Poor Man’s Worship Confessional for 8/1/2007, CHAOS Worship Night

August 2, 2007

Shannon at the Gathering Place 2007Since I’ve been ‘producing’ my last official ‘worship confessional’ video for over 2 months and STILL don’t have it ready to post online, I thought I’d keep this one simple: please pretend the picture (brought courtesy of the honorable Chris Moncus) beside and above this text is moving. See me talking? Good – I call that ‘Poor Man’s Video’, otherwise known as ‘the imagination.’ If you don’t have one, please stop reading this immediately and go play some football, but if you’re with me, I’m very glad to have you.

As the Associate Music Director at St. Simons Community Church, and before that the Youth Worship Leader, we’ve been having regular Youth ‘Night of Worship’ events anywhere from twice a year to quarterly since Summer of ’03 when I first began working with the worship team there. Since my unfinished Worship confessional covers our last one – a special Friday night event – I’ll simply discuss last night: OFF THE CHAIN. Apart from possibly ‘ENCOUNTER’ – with my band, Saint Lewis, and the Inside Out band together, and the help of a great number of visitors from local charismatic congregations – last night was the most passionate, free, and yes, WILD nights of worship I’ve been apart of…at any church I’ve been to.

Our youth are normally a rather reserved bunch: mostly white, upper-middle class to upper class, intelligent, and fairly conservative, and they tend to enter into worship in a manner I’d call generally “safe”. Last night however, I saw youth dancing, waving their hands, crying out to God, on their faces, hands raised, and just going all out for Jesus. It was, I hope, one more step in a number of our youth’s deepening growth in their love of and passion for Jesus, and what He’s done for them.

We started off with Chris Tomlin’s “Enough“, a song that at one time I had grown tired of, but which we recently brought back into rotation and our current line-up breathed new life into, including moving at some points into a neo-hardcore style, and yet closing the song very restrained, quiet, and contemplative, moving directly into the live bridge of Tim Hughes’ beautiful “Consuming Fire“, singing “Stir it up in our hearts, Lord…a passion for Your Name” as a prayer before moving into deeper things. We closed that set, singing the chorus a capella – every voice raised in unity. It was a beautiful thing.

After Justin, one of our Youth Pastors, announced the Communion Table, we moved into our second set, which also involved our only major ‘goof-up’ of the evening, as my wife – our keyboardist – got her sheet music turned around out of order and began the otherwise lovely song “Amazed” in the wrong key. I had planned to begin the song in A, with the girls singing lead, then modulate to D after the first chorus, with the guys singing lead and the girls moving to harmony. So much for MY plans! It did strike me that something didn’t sound quite right when I attempted to play a lead before we began singing, but I didn’t play extensively enough to discover our error – that is, until I came in playing full chords in the chorus and – clash of all clashes – I discovered we were playing in two different keys. Sadly, however, she was unable to hear herself well enough, and was pretty much playing from memory – she had no idea anything was wrong. Then there’s the modulation: the whole band goes from A to D, yet the keyboards modulated from D to A. Needless to say at that point the atonality became obvious to all and the error was corrected very quickly by my very embarrassed, yet beautiful, and still very talented wife, who played her brains out with great passion – and accuracy – for the rest of the evening. That just goes to shows the importance of being able to hear yourself VERY WELL in the monitors – and having your chord charts either memorized, or at least in the right order. Oh yeah, and not growing overconfident (cough cough) because you played the first two songs so well, right sweetie? Strangely, what seemed to be chaos on stage, apparently did nothing to distract our youth from praising Jesus – thank God – and we moved smoothly to build “Amazed“, flow seamlessly through 3 verses of “Amazing Grace” into Charlie Hall’s beautiful “Center“, which Mary-Margaret led beautifullly, when we opened up the mic to anyone who wanted to share with the youth group what God has been doing in their lives over the Summer.

Though we had originally planned to sing “How Great is our God” as a medley with “How Great Thou Art”, at the last minute I just felt like God was telling me to ‘move on’ – to keep pushing forward, so I took a risk and introduced a new song (new to us): Hillsong United’s “From the Inside Out“, after which our Youth Ministry is named. After a mild mis-start, the song really came together well, and once we’d sung through the entire song once the youth really becang to catch on, and the voices in the room grew louder, and it seemed that the message the song conveys – a passionate plea for God to sovereignly change us – really began to move their hearts. So we ‘camped’ there – just sat down on that song and beat the mess out of it for a good 20 minutes straight. We sang it quiet & reserved – we sang it loud and rockin’ – and we nearly sung it hardcore at points. Honestly, in part we sang the song for so long because I – and everyone else – was so moved by it, and partly, also, because I really couldn’t figure out how to get out of the song – how to end it! But, never-the-less, God really made His presence known, and as that song grew to a close, I passed the ‘worship leader’ roll off to one of our students, Aaron.

Aaron brought it. Oh, did he ever bring it. You see, Aaron just returned from a crazy mission trip and is not only a talented musician (you name it, he plays it – AND HE SINGS), but the kid is lit for Jesus! He stepped up to the mic and challenged everyone to really let go, and give God their all, and had the room cheering and clapping for God before he even began singing. He led one of my current favorites, the newer Vineyard song “Let us Be” written by Robbie Reider, a grooving plea for God to use us to reach the world for His glory.

Lastly, we closed out the evening – myself sweaty, quite hoarse, but very much at peace about everything – with Charlie Hall’s “Marvelous Light“, as a challenge for our youth to run hard after Jesus, and give their lives fully to Him, following the music with an prayer circle for a number of our recent graduates, and those who would be leaving us soon. It was a very good evening, thank You JESUS!

To Him be the glory…amen.


6 Responses to “Poor Man’s Worship Confessional for 8/1/2007, CHAOS Worship Night”

  1. mandythompson said

    you’ll get a kick outta this:
    now that i’m at a church that’s trying to connect decades worth of generations, i read over your list of songs and think:
    this is SO off balance… he’s not doing any hymns….. but those songs are all so NOW and so incredible!
    rock on….
    mixed emotions,

  2. saintlewis said

    No Hymns? What about “Amazing Grace”? And we had originally planned to sing the chorus of “How Great Thou Art”, but God thought otherwise. I do LOVE hymns though! Thanks for the note.

  3. yeah .. and let’s say .. no “old” hymns …. hymns are still being written every day … pet peeve of mine … “you don’t do any hymns” … meaning, “you don’t sing those 100 year-old songs in the hard -bound book that is in the back of the pews.

    Sounds awesome – I really SHOULD have been there, and regret I didn’t make it … had visitors/recording in from Charlotte, NC and it was their only time to come.

    Sounds awesome – glad Aaron brought the goods!

  4. klampert said

    ha ha…that is sweet. great set list…and Im glad i have a fellow textfessional guy

  5. Dude. I didn’t know you were blogging on a real (as in NOT myspace) blog. Sweet.

    It was an incredible night. I enjoyed it so much. Having the band on their A game was especially a thrill for me because I could really mix and keep remixing. It felt like I was producing a record because I had an amazing sound coming at me that was so good and each instument could get highlighted as it played its part. The vocals were strong and solid and sounded soooo good.

    You and the team did a great job. Now let’s make sure we ride the wave and keep that spirit of excellence up for the fall! 🙂

    I heart you bro.

  6. Hey, I just found your blog and your text-fessional. Awesome! Great set!

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