How Lighting Can Enhance Your Place of Worship

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By Tom Murphy

A church should be a well-lit place for its worshippers. Good church lighting only enhances the environment as it is essential for different places within the building. There are three main areas that church lighting can be utilized at its best.

Where church lighting works best:
Main Stage – You more than likely have been to a concert before, even if it was held at your church. The way technicians light a concert is the same as they do for some church services. The idea is to use stage lighting to highlight areas of the stage that are used the most. When the term church lighting is used, you can identify it with other types as well such as concert and event lighting.

Choir – The choir is an area that you will see church lighting being utilized the most because the choir seems to be the main focus of any service. In order to light members, a spotlight is utilized to present them to the congregation. This light is normally placed directly overhead or on the left and right sides of them. When done correctly, the members will be the main center of focus.

Congregation – Many times the congregation requires direct church lighting. This is done through the use of recessed lighting. This lighting is unlike stage lighting and event lighting because it presents more of a softer focus onto the congregation. The reason soft lighting is utilized is so members are able to read their hymnals and able to observe the speaker when presenting the service.

A church has always been known as a center for worship, but modern day constructs of it have allowed for an expansion of the traditional type and permit for a more updated appeal with such additions as event lighting and stage lighting. This is something that is mostly overlooked by the congregation and best left to the technicians who do this type of electrical work.

With stage lighting and event lighting a church is able to do several things, such as brighten up an area for the special events that it puts on. Special event lighting adds to the environment as it creates more of a natural setting, one that members are used to. There are many things to consider when lighting these areas, such as the lighting levels that will be required and the types of fixtures needed.

Lighting fixtures – There are only two main ways to light a church, direct and reflector flood bulbs. Direct is for areas of the church that are dark. High ceilings play a major role for direct lighting as it is used overhead to light these areas.  There are also indirect fixtures that work well off of different ceilings such as white and wood. They also feed off of low ceilings and perform the same objective as it does for high ceilings. Many times direct and indirect are used in a church for effects that balance each other.

Lighting levels - Lighting levels depend on several things, one of them being the congregation. It is ultimately up to a lighting technician to decide how it will work best. The lower the lighting the more the atmosphere is going to feel comfortable as brighter lighting is made to focus on a subject. The central focus for balancing light is to rid any part of it from shadows. Many churches are equipped with dimmers, which allow for the manipulation of light. Dimmer controls are made available in theatrical and general types.

In order to have the most suitable lighting fixtures for church, there are several factors to consider such as what types of lighting will be needed and where. Stage lighting is great for concerts and other events, but event lighting is good for brightening up the choir. Both are utilized in most churches but for different things. Stage lighting and event lighting are only two ways in which light can help as there are many other types that can be used. No matter what your lighting needs are, make sure you make the effort to shed some extra light on your church.

 

Founded in 1978, Vincent Lighting Systems provides theatrical, film/video and architectural lighting for a wide range of businesses, including performing arts centers, educational and religious organizations, corporations and special events. Their event lights will make any occasion memorable. Whether you need to purchase, rent, install or repair a lighting system, Vincent Lighting is always ready to help.

Psalm 147: “Our God” by Valley Creek Worship feat. Rachel Moreno

Psalm 147

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
    praise your God, Zion.

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
    and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
    and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
    his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
    they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord.

The Lies We Sing

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By Gary Sinclair  

A few years ago there was a popular worship song in vogue whose main lyric was, You’re all I want, you’re all I’ve ever needed. It was a powerful song with a beautiful refrain. No doubt thousands sang it over the years.

Then just this weekend I actually played and sang in our worship team and we did a newer song that declared, With everything I will shout forth your praise. Many embraced it with great passion and enthusiasm. Its words and melody were captivating and flowed easily from the mouths of those in attendance.

But it is songs with words like these that also trouble me. No, not because they contain some blatant Scriptural error or that the melodies are trite or have lyrics that merely repeat the same thing over and over. Rather, I simply know I can’t sing those songs and totally mean what they say.

Jesus is not all I want much of the time. I want my kids to live near me, a job that provides and good health the rest of my life. I long for people to love me, for my wife to think I’m wonderful and for my ministry to go well.

