I’m trying to find a good way to quickly do these on video but since I’m not part of Mac nation it seems like it would be too complicated. Anyone got an easy solution?
So Sunday was pretty amazing. It was the first Sunday since our pastor started his sabbatical. He’ll be gone until after (Canadian!) Thanksgiving and we are learning what it means to be a staff team and a church with him being gone for an extended period of time. There are no secrets here – if you’re interested in finding more about the situation we’ve posted letters and audio from the announcement here.
For the month of July we will be using people from within our church to do the teach and yesterday we started a short series that we’re calling “Big Truths From Little Books” – basically preaching through three books which often get overlooked and are not a regular part of the preaching rotation for most churches: Philemon, 2 John & 3 John.
Our student ministries director, Kevin, preaching through Philemon yesterday and the push of the morning was the idea that God transforms to bring transformation – He changes us so that we can bring change. Our service outline looked like this –
God of Wonders – G
Holy, Holy, Holy – C
All The Earth – Paul Baloche – E
Wonder of Your Cross – Robin Mark – A
Word of God Speak – MercyMe – Bb
Message – Philemon
Changed – Aaron Niequist – G
Overall the morning was an A+. There was one moment in the middle of the service where I had to stop singing and just let the congregation carry it – there was as much engagement in the worship as I’ve seen in my time here. It really seemed like people were doing much more than just singing words – they were genuinely in worship as they were singing. As someone with the desire to lead people to those kinds of experiences, Sunday morning was a big success for me.
I led the team with two other very capable singers so we took lots of turns leading verses as the morning went. Running songs together became really easy because of the theme and the keys we picked. Let me unpack that a little more.
The main theme in “God of Wonders” is the idea of the vastness or big-ness of God and how everything we see in creation speaks to that big-ness. The tag coming out of the chorus “You are holy, holy” is a nice line to repeat a few times and becomes the perfect transition line to “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Doing “God of Wonders” in the key of G means that transition line alternates between an A minor and C. If you come out of the repeating of that tag line and just hang on the C you are pretty much ready to start in to “Holy, Holy, Holy” in that key – just hang on the C and maybe add a little Cmaj7 here and there. You can keep the feel just about the same and go right in to the first verse of the hymn. It worked beautifully.
Going from “All The Earth” to “Wonder of Your Cross” was just as smooth – notice how in both cases the key of the first song is the dominant of the key of the second song. That might be a bit too much theory speak for you but if you do some google searching you’ll find some good info on what that means. At the end of the “All The Earth” we just dropped the band out and left the acoustic playing that little transition section where the chords are a bit more syncopated than in the chorus – E/B/C#m – but there’s almost like two shots on the E and then the B is a passing thing leading up to the C#m. With the feel we had going for the song having just the acoustic playing that thing added a really nice breakdown section. At the very end of the song we used that and just repeated the “You came down/You saved us through the cross..” section which is a very natural lead in to the next song – thematically it carries over very nicely and again the key change is almost a no-brainer.
Okay this is getting long. Sorry about that.
For “Word of God Speak” I went to my homerun resource of PraiseCharts and got a click track to use. Again, perfect! The keyboard and string pads added so much to this song and the words of the song really fit in to our theme of the morning. I spoke a couple of times about the importance of having an appreciation for the entirety of Scripture – not just our favourite verses or the books we turn to out of habit. Knowing that God speaks to His church through a letter written by Paul to the master of a runaway slave is a pretty amazing truth and there is great stuff in there that we need to hear.
Closing the service with “Changed” was a perfect. If your church is kind of edgy and willing to do new stuff that is a bit out of the box you need to check out this song. I heard it at the Willow Arts Conference last year and we’ve done it a few times since then – the lyrics are bang on, the melody is great and musically it is one of the more interesting songs that we do on a Sunday morning. Aaron Niequist, the writer, was on staff at Mars Hill (Michigan) when I heard this song but apparently is up to some new things now. Check out his music – it’s good stuff.
Alright. So that’s a good recap of the morning. I’m excited for the rest of the series as well as the rest of the stuff we’ve got planned for the summer. What are you excited about?