Off to NWLC15 tomorrow
I've probably attended 10 or more worship arts conferences since I began leading worship regularly over 15 years ago. For worship leaders, gatherings like these are as valuable as any professional conference is for professionals in any field. The content is what you would expect--worship leaders teaching other worship leaders how to lead worship better. Every time I go to one of these conferences, there is so much content to take in over the space of a few days that it is truly overwhelming. But my goal is pretty much always the same: listen for the one or two really important things that God wants me to hear. If I can come away with even one or two specific things I can apply to my ministry (or to my life), mission accomplished. The rest is gravy.
But there is one way in which a worship leader conference differs from some professional conferences: we finally have that opportunity to participate in corporate worship without being the one responsible for leading it. If you're a relatively serious Christ-follower, there's a good chance you've been to Christian conferences where there were worship times, and you've probably experienced a kind of corporate worship with a larger group of worshipers, with a more dramatic atmosphere and environment, possibly with better quality worship musicians and leaders (you may have even thought, "Why can't it be this way at my church?")--but when you put a couple of thousand worship leaders and musicians and technical team members and pastors in a large corporate worship setting, you have a whole bunch of folks who, in many cases, have not had the opportunity to worship corporately without being responsible to make sure everything works, without being the leader on stage, or without having to remember chords or lyrics--worship leaders love to worship together, and when they do, there is virtually no "warm-up period" required. They are engaged almost immediately, and although we truly love what we do and consider it a privilege to serve the church in the ways we do, we cherish those opportunities when we get to worship without anything else on our radar screens.
At the National Worship Leader Conference in Leawood, Kansas, beginning tomorrow, we will worship. We will begin the conference with worship; there will be a worship time at lunch; there will be worship concerts all three evenings, because Not only do we need to learn more about leading worship, or running sound, or running media, or setting lights--we need to worship.
This year, the worship concerts are open to the public--tickets are $10 for any single night, or $15 for all three. For details, visit the NWLC15/Kansas page.
I'm grateful to have the opportunity to attend this conference again this year, and I'm especially grateful that three of my team members will be there with me.