TOMLIN, NJ—According to congregants attending Grace Fellowship Church’s Sunday morning service earlier this week, worship leader Joe “Djembe” Johnson asked the congregation to “sing this chorus one more time” exactly 17 additional times while leading the congregation in “Lord, I Need You.”
His claim that the run-through of the chorus would be the final one turned out to be a complete lie, exasperated churchgoers claimed.
As the song wound down to what falsely appeared to be a final chorus, Johnson shouted, “Let’s sing that chorus one more time together, church!”, an exclamation he would go on to use again and again as the song continued for another 16 chorus repetitions. Johnson even cycled through several more bridges, each time declaring the bridge would be sung “one last time,” according to sources.
“I started packing up my Bible and getting ready to make a break for the parking lot when he said it was the final time we’d be singing the chorus together,” longtime church member Bill Weathers told reporters after the service. “But hoo boy, did he pull the wool over my eyes! It seemed like we were standing there repeating that chorus for eons!” Indeed, several congregants could be seen getting ready to leave the building, but were disappointed to find that the “final” chorus wasn’t so final after all.
Even the 12-piece worship band backing Johnson seemed confused, attempting to finish the song with a resolving chord and cymbal crash after “this last chorus.” But each time they attempted to “land the plane,” the worship leader would instruct the band and congregation to “sing it one more time,” further encouraging the group by crying out “let’s give Jesus our all on this last time through!”
“Djembe does this to us sometimes,” drummer Jacob Lively said. “At least he didn’t call an audible and go into a completely different song for a dramatic conclusion. That’s always a train wreck.”
At publishing time, sources had confirmed that Johnson finally finished the song after seventeen closing chorus repetitions and four bridges, only to have the church’s executive pastor say he had “one quick final announcement” over forty-eight times.