I recently came across some tweets comparing worship and rock concerts that suggested IMAG during worship glorifies the band and not God, and stating that IMAG for worship is a bad idea. Now this may come as a surprise but I am all about discouraging people from investing in IMAG, it’s expensive and requires a great deal of skill and team building. But when room size dictates IMAG, I would never go as far to say that IMAG is not a good idea for worship.
I have always said that Bad IMAG, if it is directing or gear, will always take away from an experience but good, well done IMAG only enhances the experience, and yes the same principal applies at a rock concert the same way it does at church.
One of the best worship leaders I have ever worked with isn’t known for his amazing singing voice, in fact, his voice has always been a constant battle that he has tried to improve. But the reason I love working with this guy is because he doesn’t hide behind his voice, because he can’t, instead he LEADS people into worship with the expression on his face, his passion and by pouring out his heart with a presence that says come sing with me and praise our amazing creator! He is a true worship LEADER! And the best part is, he pours that same leadership into his band and fellow vocalists so they do the same.
In a large room, it’s hard to connect with what is going on on stage when you can barely see the stage, getting a great shot of him allows him to lead the congregation in worship, and be more effective in doing it. And as a director, when I am choosing shots, I have leaned away from shots that don’t show people leading such as tight guitar shots during a solo, I have my ops pull out to see there faces and body movements because most the guitar players see that solo as a form of worship and express themselves while doing it. If a musician or vocalist isn’t worshiping and displaying leadership, I just don’t take a shot of them, and the same in the opposite extreme if the are glorifying themselves rather than God, then they don’t make it in the screen. It all starts with are your worship leaders leading? Maybe you need to get new leaders.
We use IMAG for the same reason we have a PA, so people can hear and see. There is a reason why we do IMAG, because without it, people can’t see, they can’t connect and they can’t engage! And to say that IMAGing worship is a bad idea, then you could almost say that during worship you should mute the PA. Now I understand that there are some rooms out there where IMAG is an option and less of a requirement, and in those cases, sure just IMAG the message. If it isn’t needed it isn’t needed, but in the larger cases where it is needed, don’t just write it off, just make sure your doing it well.
I feel as veteran Christians we have this assumption that less is more with worship. A real Christian loves acoustic unplugged sets because it eliminates distraction. And for some that may be true. But I have also known people to come up to the audio booth and tell engineers that its too loud every time there is more than 1 electric guitar is on stage. I know of one engineer that would always purposely run it lower just as an experiment to see if comments would still come in, and they would. We make connections in our minds associating two different things with a predetermined conclusion of our desires rather than look at the purpose and reason behind the things we don’t like. Or sometimes we blame our issues on the destination rather than the source.
Is IMAG right in all scenarios? No, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong in all.