Intelligent fixtures, also known as moving lights or automated lights, have been viewed with skepticism (if not downright disdain) by many churches, while being accepted or lauded by others. Churches looking to maintain a very reverential feel to their services often view moving lights as something for concert theatrics, and is not a direction they want their services to head.
However, moving lights can be a great benefit to those churches who aren't interested in the "rock concert" feel.
Allow me to give you a few reasons why moving lights can benefit almost any church style.
1. Just because they can move, doesn't mean you have to see them move.
A fixture that can move means that it can illuminate almost any part of your stage or platform without needing access to the fixture to manually re-aim it.
Churches with a more traditional feel to their services also tend to have less access to the locations where lighting fixtures are hung. This means that re-aiming their fixtures is a significant effort. And in reality, even extremely contemporary facilities may lack access to their key lighting positions, as catwalks (which provide physical access to where lights are hung) are frequently the first things that get cut from a building project due to cost.
Having a light that you can aim from your lighting console means you gain significant flexibility in your lighting without needing as much access to the lights. To keep them from being a distraction, you simply have them move when the beam is turned off.
2. They can save significant volunteer/staff time.
Not having to physically go to a fixture and re-aim a light can save time for those serving in your lighting ministry. Instead of someone having to take as much as 20 minutes to get to a fixture to re-aim where it's pointing (or even hours if a lift has to be used and chairs moved out of the way), it can be re-aimed in seconds from the lighting console.
This means that more can be accomplished in the same amount of time, or it takes less time for someone to do lighting for your service, freeing staff up for other things, or making the task more accessible due to lower time requirements for volunteers.
3. The lights can do more.
Many moving light fixtures do far more than just move. They can change the color of the light, add a pattern into the beam to provide a look of texture to the surface they are illuminating, change with width of the beam they project, and a lot more. All of these things can add beauty to your stage/platform without adding distraction.
It is true, however, than intelligent fixtures cost more, and there is a maintenance aspect to owning moving lights. However, with so many moving lights now having a LED-based light engine in them, maintenance issues are often lower as many maintenance issues were caused by the high heat of traditional lamps.
And yes, if you're concerned about the distraction factor of watching lights move, you need to train your tech team on what is and is not acceptable in the context of your church services.