Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's With All the Lights?

Wow, its been a while since I posted anything here. Easter has come and gone and now the
pre-summer lull is almost over too. I knew if I didn't grab this chance to post, I probably wouldn't get around to it for a while.

Here at Topeka Bible Church we are blessed to have many talented and creative people volunteering their artistic talents for God's Kingdom. In many cases, we also have the privilege of providing them with the resources to do so. If you have been coming to TBC for more than 6 months, you'll notice that a lot has changed at TBC in a specific area of our worship services: Lighting.

Initially, this took the form of adding some simple color washes to the stage walls and dimming the house lights during music to minimize distraction and maximize the focus on whatever worship element was taking place. However, in the past two months, we have been able to expand our lighting capabilities to include a variety of very flexible light fixtures. These fixtures allow us to control the color, intensity, and in some cases the position and pattern of the lights. Our talented volunteer lighting operators have tackled this new system and done a great job using these tools as another artistic element in our services. But you may be asking, "Why? Whats with all the lights?"

This use of light in churches is really nothing new, it has simply changed form. For a thousand years architects have been creating churches that use stained glass to create amazing scenes of light and color, to remind people of the glory and beauty of God. In the even more distant past, God instructed the Israelites to create a beautiful and ornate Tabernacle (Exodus 25) and later on, an even more ornate and extraordinary Temple (1 Kings 6-7). Why does God command what is seemingly so opulent? It is because beauty and art esteem glory and value to God and point people to Him.

Lighting is a powerful tool. When used effectively, it can be used to convey joy, reflection, excitement, awe, etc. It can help focus attention and eliminate distraction. Its is also an art that adds beauty, depth, and creativity to a space. Humans are creative beings, made in the image of our great Creator. Creativity naturally inspires and moves us. That is what prompts composers to write breathtaking music, painters to create masterworks, and authors to formulate gripping prose and poetry. God is honored when we use these creative gifts in worship.

So why do we use creative lighting? We use creative lighting, along with compelling visuals, engaging media, excellent music, meaningful words, and carefully crafted teaching in order to do two things and two things only: 1.) to ascribe glory to our magnificent God and 2.) to communicate the Truth of the Gospel in order to lead people to life in Christ. All of those creative elements work together to present an engaging, cohesive, sometimes somber, sometimes inspiring environment where people can be encouraged to freely and authentically worship.

Feel free to chime in on the discussion. I welcome your comments!