Very big day at Bethel! We launched our ALL IN series, so it was a big day. We try pretty hard each week to keep our service streamlined and focused, so even on a big day like yesterday, there weren’t a ton of moving parts. Ended up being a pretty hymn-heavy set, even!
Second time to do this tune. I’m still amazed at how different (and better, to be honest) this song sounds when played by a real band of actual humans instead of computers! The Phil Wickham studio version of this song has a strong new wave/techno leaning, but in live setting in sounds more like something Keith Urban would do! We did a long subdued intro as people walked in. After a few passes, we dropped into the actual intro. Those sort of warm up/jams before service sometimes feel a little awkward, but this one felt pretty natural. We had a guest player on pads and he did an awesome job of finding some cool, nuanced stuff underneath the verses. The song actually isn’t that broad in range, which means if you pitch it down to make it more singable, it doesn’t have a ton of vocal dynamics. Still a good song, but I have to lean on band a bit to communicate the lift in those choruses.
I welcomed everybody and talked for just a bit about Jesus being our King. Then I gave them the good news that we were singing a hymn with “no new choruses added.” That got a little laugh out in the crowd. (Worship leader rule #35 – make fun of current worship subculture whenever possible.) We hadn’t done this one in quite awhile, but it’s still such a great song! We do the Enfield version of the tune, which manages to put a lot of energy and power into the song without compromising the verses. (I love the electric guitar riff!) We had fill-in drums and bass, so it took a little bit to get them comfortable with the arrangement, but once we had run it a few times, they had all the punches and such down.
After that, did a congregational reading of Psalm 16:7-11. Since we don’t do a lot of songs, I’d like to find different ways to implement corporate reading of scripture into our songs in our service. Thinking about starting to recruit readers over the next few months. We launched into Joyful, another one we haven’t done in a quite a while. But man, was it great. Our electric player was especially strong with use of delay. (Yes, yes, yes…I still like dotted-8th delay. And I always will.) Song had a lot of power – it was so encouraging to hear the congregation singing so loud on the verses.
Had the congregation sit down and did a quick survey of the room by asking folks to raise their hands based on how long they had been a part of Bethel. My hope was that we would get a sense of just our diverse our congregation is. We had a better “spread” in the first service, but it was encouraging to see both services filled with folks both old and new. I spoke just a little about how good God’s been to us as a church through good times and bad and then encouraged the congregation to think about how merciful God had been to us. We did last song with crowd seated, which always creates a different sort of vibe in the room, but I think it went okay. Sometimes you gotta’ just put the song out there and trust the Lord to use it!