Sunday Summary – Music: October 26, 2008

We were faced with a decision this week that we have to make every now and again…

OK, first some back story: I’m sure I’ve mentioned over (and over) on how we plan our Sunday AM services to be 65 minutes – and NO longer than that.

There’s lots of reasons – turning around the parking lot for the next service, children’s environments, environments that occur between services (Starting Point, Next, etc.). LOTS of reasons.

It also makes it real easy to invite folks when you can prepare them on the length of the service and what to expect. Again, lots of different reasons.

So now and again, we’re faced with a 67 minute service ( Planning Center is a great tool for planning your services – service order, length of each element, etc.), and this was one of those weeks. We knew the length of Andy’s message because he had recorded it at Browns Bridge the week before – and it was a long one. About 3-4 minutes longer than usual. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s essentially the length of a song. We also had baptism and slightly lengthier Welcome talking about some stuff that was going on over the next few weeks.

So again, it’s all those little 30 seconds here and 60 seconds there that add up to us running over – and that ain’t good.

AND DON’T EVEN START with the “let the Holy Spirit lead” and “why short-change the worship experience?” talk, ’cause that’s all forgotten if the parking lot becomes grid lock. That’s when people forget they are Christians and stop showing love and start sharing the middle finger. Yeah – it happens…

Anyhoo – so our decision was to cut a worship tune (so from 3 down to 2), giving us a 63 minute plan, and take the extra minute or two for the Worship Leaders to really engage the crowd and get them involved in the songs. We also officially introduced a new tune this week that has been done in some other environments, and familiarized them with the chorus and explained the meaning behind the song.

Over the last 6-8 months we’ve really found that 2 songs with a little more WL engagement ends up being a more effective worship experience for the crowd versus cramming 3 songs back to back with little or no WL talking. It also frees up some time at the end of the song set to maybe do an extra scaled down chorus with just WL and acoustic – some very powerful, worshipful moments.

So here’s the lesson – quantity of songs is not what’s important. It’s the overall worship experience that counts. (Oh, but you all knew that, didn’t you 😉 )


All We Need (Charlie Hall tune – but you need to shorten the bridge to 12 bars instead of 16 or that instrumental section gets old fast)

Glory To God (new tune by Steve Fee and Vicky Beeching)

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East Band – Eddie Kirkland, Danny Howes, Brad Long, Richard Meeder, Scott Meeder, Jared Hamilton, Chelsea Brooks

West Band – “Señor” Seth Condrey, Danny Grady, Daryl Lecroy, Joe Lee, Earl South, Mike Bielenberg, Rebecca Iraheta

Spanish Service – Seth Condrey, Rebecca Iraheta, The North Point Music Multitrack Orchestra featuring Pro Tools 7.4.2 and the Digi 003R…

Alrighty, East Auditorium usually gets the love, so here’s a few snaps from the West Auditorium instead…

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What have you experienced lately where “less is more”?

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2 thoughts on “Sunday Summary – Music: October 26, 2008

  1. Wow… it’s amazing how similar things happen across the country. This weekend itself in our Edge service at Timberline Church we had a case very similar to this. We had four songs for the set list and the last one was “In Your Freedom” by Hillsongs. Now during the Saturday service everything was fine and we didn’t have to cut back on the songs, but Sunday the worship pastor took some more time to engage the people and lead them into the song. The overall impact was more people having thoughtful worship as they sung this song. However, just as we were about to get to the bridge, the worship pastor signaled for the MC to come up and lead us in prayer. And if you know the song, you know that bridge is very powerful. So it was a bit disappointing to not get to the bridge, but even as we ended the song, the MC just led is in a brief moment of reflection and meditative worship, and that was also very powerful. So yes we did have to cut short the song, but the overall worship was great. And even I still struggle sometimes with time vs. “letting the Spirit flow”, because I as a worship leader faught adamantly in my old church about limiting worship to 15 minutes. But when you look at the bigger picture, especially at this church, there are ~1800-2000 leaving one service and another 1500 coming in for the next, and you need to use what God has given you. We should never put it past God to pour down his blessings and touch people’s lives with two songs, or 15 minutes.

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