Selecting Appropriate Backgrounds for Worship Songs


When it comes to creating an engaging worship service, visuals are can be an important part of your production. If you’re reading this, you probably already using motion backgrounds for your lyrics, or you’re considering adding them in. It can be a challenge to find the right motion backgrounds to pair with your lyrics, but if done well, the result can truly be remarkable. Let’s take a look at how you can choose the perfect motion backgrounds for your worship songs.

Think About Color Theory

Color is an incredibly powerful tool; when used in the right way, it can evoke certain emotions or even create a certain atmosphere within a room. When choosing motion backgrounds, consider color theory and how you want to use color to set the tone of your service. For example, if you’re looking for something calming and meditative, warm colors like yellow, orange, and red might work best. On the other hand, if you’re going for something more upbeat and exciting, cool colors like blues and greens may be better suited for that purpose.

Connect Your Screens to Your Room

The aesthetic of your room should play a huge role in choose backgrounds. If your sanctuary or worship center is more traditional, with wood or stone architecture, you may want to opt for backgrounds that are rooted in more organic visuals. Candlelight, nature footage, stained glass, or refracted light can work really well in these settings. If your stage is in a more modern, “black box” style room, you have some more flexibility, depending on your current stage design. In any case, the goal should be to create a complementary aesthetic throughout the entire room.

Think About Timing

Another important factor to consider when choosing motion backgrounds is timing. You want your visuals to match up with your lyrics in order to create a cohesive experience for your congregation. For example, if there’s a section in the song where things get more intense lyrically, then use a visualization with more dynamic movement or faster transitions between scenes so that it matches what’s happening musically. On the other hand, if there’s a calmer moment then opt for something with slower transitions and less movement on screen.

It’s important to point out one quick caveat on this. You do want to be careful to not change the feel of your backgrounds too abruptly or drastically over the course of a song or worship set. Quick, abrupt changes can give the viewer visual whiplash and distract from the service. In most applications, subtlety is your friend.

Consider Service Themes

Last but not least, when possible, consider using the backgrounds you choose to fit into your overall theme or message of the service! It’s easy to be too heavy handed or on the nose with this, so don’t worry too much about every background having a direct, literal connection to your sermon series or songs. One great application for this would be during a song or sermon series about the greatness and majesty of God. For a service like this, stick with epic nature shots or even space/astronomical images to convey a sense of wonder. It doesn’t always work to connect backgrounds to your themes, so don’t feel the need to get hung up on this one, but when there are chances, it can make a big difference!

Motion backgrounds have become an big part of many worship services; when chosen wisely and intentionally they can add an extra layer of emotion and meaning to each moment throughout your service. By carefully crafting these visuals together with thoughtfulness and care, you can help every moment during your worship services leave a lasting impression on everyone in attendance!

Josh Tarp, Author

About the Author

Josh Tarp is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and worship leader from Minneapolis with over 15 years of experience in church & worship leadership. Josh serves as the Director of Marketing at Motion Worship, helping to write various blog posts, managing social media, designing graphics, and handling customer service.

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