I’m sitting at home enjoying a scoop of cookies and cream ice-cream. Easter Monday is a public holiday in NZ and so I’m savouring this time to unwind and catch up on errands and jobs around the house. But as I sit here I’m reflecting on the Easter Friday and Sunday’s services at Howick Baptist Church.
Here are a number of things that I felt, by God’s grace, went well:
- Double-dipped tunes. When choosing songs this Easter, I deliberately kept an eye out for songs that worked thematically on both Friday and Sunday services. We sung “Glories of Calvary” and “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” in this way: as we had the same music team covering both services, it was therefore easier on them to not have to rehearse two different songs instead. Two things we tried that helped to vary the two versions of each song included, firstly, using a different solo instrument on Sunday vs. Friday (in our case trumpet vs. violin); and secondly, emphasising different parts of a song on different days. For example, on Friday we ended “Glories of Calvary” slightly earlier in the song with the words: “… to sing of Jesus who died for me.” – while on Sunday we took the song to its high-octane, triumphant response of “Oh take me deeper into the glories of Calvary.” Even by varying bits and pieces like this we were able to use the same song but bring out different aspects for the congregation to consider.
- Early warning systems. Getting as much of the music out earlier than the Thursday night rehearsal was a definite advantage, especially considering that we tackled two new songs across the weekend. I’m grateful for the dedication of the musicians that made the effort to look at the music beforehand: as a result, the Gethsemane Hymn clicked together very quickly during practice. If there are new songs that I’m planning on using in future, I think it will be much more effective to distribute them (e.g. via email) earlier in the week so it’s not a sight-reading rehearsal come Thursday night, and there’s more time available for fine-tuning rather than learning a piece.
- The James 1:19 principle. During the Friday service, I was able to hold my tongue and let most of the songs speak for themselves, and interjecting at a bare minimum. It seemed to cause less distractions that way and the focus was drawn more to the lyrics, in particular for the new songs we tried. You can check out our team’s attempt with “To See the King of Heaven Fall (Gethsemane Hymn)“, by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend in the Youtube video below (if you’re reading this in a feed click through to the site here).
In the next post I’ll expand on things that could have been improved on to help serve the church better.