Tag Archives: worship team

HBC Service Redux: 23 January 2011

Here’s a recap of the service and the songs we chose this past weekend at Howick Baptist Church (You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week at theworshipcommunity.com). You can also read through previous HBC service recaps here.

Order of Service

(worship leader: William Chong)

Bible reading – Psalms 1 and 2. It was Chichi’s first time as the reader, and I enjoyed listening to his dulcet, melodious voice. Once you get accustomed to the African accent, his steady and soothing pace helped to bring the text alive. Before he came up for the reading, I had a go and trying to explain to the church a summarised “big idea” of these psalms (taken from my notes):

As Chichi comes up let’s set the scene. First we have a psalm, or song, that tells us there are only two ways to live: according to God’s way, the way the righteous, or our own way, the way of the wicked. The next psalm that flows on has a prophetic tone – it tells the future – and it gave the Israelites who sang it many years ago a glimpse of the LORD’s own Anointed King, as a reminder that God’s way of redemption is to one day bring a King to this world, to judge and to rule over it.

1. Crown Him With Many Crowns – Matthew Bridges, Godfrey Thring. Musically, we opted for a simplified Enfield/Resolved arrangement: first introduced at STAND 2010, the church sings it quite comfortably now, which is encouraging! There’s a fascinating story behind this hymn: six verses were penned in 1851 by Matthew Bridges, an eventual Roman Catholic. 20 years later, an Anglican clergyman Godfrey Thring didn’t like how Catholic some of the verses sounded and so wrote six different verses! Most hymnals today have a mix of verses from both these authors (perhaps an object lesson of God using trouble for His good a la Romans 8:28!) The imagery of “crowning him with many crowns” is taken straight from Rev 19:11-21, a passage very thematically similar to the description of the Messiah King in Psalm 2.

2. Glories of Calvary – Steve and Vikki Cook. I prefaced the singing of this song with the following:

‘He lives that death may die.’ Let’s continue to sing now of the glories of Calvary, which was the place 2000 years ago where all this happened.”

This was an example of a deliberate attempt on my part to be clearer in the terms I used when speaking, since observing this done well at YLC 2011, and when we visited St Johns Latimer earlier this month. I think many Christians wouldn’t know what the “Calvary” in “The Glories of Calvary” means! It’s an important lesson I want to learn and develop this year as a worship leader: that in an age where less and less people actually come to church with a knowledge of Christian vocabulary (eg. Calvary, Christ, sin, atonement, the Bible, God’s Word, blessing), briefly defining and explaining these terms would be a big help to those who don’t quite know what they mean. We shouldn’t assume everyone speaks Christianese – particularly those we’re trying to reach out to in our communities.

3. Shout to the Lord – Darlene Zschech. I didn’t plan this myself: as we were singing through the chorus, the words: “Power and majesty praise to the King!” really resonated in my mind, particularly in light of Chichi’s reading of Psalms 1 and 2 earlier. I often find great joy in seeing how these unexpected links between scripture and song appear in ways we as worship leaders never fully anticipate. One caveat with using the couple of Hillsong-related songs at HBC is that I generally seek to clarify any unclear phrasing – this is good practice with any worship song really, but I find myself doing this more with Hillsong ones that we do use (there are others where it’s too difficult to sing through without needing to clarify most of the lines!) One way I did it time around it was to note during prayer, for example, that “the promise I have in you” (last line of the chorus) is that as believers redeemed by Jesus’s atoning work on the cross, we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17a). I think doing this helps to prevent us from filling that definition gap ourselves apart from scripture (eg, what’s the promise?).

4. Psalm 62 – Aaron Keyes and Stuart Townend. The church have really learnt this song quite quickly since the first time we tried it: and the words are great, they come straight from Psalm 62.

5. Speak O Lord – Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. In light of Peter starting a three-part series on 1 Tim 2:11-15 – a controversial text in today’s society, culture, and church environment – this song helped us all to focus on the purpose of God’s Word:

That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Sermon: 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Our senior pastor Peter Somervell got straight back into the 1 Timothy preaching series. This message was an overview of the issues that come along with the interpretation and application of this difficult text: should women be silent in church? Is Paul teaching salvation by childbearing? What does Adam and Eve have to do with women in church? Peter promised to explain all this and more over three messages. I’m thankful to be under the leadership of a pastor that’s not afraid to faithfully teach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27)…. even the difficult ones!

