Tonight saw another notch on my “leading evening services” belt and overall I felt it went well. It was an informal service and the congregants I spoke to afterwards seemed to appreciate the spaces left for reflection.
I was also responsible for the music and one lesson I was reminded of what how important it is to remember to include some songs that the congregation are familiar with. My first set were all ones I know well but it felt like hard work; it is hard to judge how much you are leading worship and how much you are making people sing songs they find difficult and not particularly to their taste. I had another song at the end of the service which, although used more often at St Clement’s, is still I often experience to be in the “difficult to lead solo” camp so I seized on the preacher’s mention of “What A Friend We Have in Jesus” as a last minute substitute: jaunty and perhaps a bit “Sunday School” but the kind of tune everyone could sing along to heartily without struggling to follow my version of the melody!
Being open to last minute changes of plans and helping the sense of coherent flow by being able to rattle off the preacher’s five points at the end of the sermon (the price, privilege, pursuit, pain and perfection of friendship with God… those are now embedded in my mind) are also lessons I could draw from tonight but the main note to self is one I have a feeling I may also have scribbled before; stick mainly to well-known songs especially if you don’t have a strong band (or just solo bass) to help carry the music.