Improve your service with these 5 lighting tips

Truth or dare: You watch the worship from ‘big churches’ and secretly wish you had their awesome lighting.  Trust: mostly definitely yes!

The right lighting has the power to literally transform a stage from moment to moment. When each color wash and LED is fine tuned to the music with precision timing, it’s a work of art. However, as with most things, creating an amazing lighting display can cost a LOT of money. It’s at this point that most small churches give up. How can you sell a lighting package to the board that costs approximately as much as the entire building itself?! Don’t fear though, there are things small churches can do on a budget that will bring your lighting display up to the next level.

1. Remember Your Focus

First thing to remember is that enhanced lighting isn’t the end all answer to your problems. Adding a couple LED’s is NOT going to bring boots in the door. Yes, it will make things look nicer and more updated, but in the end it’s the Holy Spirit and the uncompromised message of Christ that draws people. Everything else is secondary. That doesn’t mean things like lighting aren’t important… in fact, they are VERY important to the flow of the service. Just don’t count on technology to solve all of your problems.

2. The Power of Color

Since the dawn of time, church stages were lit. Whether it was evenly lit or poorly lit… regardless they had basic light on them. All pastors had to worry about was flipping a switch. Is it no wonder that adding a couple of LED color washes on your stage can give the entire service a new level of professionalism? After all, color washes are something you expect at fancy events or concerts… they are what the professionals use! Color is amazing. It can give new life to an old stage. It can set the mood for worship. We are very visual beings, and our eyes tend to hone in to color.

3. Wash the Room

Buying a couple of LED pars is a great way to start washing your stage with color. You can position them on either side of the stage so they wash in on the band. You can also position them behind the band up high so they give almost a vertical color wash of the entire stage. Another option is to set them on the floor and wash the walls behind the band, pulpit or baptism with a pop of color. Depending on the size of your building, toned down color washes on the sides of the sanctuary even add a inviting pop of color. The options are literally endless.

4. Set the Mood

Imagine the fast paced Darrel Evans song that starts out your Sunday worship set. The drums are rocking, guitar strumming, lights on bright, people vigorously clapping… 20 minutes later when you start to sing ‘Draw Me Close’ the drums are now subtly playing, the guitarist gently plucks the strings, the lights are still on full blast, and the people are raising their hands gently. See the problem? Everything changed with the direction of the service, except for the lighting. You don’t have to go crazy on this, but even some subtle changes in the lighting of the sanctuary helps match it to the service. Dim the crowd a little, don’t make the band AS bright as they can possibly be… anything to complement the flow of the service.

5. Change is Good

Lastly, give your lighting a little variety from song to song and week to week. Just because you threw some color washes up doesn’t mean they have to stay the same color all the time. Change is good. Don’t get stuck in a rut, otherwise you are back to square one, just now with more expensive lights.


So now what? Let’s head back to the beginning. Truth or dare: You watch the worship from ‘big churches’ and secretly wish you had their awesome lighting.  Dare: I challenge you to critically evaluate your churches lighting, and use these 6 tips to come up with a gameplay for improvement. Trust me, it will be worth every penny.


Have any comments? Let me know below!




Written by David Belich
David Belich is the Media Director at World Revival Church, and an avid technophile. David has a passion to grow the kingdom of God by helping churches utilize media and emerging technologies more effectively.