“The Times, They Are A’ Changin”
It has been an exciting and busy season at Evanston Bible Fellowship. During the summer months, the city of Evanston quiets down a little bit. The Northwestern students take off to change the world, and many members of our church spend the summer months traveling and refueling for the upcoming academic year. For us as a creative team, it has been a productive season of growth, and more than a little change.
Several exciting things have been happening at EBF. To accommodate newfound growth, our church has moved to having two worship services on Sunday mornings – one at 9:00 AM, and the second at 10:30. The services are the same. The only reason for splitting into two is that we need the room! In order to be hospitable to the new folks who are coming to visit, and to give our old crowd some breathing room, we felt like God was calling us to add a second service. So we did. It has been amazing already, but has forced us to really tighten up our logistics. We have had to firm up new schedules. We have had to build new carts. We have had to streamline systems. Since we rent the beautiful Nichols Concert Hall each Sunday for worship, this change has caused an earlier start, a compressed soundcheck, and more than a few frayed nerves. Fortunately, our amazing teams of staff and volunteers have made the change amicably, and we are so excited to see what God is up to at EBF this year.
Another change we have made recently is to move away from using music stands for our Sunday morning worship team. We felt that the stands were causing too much disconnect from our congregation, so we just did away with them. Just like that. It has been amazing to already witness the growth the team is seeing, and to see the church responding positively to the new change. It certainly demands a bit more time from our volunteers on the worship team – more time practicing ahead of time, time spent memorizing our music, and additional time in rehearsal the week before – but it is reaping dividends. Not only are we more in tune with our congregation, we are more in tune with each other musically. We need each other (since we have no music to help us!) and it is helping us connect across the stage in new and exciting ways, challenging us to pursue excellence. Lastly, I think it is also allowing us, as a worship team, to worship more freely. Without constantly checking my stand to see if I am in the right spot, or staring at my order of worship to be careful not to miss anything, I personally feel more connected with God in worship. I feel the Spirit moving, leading and guiding us, and it is a refreshing and wonderful new outpouring of God’s grace.
We extend that grace to each other as well. Since we have axed the music stands, and have instituted two confidence monitors with the lyrics for reference, there are necessarily going to be more mistakes, more missed cues, and more memory slips than before. I am sure that these will fade away as time moves on and we get more comfortable with the set-up, but it is an important reminder to us as a worship team that yes, excellence matters and yes, transitions are essential, but – ultimately – it is the Lord jesus Christ who has mediated worship for us on the cross, and it is our job as lead worshippers to enjoy Him and help our church to do the same. It seems to really put things in the right perspective for us. I couldn’t be more thankful for the worship team, the A/V and media teams, and the set-up and tear-down teams that make what we do possible. Without them, none of this would be possible.
I firmly believe that God is up to something at Evanston Bible Fellowship, and I am honored He allows broken people like us to get on board and serve our church by providing music. What a good and powerful God we serve! All praise to Him, and Him alone.