The Role of a Lighting Director: Illuminate the Work of Others

There are very few churches that have a dedicated LD working on nothing but lighting. If you are one of those churches, give your LD a hug and offer a prayer of thanks to God for his many gifts.

The Role of a Lighting Director: Illuminate the Work of Others
While other churches might have found a way to incorporate hazers and moving lights into their worship space, as shown here at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Okla., it was seen that such lighting was "not the right fit."

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The Role of a Lighting Director: Illuminate the Work of Others

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It’s not about your work being seen. It’s about illuminating the work of others.

The focus and desire needs to center around the idea that it’s not about your work being seen, but that it’s about illuminating the work of others.

There is a great community of media techs who share ideas here at Worship Tech Director. Chris Tall, the lighting designer for Essex Alliance Church in Essex Junction, Vt. and Steven Hall, the technical director at Journey Church in Norman, Okla., have already written excellent pieces on the Role of a Lighting Director.

Role of a Lighting Director: Understand Needs, Goals of Production (Tall)


Role of a Lighting Director: Create, Support Atmosphere for Worship (Hall)

My colleagues above have already made some great points on the topic.

If you have a Lighting Director (LD), you are in a blessed minority. There are very few churches that have a dedicated LD working on nothing but lighting. If you are one of those churches, give your LD a hug and offer a prayer of thanks to God for his many gifts.

The LD at a church has many roles, and thinking of them individually can help bring clarity and focus to each. Each stage of lighting is a show; from creating the initial design, positioning and focusing lights, programming those lights into a cohesive show and finally to operating and executing the show is a separate task with its own set of challenges.

Steven in his piece, focused on the importance of not creating a distraction in our services. The focus and desire needs to center around the idea that it’s not about your work being seen, but that it’s about illuminating the work of others.

It is encouraging that the church is embracing the power of lighting and projection to silently and subconsciously affect our emotions and change our mood. So often we enter our churches full of the chaos of life, and need a change in environment to help us to enter into a sacred place. Lighting helps to reshape our environment and that change is in the hands of the Lighting Director.

Given the weight of this, there is really only one role that you need to be aware of.

You serve the servants.

You bring illumination, and focus to all that we see. In this regard, you need to know what is the focus of each moment in a service. This requires that you serve at the table your leadership sets. Understand what leadership is trying to achieve and work with them. Not looking to illuminate yourself, your own work, but to bring light, focus and clarity to the work of your church.


More About Tim Ottley
Tim Ottley was born in Melbourne, Australia, and after growing up watching friends play rock music and share Jesus in the bars and clubs of Sydney, he moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 1995 to be a rock star. That dream did not come to fruition, but he then started working for record labels and local touring bands, beginning with P.O.D. in 1999 as their first touring manager. Tim would eventually find himself in Tulsa, Okla., and by 2010, he moved into a position at Asbury United Methodist Church, working with audio, video and lightning. Over the last two years, Asbury has made significant changes to services and sanctuary space, including the installation of the largest Environmental Projection system in a church in the United States.
Get in Touch: [email protected]    More by Tim Ottley

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Lighting Consoles Guide: Shedding Light On Choices
Learn about a half-dozen options that are particularly scalable, beginning with personal computer operability, all the way up to multiuniverse, full-size lighting consoles.


Article Topics

Technology · Lighting · Visual Arts · Lighting Design · Team Management · Leadership · Spiritual Health · Team Development · Churches · Design · Focus · Hazers · Illuminating · Lighting Director · All Topics

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