4 Guidelines for Designing Imagery for Worship

Chad Brooks, one of our worship designers at the seminary, does excellent work developing theologically thoughtful slides for worship. Here is some of his Advent work for this year. Feel free to download and use.

How carefully are you thinking about the imagery being put on the screen in your worship services? What I like about Chad’s work is that so much is imbedded in the layering.

A few guidelines to consider as you think about the visual aspects of designing worship.

1. Do the images (stills or moving) help us to better listen to the Word of God? It’s interesting to consider how hearing words helps us see images. The big question for worship design is do our images help us hear words better? Once in a conversation with Marva Dawn she remarked, “Remember, Hebrew religion is aural. Baalism is primarily visual.” It’s something to consider.

2. How are we using images? Are they being used literalistically (new word?) (i.e. we use slides of creation and cosmos as we sing God of Wonders) Are images being used to do the work of imagination? Are images being used as a source of stimulation? Are they being used to cultivate attention or contemplation? With every image you use ask yourself, Why. Think about it.

3. Is there blank space our pauses in our use of imagery? In a conversation with Jeremy Begbie last week on campus he noted the importance of what he called “the blank screen.”

4. Do our images uncritically adopt the media practices of our culture or do they provide an alternative approach? While our worship needs to have connection with culture, it should also provide a thoughtful, implicit and most often subtle critique.

5. How are you thinking about this aspect of worship design? What guidelines would you add to the list?

Who’s doing some good thinking on this aspect of worship?

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  1. #1 by foodfunfamily on December 6, 2009 - 9:59 pm

    Thanks for this post, JD. We are in our first official Advent season with our church plant. Enjoyed looking through the slides, as well as reading about thoughtful worship design.

    ~Jada

    • #2 by JD Walt on December 7, 2009 - 3:16 am

      jada– great to hear from you. let me know what all you all are doing in worship through advent. jd

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