Ministering to Sister Churches

We sang songs about the church today. I didn’t choose Dr. Bryson’s hymn “The Holy Church.” Though that usually would be my first choice. I didn’t choose it because Dr. Bryson was not in the service. He was ministering in another church with the Chamber Singers and the Hand Bell Ensemble from International Baptist College and Seminary. Twice each semester the college ensembles go to sister churches. Beth Christensen did a great job on the piano. But—for anybody paying attention—the service was palpably lower in energy. There were only about 30 people gone. But the college students add an energy and excitement to the services.

I mentioned to the church choir that I wasn’t sure if I should mention this to the congregation or not. If I say nothing my fear is that folks will think, “Wow. Something was ‘off’ in the service today. I wonder what is going on that I don’t know about?” But if I do mention something, my fear is that they will think, “Why is Dave mentioning this? Is there something going on that I don’t know about?” But Pastor Mike mentioned that the college was ministering in another church. So I didn’t have to worry about making the wrong call!

Worshiping with Family

I welcomed the congregation by using the first stanza of “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.” Then we sang it. I wonder how many people even noticed that? Then we sang the chorus of “The Family of God” several times. I led it twice. Then Pastor Mike said, “Let’s do it again.” So we sang it a third time.

Historical Church Music

Pastor Mike opened in prayer. And the choir sang Dr. Dwight Gustafson’s setting of “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy.” It is a lovely setting of that hymn. But I love that he alludes to an old style of church music that I teach in Music Appreciation class and Hymnology (both college classes). The setting is a modern interpretation of a chorale prelude. A famous chorale prelude that everyone has heard is “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Because I have been out of town, I wasn’t able to teach the choir as much as I would have liked about this historical music style. Oh, well. Next time.

After the choir, we sang the gospel song “A Glorious Church,” followed by “The Church’s One Foundation.” Then I told a truncated story of the hymnBlest Be the Tie that Binds.” Since our pastor is leaving in several weeks, this hymn story fit particularly well.

Musical Variety

Our musical service contained a modern gospel song, two heritage hymns, an American folk hymn, a School of Watts hymn set to an American folk tune, and a turn-of-the-last-century gospel song. Oh, and chorus from the late 1970s—one of Pastor Mike’s favorites. Pretty good musical variety this Sunday!


Pastor Mike is preaching his “final four.” That is, the final four messages as our senior pastor. So they are jam packed full. And he’s not mincing any words. When you know you’re leaving, you become more direct. Listen here.

The offertory was a ripping trumpet duet of “I Know Whom I Have Believed.” Luc and Kyria Teachout did a high school recital on Saturday evening. And this was one of the pieces Luc played with his teacher, Joe Pluth. It was exciting!


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