Lighting Design: Experiment With Your Space, Don’t Simply Copy

One of the most frustrating yet liberating foundations of design is that much of the best design comes from within the limitations of resources.

Lighting Design: Experiment With Your Space, Don’t Simply Copy
Some churches might be blessed where light streams in the side windows on sunny days. The space might even seem magical at that point. But when the sun has set, and the lights inside were on, how does the space present itself then?

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Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017

Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.
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It was love at first sight: Of course, I’m talking about the woman who eventually became my wife, but I’m also referring to the church where we got married.

My fiancee and I visited that beautiful sanctuary, on a gorgeous, sunny day. Light streamed in the side windows and the movement of the trees outside cast shadows full of texture across the walls and floors. The brick walls seemed to change shades of pinks and browns, as clouds danced through the sky, periodically obscuring the sunlight.

Your scenic lighting can be killer, but it’s likely not the reason you want people attending your church…

The space was magical.

Fast forward seven months, to the wedding rehearsal on an October evening. The sun had set and the lights inside were on.

Old and inadequate flood lights illuminated a part of the stage while the rest sat in darkness. Wall sconces that I hadn’t noticed in the daytime were riddled with blown bulbs. The previously warm and inviting interior felt cold and sterile. Was this even the sanctuary I remembered?

That night was the first time I had noticed the vast difference between nature’s seemingly perfect lighting and a poorly executed stage and architectural lighting design. I seriously doubted that my wedding would look as beautiful as I had hoped.

The wedding rehearsal ended, and after a night of restless sleep, I arrived back at the church, relieved that the sun was shining again and the sanctuary seemed to have been restored to its former glory. Crisis averted!

If you’re reading this article, then chances are that you’ve been in a similar situation: You’ve been given domain over spaces with extreme potential, but when you just “turn on the lights,” there’s quite a bit to be desired.

Just like good furniture, finishes, and stage design, an intentionally planned and well-executed and lighting design can make or break the welcoming environment that we want our churches to be.

Here are some basic principles that will help get you started in using lighting to take your space from good to great.

Evaluate Your Space

Beautiful photographs abound of modern church worship centers and historic sanctuaries on websites like this, but just because you see a great design does not mean you should implement it. Your church building is different than my church building, so what works well at mine may not work well at yours.


More About Adam Dye
Adam Dye is the Media Director at Brentwood Baptist Church, just south of Nashville, Tennessee, where he oversees production for the church’s six campuses. Originally working in the recording industry, he’s had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest country, Christian, and rock artists in the country, but most loves working with the amazing volunteers who serve alongside him at the church. He spends time each summer with high school friends hiking the Appalachian trail, is his church staff’s resident Tour de France fan, and enjoys discovering bike trails and greenways around Nashville with his wife, Allison.
Get in Touch: adye@brentwoodbaptist.com    More by Adam Dye

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Team Management · Leadership · Team Development · Volunteers · Artistic · Design · Experiment · Sanctuary · Scenic · Science · All Topics

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Comments

By Chris Tall on May 11, 2017

Nice article Adam!

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