One of the things that has always been a challenge for me in music ministry is the relentless turnover of Sunday to Sunday. I know I’ve lamented about this before… but one of the things that I want to try to be this year is more intentional. The hard part for me is intentionally unpacking the previous Sunday before moving onto the next.
For a while now I’ve been watching from a distance a trend among worship leaders to post what are called “Worship Confessions” (Chris from Canada being the most committed practitioner of those I follow). Basically they are a break down of the most recent church service with reflections on what worked and what didn’t. I’ve always been intrigued by this particular form of output, but wasn’t sure how much I would be able to embrace the “confession” part of it. I feel like most of what we do here at Oak Park is top notch, but sometimes something/someone (me) falls flat on their face. It’s not that I’m ashamed or necessarily embarrassed by mistakes or “failures”, but I’ve often questioned whether or not I want to air out my sexy laundry on a weekly basis in front of my four congregants who read this blog and who are probably none-the-wiser to the more subtle flubs in a service.
However, as I’ve thought about it, I feel like the time has come to come clean about it all and share my weekly experiences to help affirm the notion that perfection will always elude us and that even in our weakness God can be, and is, glorified. I’m also hoping that it will be an effective way for me to better reflect on the previous Sunday before moving on to the next.
So, I hope you join me… I don’t quite know how, but it’s always nice to have company. Bye!
<shoved back onto the stage> Oh. Right. I guess I should talk about this last Sunday…
Well, this Sunday in a lot of ways felt like the first official Sunday of the year, which made it exciting for me because I’m still all full of hope and enthusiasm for what this year will bring. It was the first week that Steve was back preaching and he came out swinging with a great message to kick off our Simple series.
Here was the set:
-The First and the Last (Hillsong – key of G)
-Call to Worship (I briefly talked about how one of the things that Jesus criticized the Pharisees for was for making the faith of the people so complex with rules upon rules; for placing heavy burdens on the people and refusing to help them carry them. Jesus said that his “yoke is easy and his burden is light”… then I said something about worshiping him with the freedom that can only come from following Christ).
-I Will Follow (Chris Tomlin – key of Ab)
-Our God (Chris Tomlin – key of Ab)
-Forever Reign (Hillsong – key of C)
I quite enjoyed singing The First and the Last again… I taught it a little while ago and we sang it a bunch and then I gave it a rest.
In hindsight it was a little hokey putting I Will Follow and Our God together. I liked the thematic progression of the two of them – the singing of our desire to follow Christ and be like him into a song that is a proclamation of who he is; however, it was the exact same feel and progression. In rehearsal Skoch was laying down the bass groove from Zombie (by the Cranberries) for I Will Follow and then just kept doing it for Our God. That really drove the point home that these songs are probably too similar to put back to back… I was kinda embarrassed that I didn’t notice sooner, but also happy to have the opportunity to hear Skoch say “Okay, I guess I’ll just keep doing this…”
Forever Reign is one of my favourite newer songs that we’ve been singing lately, it’s just really grown on me more than I thought it would.
Despite the fact that everything went pretty well musically and the set looked pretty good on paper, I found the overall energy to be pretty low. It might have been because there was a snowstorm that morning that kept people from coming to church (which is kinda weak, but whatever); circumstantial stuff like that really can make a difference in peoples level of engagement… a full room brings energy with it. It might have been that too many of the songs were newish for people to really engage with. It might have been because my drummer got sick the night before so we lacked that driving force. It might have been me, maybe people were tired of seeing me up there for the 9th week in a row. It might have been all those things, or something completely different. Either way, it wasn’t “bad”, it just wasn’t as much engagement as I’m used to from my congregation. No bigs. Like I said, Steve knocked the message out of the park.
It’s also worth noting that we didn’t have a closing song this week, which was quite nice IMO.
Anyways, there you go. January 9th, thanks for coming out… on to January 16th!