For our September focus on design, we asked Professional Solutions customer Brian Worster to talk about how he employs advanced HARMAN lighting technology to create high impact environments at Church of the Highlands, a multi-campus church organization in Alabama.

Performance lighting has become a crucial component of the worship experience. In fact, the music portions of modern services often feel more like rock concerts than church. However, the biggest consideration in lighting a house of worship is using these elements intentionally to create environments in which people come to pray.

There are many factors to take into consideration these days as the primary elements of AV design for houses of worship are essentially the same as for broadcast and corporate events. Furthermore, many churches are broadcasting services online for people to tune in remotely, so stage sets need to be carefully conceived and inviting to the audience, while the onstage speakers need to be effectively lit. Special effects such as moving lights and haze can be introduced to the mix, but it’s important that these elements match the culture of each house of worship and reflect its unique personality.

For example, the Church of the Highlands has 14 campuses and we use three lighting templates for each of our three types of venues. The broadcast campus at Grants Mill is our largest, seating more than 2,400 people. Accordingly, it has more lighting fixtures, video screens and cameras than the rest. Six other permanent campuses have scaled back versions of the broadcast setup, and our seven portable campuses have an even more simplified setup.

At Highlands, we feature a mix of conventional fixtures, LED pars and strips, and moving lights to support the mood and energy of each song during services. For moving lights, we use Martin MAC Viper Profiles, MAC Quantum Wash, MAC Quantum Profiles, and MAC Auras and have Jem Hazer Pros and K1s for haze. During the last several years, the biggest development in house of worship lighting has been the introduction of LED fixtures. One of my favorite options is the aura effect inside the MAC Aura, MAC Quantum Wash and Atomic 3000 LED. The aura feature builds upon the fixtures’ bright output by also serving as an attractive scenic element.

While most people don’t attend church anticipating high production value, they appreciate a harmonious and uplifting service. If colors don’t match, effects are out of place and video content is distracting, people disengage, but when all the elements come together, it makes everyone have a more powerful church experience overall. It’s my job at Highlands to ensure what’s happening behind the scenes supports this, and I’m happy to be able to depend on HARMAN for cutting-edge lightning technology for church environments.


Brian Worster

Brian Worster is a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he spent nine years as a Lighting Director for Legacy Sound Productions before moving to Birmingham, Alabama to work at Church of the Highlands. After six years as lighting designer for the church, he now serves as experience director. Brian and his wife Sarah have three children. He enjoys running, chicken wings and all things Disney.