774272_4478339511198_750018643_oMan, I love serving Bethel Bible Church. Sunday was a great day – the team did great!

As you can see from the picture, I tried something different this week. I’ve always wanted to use a lapel mic when leading worship, but not how you might think. I decided to use the lapel mic so that I could cue the band on changes, repeats, etc., when I step away from my vocal mic. Since the band uses Aviom mixers, they’re able to hear my cues and the congregation is none the wiser!

We actually used the mic more at rehearsals than in service, but it still was nice to talk to the band without stopping songs. I did cue the band a couple of times during the service, but they’re already great at reading the vibe of the songs so I didn’t use it much. (I will say that it was nice to be able to talk to the whole band prior to service without having to walk to all the instruments spots…)

Call To Worship
Had the piano play instrumentally while I welcomed everybody in. We read the collect together before starting the first song. I don’t this often, but in this case I had adjusted the text slightly. While I think using old-sounding language is good, sometimes the texts are a bit difficult to read. If I do change it, it’s usually sentence structure or change only a word or two.

I NEED THEE TODAY (Matthew Smith)
We love this hymn adaptation by Matthew Smith and not just because of its lyrical and melodic excellence. It also lets us play straight-ahead, alt country style. My guitar player, Smitty, is also an accomplished mandolin player and lately we’ve been going with no electric when he’s up since mandolin sits so well in our mix. Had the mandolin do the guitar riff and it cut through perfectly. Because we’re doing the scripture thing, we extended each turnaround to give folks time to read the verses on screen. (Spotify link)

Normally, this is more of a general, “welcome everybody” thing but pastor asked me to mention a membership class on Wednesday. We don’t do a lot of announcements on Sundays, but this was a pretty smooth one.

FAIREST (New Life)
We love New Life’s take on this hymn. We’ve been doing this one for a few months and it’s been such a good song for congregational singing. Once again, the mandolin carried the electric guitar part (mandolin works on everything, I’m learning…) We’ve altered the double chorus a bit by doing just one line at the end of first chorus. I love doing some of the ad lib vocals, but usually don’t so that I can be singing what the rest of the crowd is singing. (Congregational!) Aux percussion makes a huge difference on this song and our bass players have this one down cold – bass groove is excellent here. (Spotify link)

Senior pastor got up, welcomed folks and read from Psalm 72. He prayed and asked folks to say hi to one another.

This was fun. I’ve always done the Brenton Brown version but at Bethel, we’ve typically done a much more rocking version (a la Lincoln Brewster.) For this set, we mellowed a bit and did the version I’m used to. One stroke of genius was our guitarist putting mandolin down to play baritone electric. His idea was to give a bit more energy to the song without creating a driving electric part. He played slide which was perfect. Our keyboard guy also did some great synth work. He used his “Toto pad,” a muted horn patch that ran through most of the song. I’m not a fan of horns but every time he uses horn-like pads it always sounds so great. (Spotify link.)

As I was leading Everlasting God, I was thinking about all those folks I know who are struggling. One advantage of working at a small to mid-size church is the privilege of knowing where people are in need. As we ended the song, I tried to pray in a way that would both acknowledge our understanding as a God who is faithful and then, in turn, offer ourselves wholly to Him.

I think this is the best version of Take My Life And Let It Be I’ve heard. It’s very piano-driven, which gives me a chance to take a break from playing guitar. I even used a cut capo to give my fingers a rest. I’m not joking – if you haven’t done this version, go get it now and start singing it. I promise your people will love it! (Spotify link.)

This was one of those Sundays where I had a couple of different “things” to say but didn’t want to talk too much. A few weeks ago, I had done some reading on hymn history and was really interested in the difference between songs that were historically “hymns” versus “gospel songs.” Because our final song was a blend of the two, I gave a brief description.

O FOUNT OF LOVE (Matt Boswell)
Maybe one of my new favorite songs. Timeless, melodically strong and the arrangement is unforgettable. We didn’t have viola with us (as planned) by keys guy did a great job. If you’re looking to add more hymns to your worship, this is a modern song that will definitely put rich, poetic, solid doctrine into your song catalog! (Spotify link – Matt Papa version)

What did y’all play?


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