Documenting Church Life, Musically.


A few weekends ago, Church at Charlotte hosted a baby dedication service that was a new way for families to celebrate their little ones and dedicate them to the Lord in the company of friends and family as well as other parents. This seemed to be a more purposeful way to dedicate the children instead of having it during a Sunday service where it is only a part of what’s going on during a busy service. So this was a way to honor the families as well as give them time to pray for the parents and the children and it gave the parents the opportunity to share some about their own dedication to bring up the child in the way of the Lord.

In many ways, music can help document what is going on in the life of a church. If you listen to a church’s original music, you should have a feel for what season they are in or what particular theme is stirring in the hearts of members as captured by a songwriter. We wanted to help remember this moment in time by having a song played during the service specifically about child dedication.

Which was a bit of a problem. At first.

Maybe I’m just unaware, but there aren’t too many child dedication songs out there. There certainly are some, but they were not stylistically fitting with our church and what we wanted to do. However, Kevin (Worship Pastor at CAC) and I came up with a solution. Find a hymn text, and match it to a hymn tune that people recognize, thereby abiding by the classic rules of hymnody.

So we found a hymn text called “This Child We Dedicate to Thee.” It happens to be 8.8.8.8. which is fairly common. We then chose the tune from “Behold the Throne of God Above” which is a song that our church knows well. We did two stanzas from “This Child” in the lower melody, and then went back to the first verse and went to the higher melody for some dynamic build. It didn’t need to be long, as its only about a minute and a half. But it served as a musical prayer and aided in documenting a piece of the church’s worship life.

This is a neat way to give the church something tangible to help remember the event. And it doesn’t have to be perfectly produced and sound just as good as the Ray LaMontagne album that comes out in May (stoked). The purpose is to document, not impress people. Quality should be as good as you can possibly make it and competing with culture is always a losing battle if that’s the motivation.

The church should always be a place of artistic expression. My challenge to you, and myself, is to seek out ways to document God’s story as we play our part and as it unfolds in our communities with any and all artistic expression and even in ways that seem a bit different or uncommon. Try something. Mix things up. Create. Fail, even.

I thought I’d share the music and the video here. Feel free to use our arrangement if it would serve your ministry well.

Grace and peace,

SHF

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