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Leading Worship From (Almost) Solo Bass


I was called on to lead the worship at church this morning at quite short notice and it was one of those mornings when the team was quite beleaguered (my bass as the only melodic, harmonic instrument): a double challenge.

I played my six string bass, where I am gradually getting used to the DGCFBbEb tuning. The things I found that helped get over the hurdles were:

  • Picking songs I am very confident on (the less I have to think about words and music, the more attention I can devote to listening and leading)
  • Picking songs the congregation are also confident on, which they could probably sing without any accompaniment
  • Turning up loud enough that nobody (including myself) is struggling to hear the musical foundations

I certainly didn’t get it all right but the songs that fitted the above criteria were the ones that flowed best. Before next time, I need to expand my repertoire and also work on teaching songs well enough (and drawing on ones that are easy enough) that my full “choir” (ie. everybody in the room) participate rather than being carried along.

There was a highlight. One of the songs we did was I’m Trading My Sorrows. When we started using that song, I remember people struggling because the timing and phrasing in the second verse is complex and very different to the first verse. Today, although we haven’t sung it for a long time, I didn’t hear a single person singing in the pauses. What once seemed difficult we have learnt and we have learnt together.

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