What is the job of the technical, live production person? Some might say to amplify what?s happening on stage. Others may suggest we are to create an atmosphere where people can worship. Still others might posit that we maximize the use of technology to further the Kingdom. To some degree, I think all of those are true.
But what about another purpose? What if we are there?at least in part?to make things beautiful? What if, instead of simply making things louder, we actually made it more beautiful? Rather than just picking a background that goes with the lights, what if we conspired together to create a visually stunning service? And before you start thinking that this is some crazy new concept that only the hip churches are doing, let me take you back in history a little bit?to the book of Exodus.
At the end chapter 35, we are introduced to Bezalel, one of the skilled artisans chosen to build the tabernacle. I?d like to call him and his sidekick, Oholiab, the first technical directors. Chapter 36 goes on to detail the construction and outfitting of the tabernacle. You should really read that chapter. Envision what it would have looked like:
Massive curtains, 42 feet tall and lined with blue, purple, and scarlet thread, lined the entrance to the doorway. Each curtain had fifty loops of blue, which coupled to the adjacent curtain with gold clasps. The perimeter of the tabernacle was surrounded with 40 wooden frames, each fifteen feet high, with silver bases and connected by full mortise and tenon joinery. Other items were constructed, overlaid with gold.
The passage goes on to describe what must have been a fantastic sight to all who entered. Years later, Solomon constructed an even more marvelous place of worship, a temple whose entire interior was lined with gold! It was huge and beautiful, designed to inspire awe and wonder in all those who walked through the door.
Contrast that to the modern church. Our current buildings are a far cry from magnificent or beautiful most times. Five hundred years ago, massive cathedrals were built with the aim of inspiring wonder in congregations. Today, we build beige boxes.[quote]By carefully crafting our mixes, we can develop beautiful sounds that draw people into a sense of wonder.[/quote]
The upside of a beige box is that it?s a blank canvas?and it?s one that we can paint on. By intentionally choosing our lights, visuals, and perhaps projected imagery, we can create spaces that are once again beautiful and awe-inspiring. By carefully crafting our mixes, we can develop beautiful sounds that draw people into a sense of wonder. In a sense, we transform our beige boxes into cathedrals once more through the technology we use.
We don?t do this to bring attention to ourselves; we do it to bring attention to our creator. He has created an amazing, visually-stunning world, and when we encounter such beauty, it?s hard not to be drawn into worship of its creator. As we create beautiful spaces, we can again draw people into worship of the original creator of beauty?God Himself.
So perhaps our role as technical artists isn?t to simply make things louder or brighter, but instead to make things beautiful. And by creating that beauty, we draw people into a deeper experience of worship with the Creator.