If you want community, you make it bright. If you want to focus on individual worship, you make it dim.
That is one way to slice it; there are other factors; but with bright lighting there is good cheer and you can see other people's faces. Dimmer lighting creates pensiveness, inward thought, and less awareness of the person beside you.
Both of these environments have their value and beauty.
Greg, good points there. We tend to use intelligent lights etc for the praise part, have a younger congregation so it goes well with the exuberance of praise. Worship tends to be lights up though not bright, creating a warm effect. Worship leaders, band and choir are usually bright, to make them visible.
The auditorium is light enough to be able to see right across, it is a big place. (seats 2200 not including Balcony) During praise not as bright as worship to give the intelligent lights effect. Worship I would say normal light, but as it is an enclosed auditorium the light is controlled to a warm white. Bearing in mind that the stage is bright and there are two overhead screens for the words of songs. Definitely not gloomy.
It appears we have Senior Pastors who allow us to adjust lights at all! Years ago, I had a friend make panels to block light from the Gothic windows for drama productions; but the rest of the time the rule was, lights up (the Pastor distinguished Jesus drama from worship. I'm no longer music guy there, but when I drive by the church I often see the windows panelled in various spots -- they still use those, but now to get the lighting just right.
We are blessed to have senior pastors who are into theatrical productions etc. They understand the role that light, sound and temperature plays in the holistic picture of praise and worship. Try the boil the frog system. Instead of going straight to dim, transition for a period of time with some warm lighting that can still look bright but give a yellow to orange glow. i.e. not your typical brilliant white or blue daylight that fluorescents give. Might need changing of light bulbs or if you use spots some filters on them.
I agree good point Gregg
I'm currently working on some new lighting fixtures for our stage, I will share pictures of the process and the finished product.