A while back I had the opportunity to join with a large group of high school students for a worship service. The worship songs were great, the preaching was Cross-centered, but the students worshiped in the dark during the musical portion of the service. The room was mostly dark except for the stage area where the worship band played. It was so dark that I really could not see the person standing right next to me. During the musical portion of the service some students seemed to be participating but others were standing and watching the worship band as if it were a concert.
A number of worship leaders seem to value a dark worship area, but I really think this type of setting is detrimental to corporate worship. First of all, as I recall there is a lot of talk in the Bible about God being light and in Him there is no darkness. Jesus is the True Light according to John 1 who enlightens every man. We are also instructed to walk in the light as Jesus is in the light. If this is so, why do we want to worship in darkness? Perhaps the early church worshiped in darkness or low-lighting to escape persecution, but today for most Christians in America this is not the case.
We describe a group of believers gathered for worship as “corporate worship,” something we do together. We join as the body of Christ and worship the One True and Living God. When the Epistles talk about the Body of Christ gathered, one of the main points often emphasized is that these gatherings must be edifying to the believers. We are to encourage one another as we worship. We are to build up one another as we worship. Corporate worship is a group effort.
Much of corporate worship today seems to be more focused on the individual’s ‘experience’ in worship. It is almost as if there is a large of group of believers in a service all worshiping God individually but not corporately. This is evidenced when the worship space is dark and people can not see the person next to them. This also happens when people worship with their eyes closed as if they were the only ones in the room.
I am not concerned about people who occasionally close their eyes during a worship song, but I am concerned when most of the service believers worship as individuals and not the corporate body of Christ.
Let there be ‘ambiance’ if that is what we are attempting to do with low-lighting in the worship service, but let the lighting not be so low that we can not see each another. The gathered body of Christ should encourage, edify and join together in one voice and mind worshiping our great Lord because He is the Light of the World!