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A couple of notable challenges in this service which needed an extra measure of God’s grace(!) to accomplish:

  • Due to the nature of the text Peter was teaching on, it was very difficult to think of how to choose songs that might fit with the theme of the passage. In instances like these, an important role the music can play is to simply proclaim the gospel through the songs we sing and what we say in between. So much of the song choices went that way. This article and the related comments offer some good discussion about whether our songs should harmonise with the sermon or not.
  • There was just *a lot* going on today!! In addition to what’s listed, we had a baby dedication, a members meeting, a time of announcements… we ended about 25 minutes later than usual! The music team had prepped a closing song but in hindsight, we could have almost taken out one of the songs in the middle set, to be more helpful in keeping the service punctual.
  • I’m still getting comments that my electroacoustic guitar still doesn’t come through the speakers at all… and my effects pedal is not really cooperating (causing lots of static and noise when plugged into the speaker system). I may have to go spend some money on a real pedal….

A busy service – but one full of wonder and mercy found from worshipping and praising the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

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– William

HBC Service Redux: 16 January 2011

Here’s a recap of the service and the songs we chose this past weekend at Howick Baptist Church (You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week at theworshipcommunity.com). You can also read through previous HBC service recaps here.

Order of Service

(worship leader: Jon Scanlan)

1. Indescribable – Laura Story. Praising God as “all powerful, untamable” is normally a fantastic way to start the service. Funnily though the church seemed quite hesitant in their singing to begin with. Perhaps it was the lyric operator who was distracted and failed to put up the words in time through the first verse and chorus, maybe it was a bit of lingering “holiday singing”, or perhaps the instrumentation (solo acoustic guitar/piano and drums) was on the light side to accompany the majesty of the words.

2. Let Your Kingdom Come – Bob Kauflin. If the church were quiet on the previous song, they were LOUD on this one! Easy to sing and quite well-known and enthusiastically sung now. I think we introduced it midway through last year and it’s a great way to refocus our hearts on His glorious cause, that “Jesus Christ be known wherever we are”.

3. Be Unto Your Name (We Are A Moment) – Robin Mark. Played during the offering. There are some fantastic vocal harmonies that can be done on this song, so that was great to hear – appreciated the effort Kat and Ray put into those to expand the overall sound. With the key change it goes fairly high (too high for most men) but it’s one of those songs where you’ll give it a go anyways because you’re singing straight from scripture (Rev 4:8, Rev 5:12):

Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!

4. Give Thanks – Henry Smith. An old classic from the late 70’s – we’d probably need to work at the musical arrangement so it doesn’t also sound like it’s from the 70’s! But a simple and singable way to encourage thankfulness (which was one of the points in the message today).

5. Salvation’s Song (Loved Before the Dawn of Time) – Stuart Townend. We introduced it for the first time in October, and since then our worship leaders have loved the richness of the words and the beautiful music. I was very encouraged by the care Jon took with this song to space the music’s dynamics and instrumentation over the length of this song. By the time we got to the bridge, the whole church was ready to belt out:

Singing glory honour wisdom power
To the Lamb upon the throne
Hallelujah I will lift Him high!

Craig (one of our worship leaders) made a good suggestion that we could probably try it in a higher key next time. Most of the song is in quite a low range, though I guess the trouble is that in the bridge it goes well into the high reaches of a singer’s range too!

Sermon: Colossians 1:9-14. Our associate pastor Joe Fleener continued a preaching series through the book of Colossians, examining the question: “What is God’s will for my life?” The answer, thankfully, is found in the Bible!

You can listen or watch the entire message for free here.

6. Oh the Mercy of God – Geoff Bullock. The third verse of this song links quite closely with the next part of Colossians 1:15-20, which speaks of the deity of Christ:

Oh the glory of God expressed in His Son
His image and likeness revealed to us all
The plan of the ages completed in Christ
That we be presented perfected in Him

And it’s all “to the praise of His glorious grace”!

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– William

HBC Service Redux: 2 January 2011

Here’s a recap of the service and the songs we chose this past weekend (You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week at theworshipcommunity.com).

Order of Service – 2 January

(worship leader: William Chong)

1. O Church Arise – Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. I chose this song as the first for the year to remind us of the need for believers to be properly equipped with the armour of God (Eph 6:10-20). It’s also a great reminder that we’re soldiers “whose battle cry is Love”:

O church arise and put your armour on
Hear the call of Christ our Captain
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies
An army bold whose battle cry is Love
Reaching out to those in darkness

2. Soli Deo Gloria – Mark Altrogge. If you’re looking for songs that declare some worthwhile New Years’ Resolutions, this one would be quite apt!

