Programming Lights – Earn The Cue

Depending on the size of your church and your budget you will have more or less lighting to work with than others. Regardless of your lighting rig – the type of instruments and the amount of gear you have is not as important as HOW you use it.

There’s lots to be said about different lighting approaches and programming looks and cues for worship. I want to tackle just a small piece of the pie.

Sometimes lighting operators churches program their worship lighting like a kid who just opened his first Nerf gun on Christmas morning – blasting stuff all over the room and everybody else is just hoping the chaos will be over soon.

Christmas is next week and the efforts we put into our environments have the ability to take every service element you have planned to the next level. So here’s the principle that shapes how we program lights:

The moment must earn the cue.

Quality lighting enhances and supports the message that is being communicated from stage. Adding light to a great moment on stage can make it even greater. Good lighting has a way of stirring up emotion in people.

If your band flows through peaks and valleys well and navigates dynamics well then adding tactful light cues that build alongside your band can bring your music experience to a whole new level.

BUT, lighting should never be used to compensate for a flat moment on stage.

Sometimes the tendency is to use lighting almost like a life preserver to rescue a weak moment on the stage. I would argue that adding unnecessary light cues to these moments only makes things worse and only distracts people further.

Let the moment on stage earn the light cue. If the moment is big and dynamic, pair it with dynamic lighting looks and cues and you’ve got yourself a beautiful combo right there.

Know the moment and just simply give the moment what it needs. Lighting never makes up for a lack of musical dynamics. 

For you this might mean:
– multiple cues per song as the band builds ebbs and flows through different dynamics
– 1 unique lighting look for each song. Pick 1 colour scheme and create 1 nice look
– 1 static lighting look for the entire worship set. Pick from all the lighting tools you have at your disposal and create 1 look that most identifies with the overall feel of the experience.

God is always honoured in our intentionality and our pursuit of excellence.

Merry Christmas!

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