Gathering Music, Ambience, & Second Looks

Each Sunday morning, we have background music playing in the Worship Center to help set the mood as people arrive.

Usually, it’s a mix of mid-tempo pop songs, some from Christian artists and others from mainstream acts such as Coldplay.

The music goes a long way towards fostering conversation among our worshippers and creating an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.

And then yesterday happened.

I kept noticing that the gathering music was instrumental. And somber. Even a bit depressing.

I thought perhaps our team had opted to try something completely different. Since I trust the judgment of those around me, I didn’t question too much.

But before the 11:30 service, I couldn’t take it anymore. So I asked the sound crew and music team what was behind the choice of gathering music.

The answer? Because the different gathering selections for our different services come from an iPod, the team had simply pressed “Play” that morning and the song sequence from the most recent service in the Worship Center had come up.

What was our most recent service in the Worship Center?

A funeral. On Friday.

No wonder the gathering music prepared us more for somber reflection than exuberant celebration.

We made the correction, changed the music, and immediately the atmosphere in the room changed ten minutes before worship began.

The atmosphere you craft reinforces the message you communicate.

Lesson learned.