Worship Music June 30/July 1

That’s right, June 30. We (me, Demetrios, Alex and Tim) had the honor of leading worship for the Alamo Stone fellowship of believers which meets on Saturday nights. We (Communion Chapel) have done some joint things with the Alamo Stone group (Easter, for instance), so I was a little familiar with the church. But our styles of worship music are very different. They lean more to the Hillsong United, more rock centered style and my style is something contemporary but not rock and roll (although some of that is simply because of the make-up of the group). So, planning for the service was interesting because on top of trying to find songs that fit together with the sermon topic (I was told it would be from I John 5), I had to also find songs that the congregation would know – at least songs that are familiar if not songs they sing. Ironically enough, in my effort to find songs the congregation would know, I inadvertently chose some songs our lead singer (Demetrios) didn’t know. But he’s a pro and he had at least heard them, so it was all good.

Since I wasn’t sure exactly what direction the sermon was going to go, I decided to stick with Christo-centric songs with themes such as love for Christ (Beautiful One), salvation (Mighty to Save, Jesus Paid it All) and worship/adoration (I Will Sing, Only You).

For Sunday morning I chose to do the same basic set for a number of reasons. First, I liked the way the songs flowed together. Second, the sermon theme Sunday morning was going to be discipleship, but I didn’t have a good sense of the specific direction. So I felt like, although the songs aren’t directly related to discipleship, the emphasis on Christ might lead us that direction. Since the two services were a little different as far as the actual flow, I’m just including the songs here.

Beautiful One (July 1: Glory in the Highest)
Mighty to Save
Jesus Paid it All
I Will Sing
Only You

The original plan was to start with Glory in the Highest. However, I heard from Jody (one of the worship leaders from Alamo Stone) that although the song is probably familiar, they’ve never sung it for church. So, I spent some time looking for alternates because I knew two of the other songs would be new to them also. I ended taking a couple of songs with me Saturday as possible replacements. Beautiful One was my first second choice. Sunday morning I decided to stick with that as the first song. But the worship team all wanted to do Glory in the Highest instead. So I switched them again. I like them both there, but for different reasons. I think although the tempo of Glory in the Highest doesn’t scream “opening song” the “glory in the highest” kind of anthem makes up for that and starts things off with flat out adoration. Beautiful One is a bit more, hm..how do I say this…I think it’s a better written song lyrically. It’s also adoration, but it’s more personal, as opposed to Glory in the Highest which mostly just lists qualities/characteristics of God (often in not particularly well-crafted ways e.g “Lord, you’re the encore”). Anyway, with all that said, I like them both, I think they both fit well in the set and to start the set, so I didn’t have any problem switching them back and forth.

Mighty to Save is the anchor to the set thematically. I like the connection between the assurance of salvation of I John 5 and also the idea of being a light into the world – going and making disciples. Okay, I’m reading into that bridge, but in my mind the connection is there to be made. We sang the song for Easter, so I knew that it would be familiar to Alamo Stone. I thought it was a little awkward moving to the piano Saturday night (Sunday morning I had a piano player so I stayed on guitar), but it worked out and I liked the fuller sound of the piano with the guitar.

I wonder if I shouldn’t change things up and do the traditional version of Jesus Paid It All sometime. Some folks in the Communion congregation would like that. We stuck with the Passion (Kristian Stanfill) version. Again this is a song we did at Easter so I knew that Alamo Stone was familiar with it. We’re staying with the theme of salvation through Christ which I hoped would be useful to any discussion of “…this life is in His Son” (I John 5:11).

I Will Sing is becoming very familiar to the Communion Chapel congregation, but it was brand new for Alamo Stone. I wanted to transition to response/action and probably somewhere in my mind I wanted to do one of Demetrios’ songs since he was going to be singing. I tried to be more objective than that, but I won’t discount that it had some bearing. Either way it is a great song that does and says exactly what I wanted there. It’s a reminder of all the things already said about who Christ is and what He has done, but it’s also a personal call to worship Him.

We ended with Only You, which according to Jody was one of those songs that the Alamo Stone congregation might know, but they had never used it in worship there. It’s short enough and repetitive enough that I wasn’t worried about it being a new song, or even that it was following a new song. It follows and continues the theme from I Will Sing by adding the surrender/dependence ideas. I think there are some in the Communion congregation that would rather not sing such a repetitive song. I know there are those who think all contemporary music is “7/11” music. But they are wrong. And while I am not a big fan of simple repetitiveness for no reason, I like it in this song. It feels appropriate to me. It also allows the congregation to close their eyes and sing the song as a prayer of sorts since the words are simple enough and are repeated so often. Even discounting my argument that God doesn’t mind repetition (see the four creatures of Revelation), I like the repetition of this song (and apparently I like the word repetition also because I’ve used it at least a dozen times in this paragraph).

July 2, 2012  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: music, worship and the church

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