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Lighting
A view of the worship space at Asbury United Methodist Church in in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shown using environmental projection, paired with house lighting in the space.

House Lighting Methodology: Focusing on The Stage

When it’s a quiet and intimate moment, it’s appropriate for it to be dark and allow people to enter into that closet of intimate prayer with God.

House lighting gets us all into trouble. You just can’t make everyone happy.

We gather together as a congregation, a gathering of people to commune together.

While one person may need it to be pitch black, to feel free to worship, the next person needs bright house lights, daylight or a spotlight, to be able to see clearly enough to express their worship.

Between these two extremes, live the rest of us.

Which makes us uncertain why everybody else can’t just be happy with the way we like it!

I come from a live touring background, where the show started when the radio call was, “Kill the house lights.” The show did not start until the room was black. That’s about performance. The focus is on the stage 100 percent, and we use all our resources to make the performer the focus.

That’s not the case with a church service.

We gather together as a congregation, a gathering of people to commune together.

Our focus should be higher than the stage … higher than even the house lights!

the act or an instance of congregating or bringing together 

the state of being congregated

Closet, House, Church

Pastor Tom Harrison at Asbury United Methodist Church shared “three places we meet with God” in a recent sermon.

The first place is our personal prayer life – the Prayer closet. Here it is dark and intimate. One-on-one, we talk with our creator.

The second was the small group community – our spiritual house. Lit sufficiently, we can see one another, but with no one in the spotlight, we meet as family to share and encourage.

Finally, the third gathering is the church. A larger group where we learn from the wisdom and experience of others. In this place, we do spotlight some and we do focus our attention on others, as they share their stories of relationship with God that we can learn from their wisdom.

See, Focus, Beautify

In lighting, we have these three guidelines that oversee all that we do. We allow people to see what is happening. We draw people’s focus, to the most important thing that is on the stage. Then we attempt to make it all beautiful to look at. The goal is to draw the eye to something that it will enjoy seeing.

Big “C” Church

Somewhere between these two groups of three ideas, lies my methodology for house lights.

When it’s a quiet and intimate moment, it’s appropriate for it to be dark and allow people to enter into that closet of intimate prayer with God. As worship rises, it is appropriate for us to look around at our family, to see one another together in the act of worship in our spiritual home.

Then as worship turns to a moment of group celebration, it is right for the whole room to be fully lit up and bright, for the stage to disappear, and for the congregation of believers gathered together, to be one in worship: the church is gathered together, as one day we will, around the throne of our creator.

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