Interesting day for the band! Due to a church wide meeting on Thursday (our normal rehearsal night), we did our rehearsal on Tuesday night instead. The band did a great job, but it was hard to do such a quick turnaround from Sunday to Thursday.

We had a full sanctuary for both services, which is always fun! Every year, most churches see an attendance surge as school starts back up but I always forget about it and end up super shocked when people start pouring in!

That being said, they did a great job! Let’s talk about it.

Over an ambient music bed, I read Hebrews 4:14-16:
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

After I read it, our drummer counted us in to Redman’s “O This God.”

Second week to do this tune and I’m loving it even more! Our drummer, Dale, spent a ton of time between Tuesday and Sunday learning this tune and it definitely paid off. The kick-drum pattern was simple and steady and the groove of the tune was perfect. So far, “O This God” has one of the best instrumental breaks of anything we’ve played this year and our guitarist, Ray, nailed it. While I love the ending chorus jam, today it felt like I pushed the song a bit too long. Need to try the song without out it and see how that works.

Originally, this was just going to be a general, “Glad you’re here” sort of welcome, but because of our very busy day, we moved our normal free gift/guest packet (normally at the close of service) earlier in the set. I normally don’t do this announcement, but was happy to do so to make room for other stuff!

We haven’t done this Baloche tune in forever, but I was excited to bring it back. The band did a great job, but we ended up having no aux percussion this week. That tune really survives on lots of rhythmic movement. On the CD version, it’s a loop, but since we believe drum loops are pure evil, we use congas and such to make it happen. It wasn’t the same without percussion, but it still came off okay. I liked the vibe of the tune better in second service for some reason.

Fall is busy for every church and we’re no different. In fact, we’ve meticulously planned the next five weeks with regard to what we announce and how we do it. Earlier in the week, we shot a video of our new Elementary Education Director, Lacey Melinder. Our communication guy, Joshua, shot the video (beautifully, I might add) and I edited it. Here it is:

Ross got on stage and welcomed folks. We talked a bit about our upcoming Bethel Institute and Ross prayed over our time.

The band is really “at home” with this song, so I was looking forward to it. Because folks greet over the intro on the third song, we normally jam for a bit. However, because this tune is pretty much the same four chords over and over, there wasn’t a lot of room to get creative in the intro. As Ross was praying, I actually turned to the band and made a quick change. I had Dale (drums) and Jason (bass) extend their drum/bass intro. Me, the electric guitarist and keyboard player waited to jump in. Bethel typically responds well in this song and this week was no different.

We often read about becoming the “righteousness of God” before this next song, but this week, I read from I Corinthians 1:28-31:

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,  so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

I fumbled a bit in first service because I was trying to look back and forth from my charts to the screen to make sure the verse was right. We reformatted the spacing in second service and the verse came off a bit more…you know…correct.

This is one song that we pretty much HAVE to use click during a live setting. If we don’t, we tend to rush. That normally wouldn’t be a problem, but there’s a cool soulful bridge part that has stay on tempo or else Todd runs out of air. Oh…and people can’t very well sing along with it.
I led one chorus of this with acoustic before the band jumped in. During second service, I really wanted to hit that chorus in, but there was no space to cue the band. In addition, I decided we need to change the arrangement up a bit after today. Way back when, we decided to do a full intro after chorus 1, but today, it felt like we lost energy. Think we’ll go back to the shorter, original, intro 2 next time.
One of my favorite things about this song is the ad lib stuff our vocalist, Sarah, does. She’s got a knack for finding cool, catchy vocal lines and she did a great job in the spaces on this one.

Our keyboardist, Karen, started this one. I think this Michael Neale version of the hymn is unbeatable. Karen did a great job getting into this tune. The band also did a great job of playing full without turning it into a rock song. Nice restraint from from the players today.

We’ve only done this sort of thing once before, but I decided to try it again. Each week, when our sermon is over, our Discipleship Director steps up to give a couple of announcements and dismiss everybody. As folks leave, the band typically “jams” one of the earlier tunes. We usually do it pretty close to the way it was done in the set. Since I’m digging this Kristian Stanfill tune and plan on using it, I figured we’d do it as our “closer.” It creates more of a rehearsal burden since it’s adding a tune to our list, but it also gives us the freedom to do a song in a live setting without a crowd of people trying to follow along with us. I enjoyed playing the tune today and I liked it in this closer “practice” style. I’m excited to do it for real next week!



  1. Terry Timm

    Todd –

    Love reading through your worship experience. Thanks for walking us through your gathering.

    We have been doing “O This God” as well and love the energy. Great opener for worship. There are so many excellent congregational songs on that project. We have also done 10,000 Reasons and next up will be “Holy.”

    Stay connected…

    • toddwright

      Thanks, Terry! Yeah, I think it’s one of the best records that Redman’s ever done.

      I appreciate you stopping by!

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