Language of Light: Using Visuals to Communicate Culture
In modern worship, we can use visual language that draws upon 2,000 years of church history, and generations of culture.
Credit: Tom Neforas for Crossroads Community Church
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Lighting Design NewsFor Lighting Design, What Software Is The Right Match For Your Needs? (Part 3) Lighting Design Software Guide: Deep Dive Into Two Options (Part 2) Lighting Design Software Guide: Making It Easier With What Works (Part 1) Language of Light: Using Visuals to Communicate Culture
Lighting Design ResourceFor Lighting Design, What Software Is The Right Match For Your Needs? (Part 3)
Dig into this final part of a three-part series that looks into choices for lighting design software, including Vectorworks and LightConverse, and how each can best serve the needs of your church.
This worship space was that of a cathedral style, with 60-foot ceilings and the layout of a cross if viewed from above. So right away, the architecture focuses you on the work of the cross. The size and grandeur of the room would speak immediately about the glory of God. At the altar, we had a beautiful hand carved crucifix, a golden tabernacle, incense burning (The hazer of liturgical church) and several life-sized statues of Mary and St. Cecelia (patron saint of church production? She is the saint of music…).
The lighting was simple, never stealing attention from the artwork. The consistent look of the space before, during and after service encouraged visitors to explore the space for themselves and ponder the life of Christ. While there were plenty of simple white lights for the altar, the main light for Sunday morning services was 40-plus feet of colorful stained glass, with the resurrection at the center of everything as sunlight poured over the altar.
Stained Glass and Rock Star Leaders
Stained glass and windows in general are an awesome expression of theology in lighting design. Stain glass allows the building to close off the outside world and replace it with a vision of heaven. Even if it’s a simple single color instead of a detailed picture, the effect of cutting off the church body from worldly, sinful influence is clear. Holiness and biblical separation are the key values for these churches.
We’ve carried this over into the modern worship setting, with projectors and concert-style lighting. Like stained glass, separation is a key value. In many cases, we’ve completely removed all windows to avoid light pollution.
Again, we’re communicating a difference between the church and the world.
Interestingly, the feel of a concert setting at church also creates a relatable, fun vibe that borrows pop culture looks. People can see something separated, but relatable. Or “in the world, but not of the world,” if you prefer.
Concert lighting brings in a whole new set of visual language for an audience to absorb, this time from TV. It’s a language they have learned from countless rock stars and Broadway shows. These are larger than life figures. Using this language in church makes our leadership feel important.
Spotlights on a singer or preacher immediately imparts presence and authority.
After all, only important people on TV get spotlights.
Latest ResourceWorship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.