In addition I can say that I rarely praise God or serve Him with everything. I still hold back parts of me that I don’t easily offer up for His kingdom or glory. And in this life I don’t know that I ever will.

The better or more authentic lyrics, though not particularly poetic or singable, would be, You’re a lot of what I want, but there are still many things that tempt me.  Or, With most of my being I’m trying to praise you right now, but I can’t get rid of the everyday temptations that fight for my attention. 

Put bluntly I lie to God when I sing these worship songs. They’re just not true for me.  I want them to be but they are not in everyday life. I wonder how many others do the same.

So the question is, Should we write and sing songs with similar lyrics that suggest impossible amounts of commitment to God in the first place? 

As both a pastor and former worship leader I would answer with a resounding yes and no!  (Sounds like a pastoral answer doesn’t it?) I say “no” on the one hand because we probably need to spend more time helping people to be authentic and real about what they say, hear and yes even sing. Congregations have been singing hymns by rote for years without grasping the full magnitude or multiple implications of what they sing about.

The title and content of the great hymn I Surrender All come to mind.There are hundreds more just like it.

Perhaps those of us who write songs should consider penning more lyrics that put our struggle, challenge and humanity in context. We could provide more permission to wrestle with the tensions we face trying to become like Christ in this life but not getting there. I John 3:3 suggests that someday we will be like him, but implies that we’ll never totally be there in this life.

Worship leaders could more readily reject songs whose lyrics are off the charts in their blatantly inconsistency with real Christian living.

But on the other hand I also add a guarded “Yes” to still writing and even singing some songs that give us a high standard and a lofty goal to shoot for as a Christian .

The Bible does this, doesn’t it?  Consider the standards for church leaders in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The lists of leadership qualities there are long and yet there isn’t an elder or deacon alive who is all of those things all of the time. But the challenge is there.

In the same way I do need to be reminded that following and serving Christ requires that I become more like Him and that I should want Him and Him alone. I do need to be urged to worship Him with everything and to gradually lay aside the chains that slow me down. 

Perhaps what we need from worship leaders and pastors is a greater awareness and more readily spoken word to our congregations that we do recognize we’re simply not perfect yet.  We are still becoming.  Maybe our songs can then more regularly become anthems that rally and encourage real change, a greater passion for Jesus and a new desire to exalt the Father from the depths of our being. 

All I know is that I don’t want to lie any more. I don’t want to pretend that everything is fine. Too many think we Christians don’t mean what we say in the first place. Maybe we can do some practical things in our worship for starters to prove them wrong and live real, genuine authentic lives before them.

 

Gary Sinclair is currently a teaching pastor and the Director of ACFcares at Austin Christian Fellowship in Austin, Texas. He is a keyboardist and singer as well and served as a worship leader for eight years at Grace Church in IL before becoming senior pastor. He writes two blogs, loves the mountains and is grandfather to four grandsons.

Set List: April 10, 2013

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Most Played Song This Week:
10,000 Reasons – Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman

Second Most Played Song:
Days Of Elijah – Robin Mark 

All Other Entries:
A Mighty Fortress
All Because Of Jesus
All The Poor & Powerless
All Who Are Thirsty
Beautiful One
Come Just As You Are
Hosanna
Deep Cries Out
Everlasting God
Exalted One
Glory To God Forever
God Is Able
God Will Make A Way
He Is Yahweh
He Loves Us
Holding Nothing Back
Hope’s Anthem
How Great Is Our God
How Great Thou Art
How He Loves
I Have A Hope
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
I Love You Lord
I Stand Amazed
I Surrender All
I’ve Found Jesus
If It Ends Today
In Christ Alone
Jesus Paid It All
Just As I Am
Lord Almighty
Love Divine
My Savior First Of All
O That Will Be Glory For Me
O The Blood
Oh God
Open Our Eyes
Our God Saves
Overcome
Revelation Song
Rise And Sing
Run
Scandal Of Grace
Search My Heart
Sing Sing Sing
Sing To The King
Take Up Your Cross
The Stand
There Is A Redeemer
Tis So Sweet
We Are Blessed
Where Could I Go
Whom Shall I Fear
Wonderful, Merciful Savior
Worthy Of My Praise
You Are
You Have Won Me