Coloring Worship

Kim Porter September 30, 2015
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We recently moved into a new home and though I loved the floor layout, the colors left something to be desired. I am a fan of neutral colors but almost every wall was the color of brown mud. The home felt sad, dreary and small. I took some time researching ideas and landed on colors that would bring light and openness to the rooms. The transformation did just that. Simply changing wall paint brought a bright, fresh feeling to our new residence.

So what does paint color have to do with worship?

Much more than you might think.

Artists, designers and other creative guru have known for centuries that color inspires moods. Interior designers use warm, cool and neutral tones to change a space. If used correctly in a worship setting, we can inspire people beyond just the lyrics and graphics. We can enhance the settings already created through the thoughtful use of color.

Here are a few quick guidelines:

Think Imagery

What does warm sunshine on a bright sunny day do for your mood? Matching moods to color doesn’t have to be rocket science. Use nature as a guide. Colors such as yellow and orange bring thoughts of happiness, contentment and joy. Green grass gives way to new life, freshness and peace. Purple evokes mental images of royal robes, kings and honor. Red is a color of passion and the universal color of love.

Don’t Let Lyrics Always Guide You

Many well-intended media and light directors will choose backgrounds and lights according to the lyrics of a song. If you truly want to capture a mood, do not always design around words. For example, if the song being sung was about the “oceans of life”, choosing blue would seem like a natural selection. However, blue also can create a feeling of sadness and distance. Instead, find a way to use the calming color of blue and mix in shades of yellow or green to help bring out security and warmth. If, however, the song were about the cross of Jesus, it would be completely appropriate to use red because of the imagery and feeling the color red would bring to mind. Meshing the message of the song with the skillful use of color and graphics will take people beyond verse and chorus and instead take them on a journey.

When In Doubt, Ask!

Your best resource for color inspiration are the individuals who are designing the service. As the worship leader, I am asked every week to give color recommendations according to the songs I am leading. This allows me to have input into the environment I am working to create through the music. Don’t be afraid to get opinions from the worship leader, pastor or service director in order to make sure that what you are creating coincides with their vision for the service. Collaboration is extremely important in a worship setting.

While lighting, graphics and song choice will not create life-change; they are excellent tools to enhance the backdrop of God’s “heart work”. I believe that He has given us creativity as a means to reach people for Jesus. The more we use the gifts He has placed in us, the more He is glorified!

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Kim Porter

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