Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sunday Setlist - September 8th 2013 - Goodbyes, Tears, and Laughs.

I'll admit, this should probably be 3 or maybe even 4 separate posts, but I'd rather just get it all out there because all this happened on the same day.

This past Sunday was my last day on staff at Westwood Baptist Church.
When planning the Sunday morning service, I really wanted to take the focus off of me completely, but it was hard not to pick some of my favorite songs knowing it would be the last time I'd lead them with this group of worshipers.

Here's what we did, and why, along with some video clips. (Thanks to my mother in law, Karen, for the videos)

Special Music: Deep Down (Selah)- Kara Kinnaird, Heather Potts, and myself.
We had done this song together a few times over the past couple years. My life was threatened by at least 4 people if I didn't include it one of my last Sundays.

Days Of Elijah (Darlene Zschech)
I had never heard this song prior to joining Westwood in 2001. It was one of our favorites then and still gets everyone on their feet when we sing it. Such a powerful song that focuses on our returning Savior. I especially love the drum solo we always start with.

My Savior, My God (Aaron Shust)
I picked this one for two reasons..1.It is a solid worship song the church knows well that would be a little more mellow that the previous two songs. 2. Because of the first line of the verse. "I am not skilled to understand what God has willed what God has planned. I only know at His right hand stand one who is my Savior." I teared up for the first time that morning singing that line. Trusting in Him as my family makes this transition.

Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship
As I looked over the announcements to be made, I purposefully skipped mentioning my ordination or farewell fellowship to take place that night. It just felt a little self serving to say anything about it. I was tempted to say "There's some kind of fellowship tonight. I heard rumor that people like cheesecake." But I avoided that temptation and didn't say anything.

One thing that I did out of the ordinary is I paused to take some pics of everyone. I even went as far as to say "Bear with me while I do this. But then again, if you don't like it, what are you going to do? fire me?"
I was not expecting my hands to begin shaking as I took the pics. They started shaking because the realization that this is the last time I'll see this view hit me like a ton of bricks. So I apologize that these pics are so blurry.

Power In His Blood Medley (HYMNS)
This is just an arrangement of hymns that I put together years ago. I love hearing the Westwood musicians jam on this. I wouldn't generally describe them as southern, but they know how to groove on this when asked. Lots of fun and a perfect song of celebration while coming out of a fellowship time.

10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman)
Love this song. Picked it because of all the reasons I have to Praise God.

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special: Saved (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)  - Solo by Kara Kinnaird
As soon as knew when my last Sunday at Westwood would be, I asked Kara to sing this song. It's one of my absolute favorites and I love to hear her sing it.

Your Name (Baloche)

Message: Bro. Steve

Invitation: I Surrender All (HYMN)
Closing Chorus: Sing To The King  (Billy Foote)

It was a special day to all, as evidenced by this picture of The Lovely Kristi and Joseph hugging. THIS IS A MIRACLE YA'LL.

That service was very powerful to me. I was encouraged. I was spiritually fed. I was led in worship by the musicians, the choir, the praise team, and the congregation. I am SO thankful for every day I was allowed to serve this church family.

Now on to Sunday night...
Sunday night I was ordained into full time ministry.
I thought it might be emotional because I was leaving but the emotion I felt was also fueled by the seriousness of the service and...
knowing that all these people were praying for me, praying with me, supporting me,
knowing that God had clearly let me know His will and that I was following it,
knowing that my Dad would have been bursting with pride if He had been there,
It was all very moving.

I'll admit... I cried like a baby.
But tried to hide it as I looked towards the floor in prayer most of the time.
(Note To Self: The next time you participate in an ordination service make sure the candidate has tissues nearby in case he becomes a teary/snotty mess.)

I will never forget some of the things the men said to me as they prayed with me.

(I guess I could have laid down on the step and looked a little more like Jabba The Hut. {sigh} Oh well, I guess I'll keep my weight comments for another blog entry.)

I will also never forget the words that my "best good friend" Joseph shared with me as he challenged me during the charge to the candidate.

Not only did he encourage me to be myself and not compare myself to other worship leaders, but he also ended by sort of singing and dancing the song "Brother Friend" including the part where you say "you're my beginning and my end" and point to your butt.
It was precious.
Sorry, no video is available.

The day ended with a farewell fellowship. We were given lots of encouraging words and hugs. We were also given a ton of cards and unexpected gifts. It was a fun time with lots of laughs. But it was also very special for me and my family.

One of my favorite ladies at WBC, Mrs. Elaine Fuller, asked me if I would accept this rose. I'd be a fool not to. I'm definitely going to miss her, Mrs. Olive, Mrs. Maxine, and many others who have been special to me over the years.

As we left there that evening, I walked into the main office, removed my church keys from my key ring, and placed them in my empty office mailbox for the office staff to find the next morning. We walked out of the office with no one else around.
We climbed into the car and started to leave. Instead of just pulling out onto the road, I took a right turn, taking us all the way around the building one last time. The boys asked me what was wrong.
I was crying.
Kristi was crying.
We were holding hands and I drove.
I explained to the boys we were just thinking about the past. This church ministered to us when Ethan was born, when Gavin was born, when Kristi's Grandfather passed away, when my father and grandmother passed away, and every other day over the past almost 13 years that we've been members.
I explained to them how excited I am about our future and about what God is doing with our family.

By the time I was done talking we were almost out on the highway.
I think that's when Kristi said something like...
Can you believe that idiot (Joseph) ended his talk with "Brother Friend?!?"
It was the perfect way to stop the tears and starts the laughs.

This post is part of the blog carnival at You can go here to see what other churches are doing in their services around the world.


  1. Mariann Jones StrozierSeptember 11, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Thanks a lot! I'm now sitting here crying like a baby. Those pics you took of them did it. We were so loved by those wonderful people of Westwood. Yes, we've been loved by Salem and now by Meadow Park, but you really will never forget the first time you are loved like that. It will always be a very special memory for us. And that space! I still love that worship center and the platform remodel! We've been in two more orange worship centers since! Boy does God have a sense of humor! Many blessings to you guys in the new work God has for you to do!

  2. What a sweet send-off they gave you! You were obviously loved well.

  3. Thanks Mariann. It was a very hard thing to do. I was surprised not only at how emotional I got, but also at the outpouring of love we felt from the whole church. Even people that I didn't think liked me whole lot had an encouraging word. I'll never forget it.

  4. "Loved well" ?... maybe. They were probably just more afraid of what the new guy might bring to the table. =)
    Of course I'm kidding. I was blown away by the way the entire church family responded.