(Photos taken by Shelly Zipperle)

Here’s our set from this week:

Pre-Service: “Say Say” [Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill] – C
Call to Worship: Isaiah 40:25-31
“Everlasting God” [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley] – Bb
Welcome/Prayer/Announcements/Offering
Greeting Time
“God of Wonders” [Marc Byrd, Steve Hindalong] – Ab
“Indescribable” [Laura Story] – Ab
Communion: “Lamb of God” [original] – Ab
Message: “I Believe God Reveals” [Pastor Joe Hishmeh]
“All Creatures of Our God and King” [St. Francis of Assisi, William Henry Draper, David Crowder, and Brent Milligan] – D

My third week here in Topeka was a great weekend of worship, with an interesting twist: I was more hoarse than I have ever been in my life, aside from losing my voice completely. Strangely, I was able to control my pitch and volume without any trouble, but it sounded really rough on “Say Say.” For the rest of the set, it sounded a little gritty, but I think it was fine. It was a lot of work to control it, to be sure.

I typically have a higher tenor voice, but I have been trying to key things lower for the people in the congregation–specifically the men in our congregation. This week made me think seriously about that. I had already keyed the songs lower (aside from “Say Say”) on purpose, but if I hadn’t, I don’t think I would have been able to sing them at all. I came to a conclusion: if I cannot sing a song when I’m sick, it’s too high for most men to sing. I think that’s probably a fair assessment. Most guys have as much range as my hoarse voice, which basically has the range of an untrained voice. It will be extremely helpful to have that as a guide for my decisions on song keys and ranges going forward.

“God of Wonders” and “Indescribable” were keyed lower than I have ever had them before, and I thought it was very effective. It seemed like the people were singing more easily with the change (especially on “Indescribable,” which is usually through the roof in Bb or B). I think they could have come down even to G without negative effect. I was even more grateful that I had done that when my cold began looming over the weekend.

Also, this was the first week I have shared an original song with Fellowship, in “Lamb of God.” We used it during communion, as the deacons and elders were passing out the elements. For me, it was an especially sweet time of thinking on the cross and what our Messiah did for us to redeem us and rescue us. Pastors David Hinkle and Brian Tryhus did a great job setting up the time of communion, too, which made it that much more meaningful.

Pastor Joe shared about God’s revelation of Himself through creation, through the Word of God, and through Christ. Because of this, we responded to the message with “All Creatures of Our God and King” as arranged by David Crowder on his Illuminate album. I love this arrangement of this hymn, and it was really fitting for the message today. The guitar part at the intro was a little tricky (Crowder capos up to the 7th fret and place it with G shapes and tons of embellishment), but by the fourth service, I think I got it mostly right. I love some of the stuff that Crowder does on acoustic. It spices things up without going over the top.

All in all, it was a great weekend of worship together. We unveiled a pretty dramatic stage design for the I Believe series, which turned out great. Kip Kraisinger and Wyatt Johnston were the brains behind that one. The images in this blog are from the new set. We set out to link our series on essential doctrines of the Christian faith to the concept of “Legacy,” which is where the Tron theme comes in. All it took was some PVC pipe and some lighting, along with aircraft cable and fishing line to rig the pipe boxes. I’m pretty excited about how it turned out. In fact, I’m pretty excited about everything going on here at Fellowship right now. God is so good!

I hope you had a great week of worship wherever you were!

In the Son,

Bill

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Comments
  1. Terry Timm says:

    bill –

    i really appreciate the details of your worship gathering. thanks so much for sharing them.

    you have some good thoughts here on song keys. most worship recordings are keyed way too high for the typical worship leader and certainly most congregations.

    do the songs we choose to sing in worship to serve us or are we willing to first serve our congregations and help them connect with God through song trough singable keys? your “lessons in hoarsness” today helped clarify some things for me.

    stay connected…

    terry

    • Bill Horn says:

      terry –

      so true about worship recordings. i’m trying to keep learning and studying what is best for our people, like you mentioned. the temptation is always there to sing songs the way that we’ll benefit most, rather than our people. i would venture to say that’s a large part of the difference between entertaining our people and leading them towards worshiping God.

      bill

    • Matt Owens says:

      I wish there was a recorded WL out there who’d sing songs in the key of the average congregation. Chris Tomlin, usually down a third. David Crowder, down a whole step. Paul Baloche, sometimes OK as is but often down a step. Lincoln Brewster, down a whole step.

      What makes it hard, as I’ve been learning from working on electric guitar, is that you can lose a lot instrumentally when you drop a song too much. For instance, we worked on “Reaching for You” in G (down from A), but I just couldn’t work out the guitar in G (since that open A string rings through a lot) so I moved it back up, despite that it was too high for the congregation.

      Even more, when I have one of my female vocalists lead a song, I drop the key about a third to a fourth from where I sing it. (Most of the women in the congregation love it! But the men don’t know what to sing.)

      • Bill Horn says:

        That is very true. It really is a decision between leading for the lay worshiper to participate or for the lay person to be entertained by the sound of it. Granted, some crowds can keep up with some of the higher-keyed singers (like at Passion), but that demographic is not that of most churches.

  2. J.D. says:

    Bill, I like what you are saying. I’ve always thought it odd when a worship leader says, “But I sound better with the song in this key.” Really? You sound better?
    And the focus of worship is . . . you? Thanks for remember all of us who have a range from about C to C!!

  3. J.D. says:

    *Remembering

  4. HL says:

    Bill your band looks like they are from the Tron movie 🙂 Hope you are well and keeping warm! Next year you are going to Recreate!

    • Bill Horn says:

      We had a little fun creating the new stage design. It went with our “Legacy” concept for our “I Believe” series.

      I’m looking forward to joining you next year for Recreate. I wish I could have gone this year!

  5. Picking the most neutral key for the best participation is tough. I’ve never seen a worship leader really nail the right way to do this.

    Personally, I have always taken the direction of fit it to the lead vocalist as most people seem to find a way to fit. Besides, participating in our worship offering of music doesn’t exactly require us to sing along, there are other ways to participate if you don’t know or can’t sing the song (spoken as somebody who can’t even hack out Happy Birthday without offending the dog).

    • Bill Horn says:

      Thanks for your comment, Cory. I used to have the same thought about singing it in the lead vocalist’s comfort zone (my own comfort zone, usually), and that worked well with the college groups that I led. About 4 years ago when I started having to lead a cThe ladies can usually sing with a lot of the newer worship records, but the guys can’t keep up. Most guys also don’t know how to harmonize. On the flip guys can sing much more easily when the key is dropped, and ladies are much better at harmonizing if they need to because the key is too low. I think we do a disservice to a congregation if we make it so they are unable to sing if they want to. That being the case, I think we need to make it at least doable for everyone.

      That being said, there is definitely a balance between the comfortable key for the congregation and a good key for the band/team to lead it in. Some guitar parts just do not translate lower than a certain point (I know – it’s all our fault), and if you want to use that song leading from guitar, you’re stuck at that point. There are just so many things to take into account when we’re putting things together to help our people worship together!

      I appreciate your thoughts, brother!

      Bill

  6. […] horn's blog thoughts on life and the Lord « Set List, 02/05-02/06/11 Fellowship Bible Church Set List, 02/12 – 02/13/11 Fellowship Bible Church February 13, […]

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