This morning, I had the great pleasure of singing at Faith Gospel Tabernacle in Brampton.
It's a pretty little white church, right by a pond and surrounded by long lawns and new housing developments. The church was started 22 years ago by Pastor John Williamson, who is still leads the parish. They are obviously doing well in the area. They have started a campaign to build a new building on those lawns to house the growing congregation. In a day when many churches are suffering from declining attendance, this is such encouraging news!
Sunday mornings have two services, and I sang at both this morning. Both services are exactly the same format, but they need two times to accommodate all the people. I arrived at 8:30am for a sound check, and we started at 9 sharp.
The service began with 35 or so minutes of praise and worship music with the band. Eight people playing and singing and just leading everyone in song. The music was great, and the spirit was wonderful. Then I sang my first song, Shout To The Lord. It's a new Sandy Patti track I bought in Nashville. (Well, new for me!) I sing it in her key, so I get to use the track with all the back-up vocals. And it's a great arrangement, going from the very low to the very high. People were singing and clapping along, so that was wonderful to see.
Next were some parish announcements. I always like hearing this, as it gives me insight into the workings of the parish and its people. This is clearly a dedicated community of Christians. At the later service, they gave attendance awards to the young people who have been attending youth group over the winter. It seems like such a small thing, but it's saying, "We value that you come out." It's just so importance to let teens know that their presence is respected in church!
The message was preached by Pastor Roland, who read and preached on the Palm Sunday readings in all four gospels. He ended with a great meditation on "the approaching Jesus" - the Jesus who walked into Jerusalem, who walks into our lives, and who, one day, will walk back into our world.
I ended the service with my second song, Upon This Rock, using Allison Durham Speer's track. Again, a good track for me as we have a similar vocal range. This song received great response! It felt especially appropriate given their new building campaign. "I will build my church upon this rock".
A few weeks ago, I called the church to see what they would like from me. I asked if there were any special readings or themes they would like reflected in the songs. The response was, "Sing what you like. Somehow it always seems to work out". And it did. What a great lesson about the workings of God!
When you bring your best and offer it to the Lord, somehow, it always seems to work out!