Sunday, April 27, 2008

worship confessional (4.27.08)

Last week, I got the not-as-rare-as-it-used-to-be privilege of coming to my own church as an attender. Ryan, our Associate Music Director, led worship and I was out in the congregation holding my son in my arms and singing to my Creator--my son singing gently in my ear throughout the worship set... it doesn't get a whole lot sweeter than that.

This week was our last weekend of our Love. Loud. initiative-- that is, the last week before the 'celebration' weekend next week, where we bring forth our pledges and finally begin to put flesh to the bone of our last 4 weeks of discussion. We were headed for an uber long service, and so we preemptively cut a tune from the worship set. That always bums me out, but the day felt all kinds of good in spite of that. Here's the setlist we ended up with:

As Long As I Have You - M. Roach
Pleasing - Glenn Packiam
Enough - Tomlin/Giglio
feature tune - Take My Life (a la Passion - Tomlin and Co.)
Love Loud (tag) - by our own Ryan Redding

The set felt pretty good... I hate having to change guitars quickly in transitions, but it actually worked out ok. I lead from an electric on 'As Long As...' and played acoustic on the other two. Originally, when we were planning on doing 4 tunes, we had the welcome/announcement piece between the first two songs, so I would have had plenty of time for the switch. When we cut the last tune, we felt like a two-song set after the announcements just didn't feel right, so that left us with a quick guitar transition. At any rate, our congregation typically applauds after the uptempo stuff in the set (does your church do that? I know, that's another discussion entirely) so I had a few seconds to grab the guitar and get to the mic, and then I spoke briefly before 'Pleasing.' That's a strong tune, by the way, if you don't do it at your church, you should look at it.

We did 'Take My Life' differently on Saturday than on Sunday... Saturday I played my electric so I could put a dotted eighth delay on it and really get some cool build at the end, but without that sparkle and percussive nature an acoustic provides, something was missing. Both would have been ideal, but when I had to pick one, the acoustic won the day and I asked our electric player to beef his part up a bit with delay and such. 'Take My Life' is a great song... really fun to play, but we've never done it in a worship rotation, always as a special.

Ok, my rant is done I think. I often wonder if anyone cares about my weekly (ok, not exactly weekly) muses--but hey, if not, I'm keepin' a good journal, right? At any rate, next week is big. Mike Lewis (the Jesus Painter) is coming to town, baptisms, confirmations, and we find out just how loud our congregation wants to love... see you then.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Worship Confessional (3.30.08)

as posted at

Ok, so it was the weekend after Easter… if your church is anything like our church, the staff is all in recovery mode for most of the week, trying to catch up on sleep, time with family, and anything else that was virtually ignored during the weeks prior to Easter. We were no different, and while Saturday seemed much like a normal service, when we all arrived Sunday morning it was easy to see that we hadn’t quite recovered yet. :) Setlist was as follows:

Filled With Your Glory - Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld

Everlasting God - Brenton Brown, Ken Riley

Here I Am, Lord - Dan Schutte

The Least I Can Do - M. Roach

feature tune: The Motions (Matthew West)

You Never Let Go - Matt & Beth Redman

I love ‘Filled With Your Glory’ … I think that’s a sleeper among up-tempo worship tunes. We don’t do the melodic variations on the record in the 2nd verse, just to keep in consistent for congregational purposes… I think it’s a great song. ‘Everlasting God’ has been big for us ever since we started. We do kind of a blend between the Tomlin and the Brenton Brown versions. We do the alt. time signatures in the pre-chorus—I love those. I’d love to hear what version you all lean toward… anyone lean toward the Lincoln Brewster version in church?

‘Here I Am, Lord’ is one of those tunes I grew up with in the Catholic church. Being at a Protestant church, it’s not often I run across older hymns and choruses that I actually know, but this one crossed the divide. Anyway, we change it up quite a bit, put it in 6/8 and change the pronouns so that it’s vertical rather than singing from God’s perspective.

‘The Least I Can Do’ was a fun tune of mine to do on the week after Easter, especially with our theme. The message was called "Now What?" and it dealt with our response to the good news of the Easter story the week before. I led the prayer after the song set, which I don’t do very much any more, and it was an easy transition since the song culminates in a down-verse about the Easter story and really deals itself with the fact that the least we can do is worship. I led the prayer from the piano, right before the tag, and asked God to help us all realize that the least we could do was worship in song right then… then asked if He could help us make that a starting point—that we could follow it with a life of worship from this point forward.

Anyway, it was a strong service overall, except for my brilliant transposing error on Saturday night. I led two songs from the piano, one was The Least I Can Do in the worship set and then Matt West’s tune ‘The Motions’ … well, we had transposed it for my vocal and I was playing it an easier key and forgot to transpose the keyboard before we started. I had one of those fantastic moments where you just stop dead in the middle of an intro and say into the mic, "yeah, I’m gonna need to fix that…" then you fix it and start over. Nothing else I could do, my band doesn’t transpose a half step on the fly. :) I’d love to hear your transpose button / capo-on-the-wrong-fret stories… it’d make me feel better I’m sure!

Many blessings to you all! Until next week…