Baptism day! New series day! Life Group kickoff day!

We had a full house and lots of guests visiting for the baptismal service. We planned our service a bit differently and I had to alter my normal approach to worship leading just a bit.

Normally, I try to teach and lead at the same time. We read scripture, maybe use some liturgy, tell a story…just generally try to make sure that worship is spiritually formative for the people. I don’t do a TON of talking (in my opinion,) but is very much a collection of songs, thoughts and prayers.

However, because of the order of our service and the fact that we were going to have a good deal of instruction and teaching, I felt like my “teaching” role need to diminish a bit. I was absolutely dedicated and committed, but on this particular Sunday, it was best for me to sing and worship and let the other guys take the lead. Because Bethel has great people, I was glad to do it!

I enjoying dropping this song down into the key of A. It’s still high enough to have some power, but not quite as angering to people who are trying to sing in the morning. We actually used the click live on this tune. Four-on-the-floor stuff can run away on us and a click kept everybody locked into playing in the spaces. We didn’t have organ or percussion, so Ray, our guitarist, and Karen, our keyboardist, really stepped it up and provided the song with some much needed power. Karen is starting to really find her place in the mix and it’s helping our sound big time!

This earlier in the set than our normal welcome, but because we moved baptism into the worship service as opposed to the end of it, we wanted to format the flow differently. In the first service, Ross jumped up in his swim trunks so he can make a big announcement that we were celebrating baptism. (Of course, there was also a giant baptismal tub in the middle of the room, too.) Sadly, there wasn’t as much photographic proof of Ross’ legs than I would have liked. To my knowledge, the only photo came courtesy of our bass player, Jason.

Can’t really see his legs. Sorry for that.

As folks greeted one another, we started a soft intro of this tune before launching into it. This song is still new, but the chorus section is now recognizable that folks sing loud. The band did great on this song. This slower, pop groove is new to a lot of our players, but I think this song in particular has helped us understand it better.

From there, we went right into “Forever Faithful.” I promise it wasn’t my plan to do everything in the key of A. It just worked out that way! This is probably the best the songs sounded to date. A few months ago, we moved the electric riff to keyboard so that the guitar could provide more power. Karen did a good job on the keyboard part and our vocalist, Sarah, did a really good job on this one. She came up with a nice descending vocal line to sing over the last two lines of the chorus which really made for a neat transition.

At this point, I sat folks down and talked about baptism. This was also the only spot where we could mention our “friendship notebooks” where we have folks sign every Sunday. It was my favorite place to do it, but it was alright.

We had 4 baptisms in first service and 10 in the second. The last time we did a service like this, we decided we wanted to project pictures of each “baptizee” on the screens as we introduced them. This week, we gathered the pics and made sure they lined up with the service order. At Bethel, we allow and encourage believer to baptize their own children, spouses, etc. This ends up having a great “family” vibe to our service.

After the baptism, we wanted to celebrate. In the first service, the crowd was a bit more subdued. Naturally, baptism is a serious thing and I think our crowd was still prayerful and somber. In our second service, our bass player was baptizing his son and nearly didn’t make it to the stage in time. Not normally that stressful, except he was starting the song! He made it just in time…well, after the worship leader stretched a bit.

This is an old song for us, but I was so pleased with it. The band did a great job of pulling off power without overplaying this one. Good crowd response, as well.

We don’t do “bumper” videos very often, primarily because we have some natural light in our sanctuary and the concept of a video setting up the sermon just always seems to work better when the stage can go dark for a bit. However, our new campus pastor, Eric, recommended a friend of his who does this kind of video work and we were excited to give it a try. We kicked off a new series on doctrine called “Elemental.” Here’s what he came up with for the new series.

Ross taught on revelation and it was a great to kick off this sermon series.

A very great day!


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