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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Sunday Morning Service

  • reviewed by LaTonya Taylor Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Nov
Sunday Morning Service
Sounds like … Pace's trademark R&B-influenced, Sunday-focused praise and worship—similar to Byron Cage, Alvin Slaughter, and Israel Houghton—executed with his customary excellenceAt a glance … this album presents a series of songs appropriate for each juncture in a traditional 11 o'clock worship serviceTrack ListingEnter InWe've Come to Praise HimOur God ReignsLord I Lift Your Name on HighHigh and Lifted UpHigh and Lifted Up (Reprise)You Are Everything to MeHoly Are You LordI WillOffering IntroductionRunning OverKing of GloryCommunion IntroductionPrecious Is the BloodNothing but the BloodInvitation IntroductionDown at the AltarBenediction

Sunday Morning Service is the third in the "Joe Pace Presents" series, which includes 2001's Let There Be Praise and 2002's Shake the Foundation. Recorded live at Kentucky's Consolidated Baptist Church, this album includes music for a complete service, from call to worship to recessional. The enhanced CD also includes chord charts for two songs and a video that can be projected on screens for "High and Lifted Up."

With Sunday Morning Service, Pace negotiates a delicate balance between familiar and fresh in two ways. First, songs include traditional elements in a nontraditional form. Second, the choruses are simple enough that a first-time listener can catch on within a chorus or two. These elements are often the difference between a congregation that stands and participates with little prodding, and one that sits and waits for the "All-Star Worship Squad" to finish performing so the service can start or move along.

For example, check out "Our God Reigns." The song starts with a simple, high-energy chorus and modulates several times, allowing the congregation to participate with a rising celebratory intensity while singing the words they've just learned. The bridge includes elements of the traditional "I Don't Know What You've Come to Do." With songs like this, the exciting effect is that the art of congregational singing is revived in a fresh way.

Occasional reprises could easily have been incorporated into the main songs, and the occasional spoken word interludes don't add or subtract much from the album. Still, almost every song is a highlight—and it's hard to listen without singing along with the praise team and the excellent band. (I failed.) Potential praise-and-worship favorites include the punchy "We've Come to Praise Him;" "High and Lifted Up;" the retro funk-infused "I Will," and "Running Over." Songs that choirs will enjoy include "You Are Everything to Me," which features a smooth lead by Desmond Pringle, and "King of Glory."