Yesterday I posted a video of something I shared on a recent Sunday morning as I was leading. It was the introduction to the song “Come Christians Join to Sing.” It’s a traditional hymn that we’ve updated musically and lyrically. Kevin Hartnett, a member of my church, wrote a third verse that highlights the main reason we can sing — Jesus has died for our sins in our place and risen from the dead. Here’s the verse he added:
Come praise the risen Lamb,
He died to ransom man
On that triumphant day
He took our sins away!
Death could not bid him stay
You can download a copy of the guitar chart for this song here. And here’s the video, uncut and uncensored…
Watching this video is definitely a dose of reality. That’s why I’d encourage you to record the audio and/or video of your Sunday meeting and watch it as a group. No better teacher.
Here’s what I liked. Two of the band members (Ryan Kelly on guitar and Jared Hoffman on percussion) have been raised up as musicians through high school and are now real contributors to the team. I appreciated that at various times all the instrumentalists were singing, modeling engagement with the lyrics, not just the music. I liked breaking down to a cappella in the 4th verse. The singers were expressive. (Incidentally, on a personal note, the female singer is my oldest daughter, Megan, who happened to give birth to Gavin William Russell, yesterday at 7 PM. That’s him to the left. God is good.) I was able to encourage the church to focus on the words through a few spoken phrases in between lines. I also liked the set behind the musicians. My wife, Julie, designed it to go with our current teaching series on Jeremiah, returning to the “old paths.”
Here’s what I think could have been better. We could have listened to each other more closely. We need to play less when a song is highly rhythmic in nature. Some of the singing was harsh and a tad out of tune. That’s often the temptation when singing an up tempo song. I could have done a better job playing in time. The mix could have been better, for sure.
Tomorrow, I’ll share a video of a spontaneous song I sang later on in the same meeting.