Strings in the air

It Worked for Us

More than 200 congregants played and sang "Amazing Grace" and other popular Christian music during worship on Feb. 26 at Rock Spring United Methodist Church in Georgia.

The "Strings in the Spring" concert was part of the 9 a.m. contemporary worship service at Rock Spring. The Rev. John Brantley, pastor, played his guitar. Also among the 52 musicians were students who take music lessons at the church on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The name "Strings in the Spring" emerged because the multi-purpose room is built over a spring, said Brantley.

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As they began discussing creative ideas for worship, Brantley and praise team leader Chris Fowler thought that having a "100-Guitar Sunday" would be a great idea and would engage people who played the instruments. Although they fell somewhat short of their goal, the 52 string instruments (guitars, banjos, mandolins, basses and ukuleles) provided beautiful music. "Some guitars were tuned to certain chords so that anyone could play," said Brantley. "All they had to do is pick up the guitar and play."

The musicians received the music in advance to download. They practiced on their own and came prepared to play collectively. Seated in a semi-circle with other worshippers, they provided "a joyful noise with the congregation," said Brantley.

Brantley loves to play the guitar. "The key is to plant the seeds of creative ministry, pray for God to open hearts and opportunities, and be willing to repeat the process each week," he said.

"It Worked for Us" is written by Christine Kumar, a freelance writer and administrator, Baltimore Metropolitan District, Baltimore-Washington Conference.