Church Lighting Design

Create the Perfect Mood with the Right Church Lighting

Good lighting is often taken for granted. Lighting sets the mood for a room, whether it's the bright sunshine of late spring or somber tones of early winter. Church lighting should enhance the natural surroundings and make it easy for members of your church to easily read and follow along with services.

When you are investing in a lighting system, examine your varying needs and what might be appropriate for each of them:
  • Daytime and nighttime events -- holding events at night often requires more lighting.
  • Summertime and winter -- does the natural light your church receives vary over the course of the year?
  • Celebrations such as confirmations and weddings -- special lighting may be needed for dramatic or romantic effects.
  • Memorial services -- warm, muted, non-fluorescent lighting will give guests a sense of comfort.
  • Events for younger members of the church -- bright "party-style" lights may contribute to your youngsters enthusiasm.
  • Job fairs or other community events -- bright white light lends an atmosphere of professionalism.
  • Sunday school and Study Classes -- as with any classroom, proper lighting is essential for reading, writing, and attentive students.
  • Holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Harvest festivals -- strings of seasonal lights and lights in colors appropriate to holidays will help your congregation celebrate.

Consider also the color of the lighting: white tones may convey a feeling of purity, gold suggests power, red may convey a sinful feeling, and blue may inspire reflection and calmness.

Also consider energy efficiency when you're purchasing lighting. Today it's possible to purchase compact fluorescent bulbs, which are twisted lightbulbs that look like an ice cream cone. These have the lifespan of five or six regular light bulbs. Since it can be difficult to reach high church ceilings, you may want to invest in these long-life bulbs are often a cost- and time-efficient purchase.

High-tech lighting:
If you have the budget, consider investing in a lighting system with a remote control that allows you to save settings for different kinds of services. With a system of this kind, it's possible to create a Sunday morning service lighting arrangement, save it, and then switch easily to a different Saturday or Sunday evening service lighting scheme.

The lighting can also be changed on the fly during sermons, creating dramatic, inspirational effects for your congregation. This allows your church to provide a sophisticated experience like a theater.

Fun with lighting
Use lighting in unexpected ways. The basis of the word "illuminate" is to bring light to a subject. How can you use lighting in your church to bring a new perspective on a topic being discussed?

Remember that lighting can be festive. And, it doesn't have to be expensive. Paper lanterns or fabric may change the color of light and mood of the room entirely.

During the holidays, you might provide a light show to music. You may choose to use candles; but be careful with fire hazards and don't give candles to children.

***NOTE: Be mindful of fire safety! Always consult the usage guidelines for lanterns and other festive lighting products.

Also be sure to light to illuminate the signs or glass in your church. Is it easy to see your sign from the road, even on a rainy day or at night? Is it clear where to park, or how to exit in a power failure? In a pinch, portable inexpensive lights may be a good investment. DonĀ?t forget to stock flashlights, too, for unexpected power outages.

Written by: Diana Wynne