Role Of The Lighting Director: Don’t Be Fearful of New Ideas

No matter the medium, the lighting director exists to come alongside others to create an environment that is conducive to a worship gathering.

Role Of The Lighting Director: Don’t Be Fearful of New Ideas
A good lighting director treats his light like art, constantly trying new things, being creative and not sticking with “well, it’s always been this way.”
Role Of The Lighting Director: Don’t Be Fearful of New Ideas
A good lighting director treats his light like art, constantly trying new things, being creative and not sticking with “well, it’s always been this way.”

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Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, May-June 2017
The May-June 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine includes a series of recent articles that appeared on the Worship Tech Director website over the last few months, as part of a special edition, first made available to InfoComm 2017 attendees.
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The various roles of lighting directors in churches are as varied and diverse as the churches themselves. Some are lucky to have a volunteer by the time service starts on Sunday, and others have paid full-time staff members dedicated to creating and maintaining functioning lighting systems at various venues.

No matter the role of the person - volunteer or staff, brand new or seasoned - each person has the unique opportunity to craft and shape an environment using light.

A good lighting director treats his light like art, constantly trying new things…

For some churches, it may be a simple light switch, and for others, and full-size lighting desk. No matter the medium, the lighting director exists to come alongside others to create an environment that is conducive to a worship gathering.

Focus On the Basics

For many churches just starting out or working to update their lighting looks or processes, it’s often the simple things that will make the biggest difference.

A new lamp for your front wash will get that vocalist out of the dark. New, rich gels will make your color wash on your back wall pop like it hasn’t in years. Turning off the baptistry and choir lights when it’s not in use will bring the focus back to your pastor while preaching. Matching your LEDs to your video background will create a seamless look across the stage.

A good lighting director knows what the basics of light are, and he does them well. All of these fixes are either free to incredibly cheap. They simply require a little bit of time and effort, but they go a long way in building a solid foundation for our lighting to be built upon.

Adapt To Contexts

Perhaps more than any other technical area in the church, lighting tends to be the most divisive in terms of worship styles. This is where a good lighting designer will recognize the context they are in, and will adapt accordingly.

When we contextualize the Gospel, we don’t change the message, but we do change how it is delivered. The same goes for our lighting. The principles are still the same, but oftentimes, our methods are quite different. For one church, it may be haze and moving lights that fits well with their worship style. For another, simple LED PAR cans may be enough.

Depending on the leadership of your church, your pastor may or may not have much say in this. If he does have say in it, then your decisions about how to adapt to your context have pretty much been made for you. If he takes a more hands-off approach, that’s where it’s important to be open and honest about intentions and goals in how lighting is programmed and operated on a Sunday morning.


More About Greg Saffles
Greg Saffles is the Creative Director at Shoreline Church in Knoxville, Tenn. He has a passion for using environments in the local church to display the glory of God. Previous to Shoreline, he spent four years as lighting designer at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. During this time, he discovered a passion for using production to bring glory to God, the use of technology within the church, and for the creative process as a whole.
Get in Touch: [email protected]    More by Greg Saffles

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, May-June 2017
The May-June 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine includes a series of recent articles that appeared on the Worship Tech Director website over the last few months, as part of a special edition, first made available to InfoComm 2017 attendees.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Team Management · Leadership · Spiritual Health · Team Development · Volunteers · Churches · Console · Environment · Lighting Design · Lighting Desk · Lighting Director · All Topics

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