Are we spending too much time and effort creating the perfect worship environment in our churches? Is our focus on the wrong thing? Do we need perfect lighting, large stages, mood-setting audio/visual, etc?
Spoiler alert: The answer to the last question above is no, we don’t need perfect lighting, large stages, and mood-setting audio/visual displays.
But the question really leads me to another question/thought? How much is enough?
Do we need a stage at all? How about spotlights? Hmmm, maybe we don’t need electric guitars? Are drums overkill?
The way we judge worship seems a bit hypocritical to me sometimes. A pastor once told me, “We don’t need to create a mood for worship. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.” I can’t say I disagree with that but it doesn’t entirely tell the story, does it? Isn’t the whole idea of worship music and singing meant to create an environment of worship? As a worship leader or team member isn’t your goal to create an atmosphere that makes it easier and more comfortable to enter in to a spirit of worship (and praise)?
So it’s okay to help set the worship mood to a point? But what is that point? I have heard people say that video displays are “where I draw a boundary.” Why? Why are electronic instruments okay and video displays not? Why are drums okay but mood-setting lighting is not? Who decides this stuff?
For me this comes down to your own unique situation. As a worship leader you know your church, your congregation, your demographic, the type of church you are and who you are trying to reach. I’ve seen effective and authentic worship with a full blown concert stage and I’ve seen it with one acoustic guitar player sitting on a stool by himself. There probably is no right or wrong way to do it that covers all churches, all denominations and all situations. It’s probably your job as a leader to discern what method is right for your situation. That comes through prayer, preparation and knowing who and what you are as a church.