How To Set Up Church Stage Lighting

What Is The Best Way To Set Up Church Stage Lighting?

You should first choose the right type of light fixtures for your stage. There are many categories of lighting, including floodlights, spotlights, and wash lights. You also need to position the lights properly. After positioning them, you can use a lighting console to adjust their intensity.

How To Set Up Church Stage Lighting

Choose the Right Light Fixtures for Your Church

There are many types of lights, making it difficult for novices to rig church lighting for the first time. Before purchasing any lighting equipment, you should understand the different types of stage light fixtures. The main types of stage lighting include:

  • Floodlights
  • Wash lights
  • Cyc lights
  • Spotlights
  • Beam lights

A floodlight is simply a large light that produces a wide beam. It can cover a large area and does not have controls. You just aim the fixture and flood the stage with light. These lights are mostly used for lighting backdrops.

Wash lights are necessary for covering a large area while having more control compared to floodlights. There are many types of light fixtures that are used as wash lights, including Par Cans and Fresnel lights.

Par Cans create bright light with soft-edges. They do not have a lot of control and sometimes produce uneven lighting. The main advantage of Par Cans is that they are inexpensive and available with very narrow or very wide beams.

If you want to create a wash, but you have a limited budget, you may use a couple of Par Cans. However, the Fresnel lights are preferred for washing the stage. You can add natural light to the stage, which makes the performers more visible. This is the perfect option when recording or broadcasting the event.

Cyc lights are like less powerful floodlights. They are difficult to control and provide wide coverage. They are sometimes used for creating stage washes or tinting the stage. For example, you can use colored Cyc lighting on a dim setting to wash the stage with a faint glow.

Spotlights allow you to highlight a single performer. Spotlights typically follow the performer and may require manual operation, unless the performer remains stationary. You can also choose between hard-edge and soft-edge spotlights.

Beam lights produce bright beams and are mostly used for effects. When you see a picture of a concert, the beam lights are often visible as colored beams cutting through the rest of the lighting. They are often positioned in multiple locations, which allows the lighting engineers to cross the beams.

Position the Light Fixtures and Test the Layout

After installing your lights and lighting console, start positioning the lights and adjusting the settings. You should test the layout of your church stage lighting to ensure that the stage is properly illuminated.

There are five different lighting positions that you can use to light the stage. The position you choose for each fixture may depend on the mood that you want to create. The main positions include:

  • Front lighting
  • Backlighting
  • Side lighting
  • High-side lighting
  • Downlighting

Front lighting is your main light source. It is used to light the stage and ensure that there are no shadows on the performers.

The front lights are often positioned at mid-level. If they are placed too high, you create shadows under the performer’s eyes and chins. When the lights are too low, you may splash their shadows onto the backdrop.

The backlighting may be used to create a 3D effect on the stage. It also helps to separate the backdrop from the performer. A dim, soft-edge light may be used for backlighting, such as Cyc light.

Side lighting may be used to highlight the profile of your performers. In a small church, you may position your beam lights to the sides of the stage.

High-side lighting is used to illuminate the upper portions of your performers while down lighting is used to light the entire stage.

To get the lighting at the right level, you need to consider the angle of the lights. At 90-degrees, the light is pointed toward the ground. At 0-degrees, the light is pointed straight across the room.

If you want to avoid creating shadows on your performers, most light fixtures should be positioned with a 15-degree to 45-degree angle.

Install Your Lighting Console to Control the Lights

A lighting console is used to control the lights. Like your audio mixer, the lighting console allows you to control multiple inputs to create a master mix. You can adjust the brightness of the lights and change LED light colors. With advanced consoles, you can even save routines and program light displays.

The person controlling the lighting console should become familiar with the controls. These consoles often have faders, sliders, and other controls for adjusting the lighting.

The controls are divided into channel controls and master controls. The channel controls can control individual lights. With master controls, you adjust all the lights together. You can also create groups of lights that are controlled with sub-masters.

If you have more than one of the same light fixtures, group them together to make them easier to control. For example, if you have a series of Fresnel lights for creating your stage wash, they should be grouped together.


Setting up stage lighting can be an easy or complex process, depending on the look that you want to achieve and the size of your church. For smaller venues, you can set up a quality lighting scheme with a few basic lights. You may not even need to use a lighting console.

However, if you want to create a dazzling display, take the time to plan your stage lighting. Choose your wash lights, beam lights, and spotlights. You should also pay attention to the position of these lights.

Avoid placing lights at extreme angles. If the light is too high or low, you create unnecessary shadows. If the lights need to be positioned close to the stage, they should be mounted lower. If they are placed far away from the stage, you may need to mount them higher.

When the lights are positioned, use a lighting console to adjust the dimness and intensity of the lighting scheme.

We hope this article has helped you learn how to set up church stage lighting.