No Drums, Yes Holy Spirit

Worship was great today. Here’s a re-cap:

Set List for Chase Valley Church on July 27, 2008

  • Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
  • Everlasting God – Brenton Brown
  • Hungry – Kathryn Scott
  • Til I See You – Joel Houston, Jadwin Gillies
  • Jesus Paid it All – Alex Nifong

No Drums?

For a small church I’ve been pretty blessed to have 2 drummers and in 6 months this was our frist Sunday with no drummer. We went with acoustic guitar, bass and 4 vocalists. I was more than anxious about trying to pull this off. In the end, it was some of the best worship we’ve experienced since I’ve been here.


It was something different.

My personal strength is upbeat/high energy music. When we do songs that rock out they tend to be musically more cohesive, because as a leader I know how to do that and how to coach others to pull it off. It makes sense that we do a lot of high energy music; people are used to that and to some degree come expecting it.

Today we totally undermined expectations by doing something new. The result was a beautiful surprise. A church that never has drums might experience the same effect by adding a drummer or an electronic drummer.

We set the mood.

This week Nate reminded me how important the first 2 minutes are. Always starting the service the same way can get rote so today I shook things up with a low-key invocational prayer. It was different and connected people with the concept for the service. By starting low-key we essentially said, “There’s no drums today. That’s ok, we’re being intentional about being low-key.”


Never underestimate the power of the shaker.

People sang out more.

Vocalists can hide behind the music when they feel unsure of a part. I do it myself. With very little backing music today the vocal team stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park. They sang with more fervor and confidence than I’ve heard on a Sunday yet. The crowd likewise sang louder to “fill in” the hole in the sound left by the lack of percussion. This had such a tremendous effect, I’m tempted to plan a “Church of Christ style A Capella Sunday.”


Of course.

The Message.

Today’s message was on point! When I got up to do the response song I introed the song by talking about Jesus winning the victory for us. People started clapping and cheering. The Holy Spirit used Pastor Fred to stir something within our people today.

This post is part of Set List Sundays at


13 Responses to “No Drums, Yes Holy Spirit”

  1. 1 Fred McKinnon July 27, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for being #1 on Sunday Setlists! I love this one … especially how it pulled off without drums. That type of “shake up” never surprises me … people love it. People love stripping it down and just singing.

    Than ks for the recap … oh yeah, I was at the National Worship Leader’s Conference last week, and Kathryn Scott led “Hungry” … it was even more special having HER lead the song!

    For the Kingdom,

  2. 2 Paul J. July 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Always good to change things up. We’ll move from drummer on a kit, to percussionist on congas, to none at all. We also switch from synthesizers to acoustic grand every once in awhile…

  3. 3 Tyler July 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Change is usually a good thing if you ask me.

  4. 4 Rick July 27, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Nice. I love it when what seems like a deficit turns into a positive. Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit at work in times of need!

  5. 5 Stephen Barry July 27, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Sounds cool man. I think people really enjoy being able to hear themselves sing out … it’s a powerful sound.

  6. 6 Jim Drake July 27, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for the list.

    We have those 2-3 drummers and it has happened–even recently where they were all out of town. So–we made do and made the most of the day like you. Thanks for the reminder that this isn’t a cop out or settling–but just using a different approach to worship. sometimes a shake up is what is needed.

  7. 7 Peter Park July 28, 2008 at 8:04 am

    We typically have acoustic type worship at church. Our drummer is now one of our worship leaders so he ends up playing guitar. Our pastor occasionally fills in as a drummer.

  8. 8 Ryan July 28, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Billy – thanks for sharing this. We tried Marvelous Light at our church – I love that song – but it just didn’t seem to take. Everlasting God is great, though.

    Shakeups are good. We wouldn’t have “The Heart of Worship” if not for a shakeup šŸ™‚

  9. 9 Gary Durbin July 28, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Sometimes that fresh spark comes unexpectantly. We had a similar thing happen this week when my guitar string broke and I just held the mic. We did “Everlasting God” this week as well.

  10. 10 Dean Lusk July 28, 2008 at 4:19 pm


    Very good words! Oddly, I’ve begun to change things up a little bit. We started by going from a three-person vocal “support” ensemble to a single background vocalist. I love the feel of a single tenor or alto harmony. We’ve begun opening the service with more low-key songs on occasion, just like you’ve mentioned.

    This Sunday we’re going all-acoustic — four or five stools in the center of the stage, and our drummer will be playing his weird-but-cool hand drum. My wife will be doing the lone backup alto vocal. Possibly a harmonica in there, too. We’re going to start out with something a little out of character — “The Old Gospel Ship,” a la the Gaither Vocal Band (but with only acoustic instruments).

    I’m still selecting songs, actually. Really late. I think almost anything would work well in this type of setting.

  11. 11 Dean Lusk July 28, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    BTW, I said “oddly” because this Sunday we’re doing almost the exact thing you talk about in the post.

  12. 12 Alastair Vance July 29, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Nice post Billy. Sounds like you might do without the drums on purpose some time again!

  1. 1 FredMcKinnon.Com » Blog Archive » Sunday Setlists #1 - Join the Carnival Trackback on August 10, 2008 at 9:18 pm
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