Bob Kauflin recently explained why his WorshipGod conferences intentionally leave the lights up. Many churches debate whether low lighting sets a better mood or mimics entertainment too much.
Here's how experts weighed in. Answers are arranged on a spectrum from “yes” answers at the top to “no” answers at the bottom.
“The ability to ‘turn down’ the lights probably best encapsulates the lighting levels for Christian worship for centuries, when the ‘brightness’ of modern lights was not a possibility. Lights that are too bright can make it difficult to experience a gathered sense of corporate worship.”
~Bruce Benedict, chaplain of worship, Hope College
“A song’s energy and tempo will rise and fall, so why shouldn’t your lighting? I’m not suggesting strobing your houselights. But your lighting needs to reflect what’s happening from the stage. During slower, introspective songs, the lighting can be lowered to create an intimate atmosphere.”
~Camron Ware, founder, Visual Worshiper
“Worship lighting is a preference and should be appropriate to the
style of your worship space. Traditional sanctuaries with traditional worship and stained glass should be well-lit, while contemporary worship in contemporary venues should make use of modern lighting techniques.”
~Don Chapman, arranger and composer
“If most people in your church like a darker room, then don’t fight a needless battle to bring in more light. No matter how dim you go, however, please consider guests and those like me who have terrible eyesight and stumble around in a dark worship space.”
~Sam Rainer, senior pastor, Stevens Street Baptist Church
“No. Aesthetic elements should support and complement our response to God’s Word and the gospel, not overpower it, distract from it, or be the foundation for it. Every time in history the church has overly emphasized aesthetic and artistic elements, the gospel has suffered.”
~Bob Kauflin, director, Sovereign Grace Music
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more