This past Sunday we had the joy of hosting Keith and Kristyn Getty at our Sunday meeting. Keith and Kristyn have become dear friends since they moved to the U.S. two years ago, so I was delighted when they called and said they were going to be in the D.C. area this week and wondered if we would have any interest in having them share a couple songs on Sunday morning. After a few email exchanges, everything was a go.
Having guest musicians on Sunday is a rare occurrence for us for a number of reasons. Having traveled on the road for twelve years with GLAD back in the 70s and 80s, I know that an artists often have set procedures and song lists that don’t always jive with a church’s goals and intentions. I remember how challenging it was at times to fit in to the particular emphasis or mentality of the churches we played at. Also, at Covenant Life we don’t ever want to create the impression that Sunday morning is more about personalities than the congregation. The church doesn’t gather to exalt an artist, but to exalt the Savior.
But neither of those were an issue with Keith and Kristyn. I started out by leading the song, How Great You Are, by Will Pavone. I then told the congregation that Keith and Kristyn were with us and invited them to join us on the platform. I moved over to synth (which I’m very average at), and Keith took over for me at the grand piano. I explained to the church that we had asked the Getty’s to teach us their song Speak, O Lord, because it fit well in the series on Jeremiah that we’re currently in. After that, I asked everyone to be seated as Kristyn sang Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer, a prayer that we would become closer to and more like Christ through every situation we encounter. That led into the 4th verse of the hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy, which was followed by The Power of the Cross and In Christ Alone. I ended with prayer. The pace of the music was a little on the slow side, but there was no lack of enthusiasm or the Spirit’s work that morning as we proclaimed the power of Christ’s atoning death and victorious resurrection to change our lives.
Throughout the entire rehearsal and both meetings, Keith and Kristyn wanted to do what best served the church. Kristyn read a passage from 2 Cor. 4 to introduce one song, but she said she had no desire to be the “worship leader,” but wanted to serve as part of the team. They were entirely flexible when it came to what songs we sang and how we should do them. Kristyn said later she kept looking over at me between each verse to see if I was going to change anything on the fly.
The Getty’s shared lunch with my family (all 16 of us including grandkids) on Sunday afternoon, and just chilled until the SuperBowl. For some reason they had no pressing desire to view what 95 million other people in America thought was pretty important. Guess it’s their Irish heritage. As I took them back to their hotel, Keith asked for thoughts on what they could have done better. We talked about the difference between playing solo and playing with a band, the tempo of songs, and leadership. I was deeply affected by their humility.
I thank God for Keith and Kristyn Getty, two “artists” who are committed to serving the church not only with their songs, but with their lives. You can find out more about the Getty’s here.