Our church, FBCH, started a new church plant which opened on Easter Sunday this year and chose the name Redeemer Church. They are currently meeting in a middle school gymnasium off of I-64 and Highway DD. Yesterday, Lisa and I attended service there for the first time. You may be asking "Why would they drive all that way to go to a service?" That's a good question with an interesting answer.
Two weeks ago I was approached by the pastor at Redeemer and asked if I would be willing to lead the music portion of their service. Evidently, the man that had been leading was moving and the church was going to be without a music person in a very short amount of time. I talked it over with Lisa and we prayed about it and told them I would do it. At the moment I have agreed to lead the music through the summer (August), with the agreement that we will re-evaluate the situation toward the end of that time and determine if we might do it longer.
So, here we were attending a new church for the first time and I was trying to prepare to lead the music. When we arrived there was still a bunch of unloading to do. The church is entirely portable and packs into these 6 foot high containers on wheels that get packed onto a cargo truck. We tried tohelp where we could but quickly realized that everyone has a very specific thing that they are doing during this time. It became obvious that the practice time I had set for 8:45am was not going to be possible. At around 9:15 I met the pianist (never played in church before that day) and her husband (played every once in a while) and we started working through the songs I had chosen. The other guitarist joined in when he got there and we attempted to rehearse.
It wasn't until about 9:50 that the stage was setup and ready for us to do a sound check. We ran through a quick mic/input check and met behind the stage to pray with the pastor. Nothing like being basically a first time visitor to a church that is months old and having to take the stage without getting to practice on it and get a feel for the acoustics of the room (did I mention it's a gym?). I was a bit nervous.
God in His Faithfulness and Mercy allowed the service to go relatively smoothly and I felt like the members knew most of the songs I had picked (one was definitely brand new to them). Towards the end of the music time I could actually hear them singing along with me which was nice. After the sermon we played "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) during Communion (which they have every week).
Overall, I was pleased with the way things went and I am looking forward to next week already. The people we met were very friendly and I enjoyed the sermon. We need to try and set up a time to practice outside of Sunday morning, but I don't know if that will happen or not this week. It's hard to pick out songs when you don't have any idea what the members know, but I am trying to pick some fairly standard praise songs, while mixing in a newer one every week. It will be nice to get to a point where I know they know certain songs (same goes for the instrumentalists).
It's nice to be able to serve in this way and it is awesome how God just allowed the opportunity for me while providing the solution for a new church's need. While we will miss our friends in our Sunday School class on Sunday morning but we plan on continuing to do the events with them and meet them for lunch after church.
I loko forward to seeing what God has planned for us next week.