Having just returned from the National Worship Leader Worship in Leawood, KS., I am going to collect some of my thoughts and share them with you here. If you attended or plan to attend one of the other NWLC gatherings around the country this year, share your experiences in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
The folks at Worship Leader Magazine never fail to put on a first-rate conference. Even though this was my 5th consecutive conference, I still find new and interesting workshops that help equip me for ministry. I’m blown away at how many of the speakers and clinicians spoke directly into what’s happening in my life and ministry. For example, my church is going through a lead pastor transition so the first workshop I put on my schedule focused on the relationship between the lead pastor and worship leader. My take-aways from that workshop were many and I feel ready to put my best foot forward when I meet our new pastor.
I continually find the conference in touch with what’s happening in local church ministry. For example, I’ve written a couple of posts here about a pressure that I believe exists to take things to the “next level.” (Check out Down To The Next Level – Part 1 and Part 2) People from your church attend a worship concert on Friday night, complete with all the lights, haze, projectors, and sound system and then want you to produce the same experience on Sunday morning! Let me be clear – I am all for the worship concert. It’s a good thing and I love to go them. Yet, it’s clear they’ve affected the way we do modern church. In fact, so much so, that this was addressed at NWLC 13 by several general session speakers and clinicians. And just yesterday I came across a tweet from @weareworship sharing an article from Paul Baloche describing this very issue as a “challenge facing us all.”
Author Ian Morgan Cron offered a workshop called “You Are What You Eat” – How a modern, non-liturgical church can unleash the trans-formative power of the Lord’s Supper in weekly worship. He used this video to get the conversation started:
I loved his definition of what a worship leader does. Have you been tempted to (as Ian put it) grab God and bring Him down so everyone in this space can have a seismic experience? (Me: busted!) Do you resonate with his observation that we (the church) have gotten into a situation where we have to keep amping it up?
Pastor Steve Berger spoke to us passionately at one of our general sessions about the “Spirit” part of worshiping in Spirit and truth from John 4. One main theme in his message was that worshiping in the Spirit is a supernatural thing. In Rev. 1:10 John was in the Spirit and heard/saw/experienced supernatural things. Pastor Berger cautioned us that when we try to create the supernatural on our own (through effects, lighting, etc.) we diminish the real supernatural in our midst. He said, “Let’s not substitute natural things for our supernatural God.”
I’ll stop here for now and share more at a later time. I really would love to hear from you whether you attended NWLC 13 or not. Please share your thoughts below. Thanks! -Pat