Keys/B3 player was gone and both bassists were unavailable, so we called up good friends to help us out. Invited my pal, Kerry, to play bass for us and Jennifer played synth. Kerry is a weirdo charismatic I’ve played with from time to time and Jennifer is a member at Bethel and steps in on keys occasionally. Both of them did great.

Call To Worship/Prayer

Took this week’s Collect and made one or two wording changes. I liked the sentiment but felt like the exact wording was going to read too slow – and thereby nonsensical – with 200 people saying it out loud. Didn’t change much. Ended the call to worship with prayer, praying that we would rest in the attribute of God we had just read aloud.

MADE US ALIVE (Village Church)
This is an old favorite for us. I’ve mentioned before that lately I’ve changed my thoughts on fast songs. Maybe I’m just getting older, but it feels like songs start too big. We’ve been working on “easing” into our big celebration songs and this one worked out okay. While I prayed, our drummer turned on the click in our ears and I led the congregation through two or three passes of the pre-chorus/bridge. It allowed the band to build over time and I think made the song work. One challenge – when a band has a long buildup like that, it’s very easy to rush. In first service, we pushed the click a bit right at first, but fell into the groove.

Didn’t talk much here. Just reminded folks that we seek to sing songs about God and that even though our next tune did speak of “me” a lot, it was a beautiful picture of who we are IN Christ.

I’ve never a ton of Tomlin stuff. A lot of his stuff feels mediocre to me, but this one caught my attention a couple of weeks ago. It’s a good song and it came off pretty smoothly, I think. There are a couple of challenges in this song. First off, production makes it too huge. In real life, it’s a mid tempo song played over a march. Hard to pull off power. My band did a great job, but it was another case of feeling like we didn’t do it justice. Personally, I’m okay with that. Teams make too big a deal of playing “big” songs. We’d do better to be okay with smaller pieces. Secondly, the key has problems. Like a lot of Tomlin songs, it’s pitched WAY high. I ended up letting our vocalist sing the verses and I took chorus and bridge. Still not sure if it’s a keeper…we’ll see.

In first service, I did it as planned and pitched to a Family Ministry video onscreen. Second service, totally forgot. YIKES! This is why I write things down! After that, welcomed our guest speaker to the front. He did a great job of filling our pastor’s shoes. His welcome was Biblical and relaxed.

IN CHRIST ALONE (arr. Stephen Miller)
Moving the riff to piano still proves to be the right decision. At rehearsal, I asked our guitar player to switch from pretty basic power rhythm to more of high, droning part that was more texture than power. He willingly did and I think it helped the song. I thought about capo’ing up high, but realized that both electric and piano were already way up in the register. With synth carrying the lows, normal C shapes was the way to go. (Man, I hate Dm7.)

With both pastor and family pastor gone, we had our Executive Pastor do Communion. He did a great job. When speaking about the danger of taking scripture out of context, he made the phrase “when we parachute into a text.” I thought that was nice imagery. Got his point across clearly and concisely.

HERE IS LOVE (arr. Grace Community Church)
I love the Redman version of this song, but I don’t think it’s local-church friendly. This version by Grace Community was much more groovy and dynamically more subtle, which I think worked for Communion. I’ve been impressed by these record by Grace Community. They have a nice “blended” vibe to their records. Plus, it sounds like real people playing real instruments.

That’s our list…what did you do at your church?


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