I chatted with Clayton Brooks, The Oaks Fellowship?s worship pastor, about the song selection and special elements from each song in their Easter set list. Take a look and see what you can?learn for your song selections this Easter.
Clayton has a good friend who?s a worship leader at Covenant Church in Carrollton, Texas. They recorded a version of Israel Houghton, David Binion, and Josh Dufrene?s song, “Risen”, back in 2014, and they gave Clayton and his team the backing tracks from their album.
One of the things Clayton loves about Israel Houghton?s music is his?ability to blend gospel styles and Hillsong styles to bridge the gap between two different streams of worship in the church. As the Oaks has been growing, they?ve also seen an influx in diversity. In fact, they are probably evenly split between Hispanic, white, and black attendees at the Oaks. So they?re constantly looking for?ways to bring more diversity to the stage?both in people involved and song selections.
For them, doing songs like “Risen” is?important. And anytime they incorporate a gospel song into their worship set, they get great feedback from their people.
This I Believe (The Creed)
One of the big parts of the vision at The Oaks Fellowship is to reach the whole family. So having a kid come up and sing this worship song tied in well with what they seek?to accomplish.
They normally focus on stories of life change in their church?especially in services like Easter. They like having testimonies as part of their service because they?ve seen the power of them and what they can mean to people who are attending.
But they broke their rule that Easter and focused more on the vision of their church to see families and generations growing together. To put kids on the stage and encourage them to worship the way they seen the grown-ups worship was powerful.
The church responded well to seeing the boy, Evan, up on stage leading. Even though he had his hands raised like someone obviously told him to do it (which they did), there was something sweet about it. It showed a certain childlike faith that people really responded to.
?This I Believe? was the perfect song for this type of moment, because it is such a powerful statement of faith. And the video they included with it reinforced the idea that what we believe is not just something we experience on Sunday mornings or during Easter. Rather, it?s something that influences every part of our lives and our families.
Forever became the Easter song a couple of years ago. So it makes sense that the team at The Oaks Fellowship would make it part of their services. It?s well-know, easy to sing, and anthemic, with the perfect subject matter for Easter.
Also, Clayton is always looking for new ways to get other voices to lead. The goal, of course, isn?t to make it a variety show or to feel disjointed. But it?s already clear that he?s the worship leader since he dominates the transition moments. Those other voices leading help the service not feel like it?s all about him.
Seas of Crimson
If you watch the video of their service, you?ll see there was no offering moment during the Easter service. That?s deceptive, because there was. And they used this ?Seas of Crimson? song as a transitional moment between the offering and setting up the next special.
At The Oaks, they prefer not to do a special during the offering, because that?s when people are often the most distracted. If their special is meant to set up the message, they want people fully engaged in what?s going on. So they chose this song.
They had performed this song during the previous Easter, and?they decided to reprise it for this moment.
Your Grace Finds Me
While they didn?t technically ask Matt Redman for permission, they figured he wouldn?t mind if they replaced the word ?grace? with ?love?. Doing that made it the perfect tie-in with their Easter packaging.
They combined this song with two videos before it to lead people through a logical thought progression. The first video was about understanding God?s unconditional love. That was a big part of the conversation on Easter, and they wanted to be explicit about their presentation of this concept. So they wrote a script and brought in a guy to narrate for the video. The idea for it came out of some creative sessions and prayer times.
The second video, though, was showing what it?s like as a parent, loving a newborn baby. The baby, once it?s born, has done absolutely nothing to earn the parent?s love. But still, instantly, the parent is unconditionally in love with that baby.
They wanted that thought to lead into Matt Redman?s ?Your Grace/Love Finds Me? and show how God loves us like His children, with unconditional love that we?ve done nothing to earn.
Finally, they ended the whole worship set with a reprise of ?Risen?. They started low on the chorus during the altar call, and then started the song over to end the service.