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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.