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Worship (or) Concert

October 1, 2012

I recently returned from the D6 Conference in Frisco, Texas (just outside Dallas). This is a great event and possibly the best practical conference in America for those ministering in a local church context. I plan to post several times over the next few weeks about some of the speakers and their presentations. Overall, I have nothing but good things to say about the time spent there.

I have only one negative thing to say about the conference. Admittedly, it is minor. You will likely think it is ridiculously minor. D6 is not the only place this happens. I would wager that this happens at most conferences and other events like this. It even occurs in some churches during the worship service.

They dim the lights. A lot. Too much.

I know. “What difference does it make?” you want to know. I believe it makes a difference.

The “worship time” (I don’t like calling it that. It implies only music is worship. It implies teaching and preaching are not worship. They are.) is designed to be corporate in nature. That simply means we worship as a group rather than as individuals. We are united in our worship. We should observe corporate worship. It is important, especially in the context of the local church. That sense of corporate worship was implied and encouraged in the conference context.

But the room was pretty dark during this time. I think there are some fundamental problems with that—not with the room being dark, but with that being part of the corporate worship.

When you darken the room to that extent, it makes it difficult to see the other worshippers. I realize the beneficial part of that is that you are not distracted by others. But I believe the negative outweighs the positive. It is difficult to have the sense that it is a time of corporate if you start to feel more alone in the room. The time of worship can still be a time of teaching and learning. In fact, I think it should be. We can learn from those around us. We can’t do that if we can’t see them.

What is typical is for the room to be darkened but the lights on stage to shine brightly on the ones leading worship. Ultimately, our worship should center on the one being worshipped—the almighty, powerful, loving, sovereign God of the universe. If we are going to dim any lights, we should start with those at the front of the house. We should minimize, rather than highlight, anything or anyone that distracts us from the focus of our worship.

When you make the room fairly dark and shine the light on the worship leader, they start to make the shift from worship leader to performer. The time of worship through music begins to shift to a concert. Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with concerts. I love concerts. But a concert is not a corporate worship service. It is difficult to appropriately focus on the one being worshipped when you are in a concert setting instead.

I am not saying it is sinful or wrong to dim the lights during a time of corporate worship. I get it. You are trying to create an effect. Dimming the lights some may even be appropriate. Just don’t dim them so much you get an effect different than the one you are trying to achieve.

My observation, and it is only that, is that in making the room dark during a corporate worship service, you change the environment. There is a transformation that takes place. There is a transformation from corporate worship to private worship.

Share your thoughts below.

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