Top Ten "Mud 'n Spit" Ideas to Spruce Up Your Space

January 1st, 2018
This article is featured in the The Vile Practices of Ministry (Feb/Mar/Apr 2018) issue of Circuit Rider

There’s nothing quite like a fresh environment to signal a fresh wind of the Spirit blowing through your church building walls. I love integrating creative and trendy design elements into ministry spaces, using what I’ve dubbed as a “Mud ‘n Spit” mindset  gaining the most for our ministry dollars. Come along for a quick look-see of my recent Top Ten Ideas  all transferable to your own ministry setting.

10. Light Strings Anytime

Hang mini-globe light strings in larger rooms, gathering spaces and lobbies. They’ll lift your spirits on cloudy days and add extra lighting during the darker nighttime gatherings. Since a church lobby or entry space is generally the best people-connecting environment, keeping it fun and functional is key.

9. Hi-Top Tables

Order some hi-top table and chairs for your gathering space or lobby. Casual seating seems to say, “Come and go as you wish. Conversations are welcome here.”

8. Shiplap

It seems that shiplap is all the rage right now and using wood tones creates warm and inviting environments. Rather than think we need to plaster over an entire hallway or room, consider the impact and reduced cost of an occasional accent wall in your most public spaces. Shiplap also provides a great background “canvas” for wall hangings  so what are you waiting for? Check out your local home improvement store for a brand of easy-to-install precut material.

7. Resource Wall

Partnering with families to raise strong kids requires resourcing and equipping the parents. Our Parent Resource Wall offers helpful information in a lobby/hallway location. Wood is from

6. Update that Office Space

How do you fit twelve employees into one office area? We went simple and serene, keeping our existing file cabinets as desk supports  and adding some basic IKEA furnishings  all identical and budget-priced yet providing a professional look. Classy pendant lamps actually improved morale (!) and the children’s/hospitality staff have discovered great connections with each other in this modern-day “office space.”

5. Simply Beautiful Signs

Directional signage is a gift to guests! Signs subtly say, “We care about your experience and want to assure you get where you belong.” This semi-permanent sign is a poster printed in-house, mounted onto black foam and positioned on a thrifted and painted birdcage stand.

4. Faux Shiplap for the Stage

For our main worship stage walls I wanted to come up with a less pricey version of shiplap so we purchased 4’ X 8’ sheets of luan (thin, low-grade plywood) and ripped it into 6” wide boards of varying lengths. We applied two different shades of stain that gave us three colors total, offering a richer, warmer look. And for a worship series requiring our church’s logo, we used our old friend the overhead projector and white chalk to achieve this beautiful and washable(!) design.

3. Movie Reel Makeover

Our AT THE MOVIES worship series has become a yearly favorite. I discovered “rafter vents” available at any home improvement store for about $1.50 each. We stapled them over our beloved shiplap here and voila! — movie reel mojo. Rafter vents stack and store easily  an added bonus.

2. Cement Flooring 

While carpet may be the best option for children’s classrooms, lobby space calls for a cleaner, more open feeling. Wood floors were financially out of the question, but once our old carpet was torn out a cement foundation was exposed. Having that cement sanded, stained and sealed afforded us beauty on a budget that’s much easier to clean as well.

Aaaaaand, my all-time Mud ‘n Spit Idea miracle idea is incredibly simple and totally FREE!

1. Clear Out the Clutter

We are all-too well acquainted with the challenges of TOO MUCH STUFF in our own homes, yet our church buildings are even more vulnerable. Keeping most surfaces and wall space free of visual clutter allows only the most important messages to shine through. We live in a screen-based culture and must continually think through our spaces with a heightened sense of strategic communication and cohesive environment. Once this new vision is established, it won’t be long until everyone pitches in to maintain the look.

I love that small changes can create big results. Preparing spaces for connection and community is imperative as we seek to offer hope and healing to a new generation. Let’s get on it  equipped with a “we can do this,” Mud ‘n Spit mentality!

Need more ideas? Find me on Instagram @MudnSpit, or on Pinterest @kimmmiller. Check out my books from Abingdon Press, Redesigning Worship: Creating Powerful God Experiences and REdesigning Churches: Creating Space for Connection and Community.

comments powered by Disqus