We resolve to live
For nothing else but Jesus Christ
To know the one who is our life
We resolve to live
By nothing but Your Word alone
Your strength alone for Your will alone

3. Psalm 62 (My Soul Finds Rest In God Alone) – Aaron Keyes and Stuart Townend. We introduced this as a new song, and I was glad to get some good feedback from one or two people that it was reasonably easy to pick up. It’s based pretty much on Psalm 62, and a real joy to sing particularly the third verse:

Though life is but a fleeting breath
A sigh too deep to measure
My King has crushed the curse of death
And I am His forever!

O praise Him hallelujah
My Delight and my Reward
Everlasting never failing
My Redeemer my God!

4. There Is A Hope – Stuart Townend and Mark Edwards. My favourite lines talk of a day we can look forward to as believers (Philippians 3:20):

When sufferings cease and sorrows die
And every longing satisfied
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul
For I am truly home…

Sermon: Joe started a preaching series through the book of Colossians. From the first eight verses, he explained from the text that we as believers should fix our hope not on experiential, emotional or feelings-based things, but on the objective reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can watch it here:

Thanksgiving for the Transforming Work of the Gospel of Christ – Col 1:1-8 (Joe Fleener) from Howick Baptist Church on Vimeo.

5. In Christ Alone – Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. We responded to the preaching by singing this great summation of the gospel. It was very loud!

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This Sunday service, I was particularly taken aback at how well the songs fitted with Joe’s message, which had much emphasis on Christ alone being our objective and joyous hope. I didn’t really intend for such a harmonisation between the songs chosen and the preaching (and it doesn’t have to happen every week). So for that I’m very thankful to the Lord, who is able to tie things together much better than I ever could!

I think the use of mainly Townend/Getty modern hymns fitted well with our instrumentation this week (voices and a piano, plus myself on guitar). These two songwriters have provided the Body of Christ with a great range of lyrically-rich and musically interesting worship songs, and many in our church have taken to singing them with enthusiasm and real gusto.

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– William Chong

The worship team is much more than the ones on stage

On Sunday afternoon we had an end-of-year get-together/BBQ with many of our home church‘s music, sound and multimedia servants, along with their families. It was a good group of about 40+ people, and a great time of fellowship and celebrating how faithful God has been to HBC over the year gone by.

I shared with everyone one aspect about the HBC worship ministry this year that’s particularly struck me. Although much of the worship ministry is public/corporate in nature, there’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes that most of the church family won’t typically see. Throughout the year, some of the most touching examples of faithful, joyous service to the Lord have been the less obvious ones. I’m referring to the quiet workers that contribute immensely to the worship ministry (and some aren’t even listed on the roster).

For example:

  • there’s the musician that makes every single practice, and sings so heartily because they can’t do so for the rest of the week when they’re with their unbelieving family
  • there’s the mum who tirelessly chauffeurs her son or daughter so they can make the 8:30 early morning rehearsals
  • there’s the singer that records a difficult alto part, then sends it to her sister-in-Christ to help her practise it for the Sunday service
  • there’s the camera and projector operators that serve joyfully, even though it sometimes hurts their eyes to squint at the screen over long periods of time
  • there’s the guy who pulls up straight from a 12 hour work day to set up the sound gear, and patiently waits till the end to pack it down again
  • there’s the wife or husband who manages the home and the children lovingly, and waits patiently for their spouse to return from a late practice
  • there’s the folk that meet upstairs each Sunday morning before each service, to pray and intercede to God, and ask Him to enable each person serving that morning

For time would fail me to tell of many other examples of quiet, faithful ministry. And I’m sure you have members like these in your church too. One of the things I love about being part of the worship ministry is that, as members of the worship team, we’re uniquely blessed with the opportunity not just to sing praises to God and encourage others to do so, but also to minister to each other as brothers and sisters struggling along the same narrow road.

My hope is that all these “unsung heroes” will be lavishly rewarded for their service unto the Lord when he comes again to rule and to reign. But I’m so grateful that, for now, He’s left a whole bunch of humble and faithful servants here at HBC.

Can you think of any other examples of “unsung heroes” in your church?

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