This weekend marks our fourth Verses - night of worship. Awhile back, I explained "why" we're doing this service during 2015 and promised I'd get a little more specific/practical.
I try to plan a service that's a solid hour. However, this is fairly unpredictable since we tend to stretch and linger in the songs more than we would on a normal Sunday service (due to time.) I used to lead in this more free-flowing/lingering worship vibe a long time ago, but it's been awhile so I'm gradually re-earning how to do that. For us, an hour service equals about 10 songs and four to five pretty long scripture readings.
As for song selection, I have a few guiding thoughts:
- It's gotta' be Gospel. I have to make sure that a portion of our songs and scripture paint very clear pictures of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Some nights are more Gospel drenched than others, but I try to make sure it's a big part of our singing.
- New stuff. This is a big deal for me - I want Verses to feature new songs. It's a great outlet to try more new material than I would during our Sunday worship. I go back to my favorites list and try to find new songs that will work well in that Verses dynamic.
- Stuff they can sing. This is always the struggle, isn't it. Trying to put a lot of new stuff into a set and yet still provide songs people can sing. This is made a bit more difficult by the fact that the worship night is a community event, so it's not necessarily Bethel-specific. Makes it hard to know what songs people like.
The last challenge is always the musicians. I enjoy bringing in the "best of the best" - musician friends who can ensure a consistent quality level, but 10 songs is a lot of material for four or five musicians to learn month to month. So far, the best mix has been to use Bethel musicians in key parts - drums, keys, bass so that the structure of the songs is solid and then invite guests to play in more texture/fill positions.
We still need to find a way to build a more consistent crowd. I'm looking forward to seeing who God brings.