Here’s why you should not turn the lights dark during worship.
1. By default, spotlights are on the stage. The people on the stage then have “the spotlight.” People should never have the spotlight (Jesus should). This creates celebrities, emphasizing the spectator-model rather than participant-model of worship. Dark theaters are for cinema, bars and music concerts.
2. Historically, church sanctuaries employ light (like through stained glass or lots of windows) to aesthetically symbolize the God who is Light and who enlightens his people.
3. Coming to worship INTO the darkness rather than OUT of the darkness and into the light is kinda the opposite of what should happen. “Let there be light,” God said. He is the God who illumines.
4. Rock concerts turn the lights down low so people feel less self-conscious and more prone to “letting it all go.” It is an intentional decision by festival organizers to manipulate emotions. Call me old fashioned, but as you come before God in contemplation of your sin and his holiness, maybe you **should** be self-conscious.
5. Darkness conceals those who choose not to participate, standing in God’s presence in sullenness and indifference. Light it up, you lip-syncers.
6. Low lights make it impossible to use a hymnal, which for sooooo many reasons is superior to power-point (this requires an altogether different diatribe). It also makes it hard to be a Berean, checking the preacher’s words against the words of God over your open Bible.
7. “Ambiance” should be created by the Spirit, and not contrived by sensory manipulation.
8. The Holy Spirit is not a vampire, who only comes out when it is dark. It is not even tangentially more “spirit-filled” to worship in the dark than in the light.
9. People believe that if it is dark, then others will be more likely to “make a decision” if no one is watching (heads bowed, eyes closed). I submit to you that anyone who is afraid to publicly follow Christ is not worthy of following him.
10. A major component of dark sanctuaries is the attempt to make a less-than-full sanctuary less noticeable. It’s a trick used in comedy clubs and entertainment venues.
Turn the lights up.
[Editor’s Note: This was posted on JD Hall’s Facebook page. To follow him on Facebook, click here.]