then line up the luan in one corner and staple it from the front along the edges.

Then carry it wherever you need it, and screw them together, and stand them up!  Here’s the trick- lay them all face down with the bottom where you want it to stand, line them up and screw them together from the 1X4’s on the backside.  Get a group of people to support the seams (where the walls are screwed together) and stand it up.  We use these walls as a back drop in every set.  I mean every. I can’t think of any we haven’t used them for.  It can be as simple or elaborate as you want:

KFX tag     castle tag

We love how these walls are easy to carry and quick to set up.  Our set closet is located in the basement of our church on the opposite side of where the sanctuary is.  These walls get painted and stored down there, but they are so light one person can carry them- hence the name!  (even I can do it and I’m a wimp)  Right now, we are also using these walls as a permanent fixture in the lower hall.  I paint a new scene on this one every month for Sunday School when the theme changes:

stadium tag     iceburg tag

And this one we set up in the corner of the room and we use the area behind it for storage and a ‘backstage area’:

Bike shop tagged

That’s it!  Those are the things we always have on hand- and use every single time we build, no question about it.  But I have to say our greatest resource is definitely paint.  It’s how we make every thing look exactly how we imagined it.  Until next time-  Lindsey

To blog or not to blog?

I wasn’t really sure if blogging was something I really wanted to do.  I wrestled with the idea of one for a while.  Am I really going to keep it up?  How much extra work would it be?  This summer, while my husband and I were working on Vacation Bible School sets, we talked about how many skills we’ve picked up since we began creating and how nice it would have been to have someone who could have taught us some of these things from the start.

Before we build, we always Google for ideas.  Unfortunately, Google doesn’t have very many set ideas unless you’re putting on an actual real-life theater show.  You know what I mean?  So we end up finding pictures of real-life items and then brainstorming how we can turn them into a set.  Through this blog, I will document where we get ideas from, how we decide what to build, and how we actually do it!  Hopefully, someone somewhere who Googled a set piece will find our little space on the web and be inspired!  I promise, our stuff may look difficult, but anyone can do it.

So, this is it for now.  I’m organizing photos and such so I can start posting about our previous set experiences soon.  I will start with the basics that we use every time we build, and then I will get into last year’s VBS.  This will be fun!