Worship Production?

I’ve been asking myself a lot of tough questions lately. Like “what should our services seek to accomplish?” or “how do we deal with difficulties?” Another thought that has been eating up my noodle lately is “What should corporate worship look like?”

The call of a worship leader covers a multitude of tasks, but a large part of it is to program experiences that will ultimately lead people to offer their response to God. To seek Him and humbly give what they’ve got to Him. The definition of worship that I’ve been using lately is: to love God and offer all that we are to Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in the future.

That part I’ve got. What I’m struggling with has to do with the production side of a weekend experience. No matter the philosophy of a church, no matter where they sit on the spectrum of worship style, there is a certain production content that is evident. From bare-bones to full bore concert-style events.

Just how much and what do the lights and technology do to aid our worship? Anything? I’m asking. I have some thoughts. And I’ll talk about this some more. Later.


1 Response to "Worship Production?"

Doc said... February 21, 2008 at 7:13 AM

Production is a delicate thing. Does it aid in worship? Absolutely. It can help accentuate the mood and atmosphere of the worship. Palm Sunday a year or two ago, you and Jay sang a very somber song about the crucifixion which is a perfect example. We put really heavy effects on the vocals which made it all the more potent what was being sung. It helped add meaning, if you will, to the lyrics that were being sung. Sing the same words at the same tempo and with the same melody, but with no effects and normal lights, the song doesn't come off the same and doesn't bring out the same reactions and emotions that it does when the production aspects are added.

It seems to me the worship team's job is to help guide the worshiper into, well, worship. That involves evoking reactions and emotions in the worshiper, among other things. A song done with one singer and an acoustic guitar will get a very different reaction than the same song played with a full band and multi-part vocals. A distorted electric guitar will get a different response than a clean acoustic. Singing a song in four part harmony will get a different response than singing it with a single part. So instrumentation and arrangement of the song are tools to help guide.

So too with production & technology. These are just other tools in that box. It could be changes in the sound mix, backgrounds to the lyric slides on the screen, lights, effects. They are, perhaps, more subtle tools. People shouldn't really consciously notice some of the technology and production aspects in the way they would notice the abilities of the singer or the guitarist. But they are tools that help add to the experience of the worshiper.

The other side to that, of course, is that the production can become too important and worship morphs into entertainment. This is true in all aspects of worship. People are then coming to hear the great band, or see the hot singer, or hear the celebrity pastor, or see the great light show or play production. The focus of the activities comes off of God and goes onto the activities themselves.

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