I think lighting is the most overlooked technical art in churches today.
Sound we get – because feedback is unbearable.Video we get – because between TV and YouTube we spend hours a day absorbing video. Even graphics we get – We all know what a bad PowerPoint looks like!
When it comes to lighting though, many churches I’ve worked with couldn’t possibly be less interested.
I am a huge fan of lighting in church work. And not just for your youth services either! Lighting has the power to do two critical things: 1. Focus peoples attention, and direct it where you want it, (minimizing other distractions) and 2. Control energy and atmosphere in your room. This is something that’s easier to demonstrate than to explain, but trust me, if you are interested in engaging your congregations attention, and/or creating environments that ‘feel’ conducive to worship – you need to be thinking about how you are using light.
Here’s the paradox of stage lighting in churches. Like most technical art in church arenas, a lighting system needs to exist to bring attention to something other than itself. Makes sense right? When it’s done right, you didn’t really notice it, sure it looked beautiful, but more than that – it just ‘felt right’. It ‘felt easy to worship’, the congregation was ‘into it’, and more people were engaging. The lighting has helped create an atmosphere conducive to worship – by focusing attention on where the worship leaders are taking the congregation, and using color, light and shade to complement and enhance the dynamics of that journey.
Again – this is easier to demonstrate than to explain, but like-it-or-not, music today is an audio-visual experience. As I described in a previous post – the ‘worship experience’ is as much about what you are seeing as what you are hearing.