I lead worship at the second installment of Verses last week. This attempt was a little bit different than last year’s and I think a lot of worked. I’d like to make them more frequent than once a year, but still feel like we’re “figuring out” what works best. Here’s what we did…
I co-led it with a friend from another church and his wife. We went for a much smaller setup, although the percussion ended up a little bigger than I anticipated. It worked well – we probably needed that power in some of the bigger moments. Here’s what we used. Initially, we had planned for a cello player as well to provide the low end but that didn’t happen due to a double-booking.
- Two acoustic guitars capo’d to provide enough tonal width.
- Three vocals, though most songs were just one lead vocal and a background.
- Percussion kit featuring shakers, tambourine, kick, percussion snare and floor tom.
- Bass guitar, direct to sound system but also fed to cabinet on stage.
- Utility player that did Wurlitzer keyboard, banjo and chimes throughout the set.
Total of 11 songs with scripture. There were some repeats and callbacks, but here’s the official list:
- How Great Thou Art (arr. Baloche)
- We Will Remember (mine)
- Welcome To The Place Of Level Ground (Doerksen)
- Ruin Me (Johnson)
- Dear Refuge (Trinity Grace Church)
- O Fount Of Love (Boswell)
- Before The Throne Of God Above (arr. SovGrace)
- You Alone Can Satisfy (King)
- Lead Us In The Way Of Jesus (mine)
- I Am Not The Same (Keyes)
- Glory To God Forever (Fee)
- We Will Remember reprise
Last year, we were pretty strict with the format where we wanted only singing and scripture. While that was cool, I think it kept worship leaders from praying, transitioning, teaching about the songs. This time, we were much more flexible with that. (Plus it added some bulk to the set – the goal was 1 hour and with intros and prayer, we were able to make that time.) I often stress about transitions, but we didn’t put a whole lot of work into them with this set. The casual, group-sing vibe made that a little less vital.
We did the service in our youth room, which is called The Attic. (Because it’s an attic.) I chose that spot because the sound and stage were so good, but it was too hot up there. Even with A/C running all day, we couldn’t get the room cool enough.
As for the rest of the atmosphere, everything went great. The Attic is nice because it has a big lobby where parents can take little kids when they get bored. We had quite a few kids running around to the music!
As for numeric response, we were a little below what I had hoped for. However, the vision of Verses is to be a smaller, more intimate setting. I don’t think it felt empty out in the chairs. I was really excited that folks from Jonathan and Kim’s church showed up to support and sing along. Because services like this aren’t a part of the proper church calendar, it takes a while to build a core group of people who attend. I think we’ll have a good return of folks for the next one.
Otherwise, I think the response was great. People seemed to blessed by it and appreciative. They sang and prayed and applauded the Lord and were very supportive when we finished.
WHAT I’D CHANGE
Analysis is a big part of what we do. So far, I’ve realized a few things I’d like to change.
- I think we need to simplify it more when it comes to the band. Thinking we’ll include a more traditional keyboard for both pads and to mix up intros and outros. Since we’re typically doing 10-12 songs, there probably need to be 2 practices – one rough, plug and play to get the parts and another to soundcheck and polish.
- I also would like to have volunteers doing the scripture reading. It would add some variety, I think.
- Should have had folks stand for the first two songs. I think a lot of folks would have stayed standing, but instead in mostly a sit down thing. Personally, I like standing during worship and I could have made that a little less awkward.
I forget how much work goes into services like this, but I do think its valuable for our people (and a good challenge for us musicians.)
Anybody else host “special” worship services like Verses? Got any tips for a guy who is still learning?