8 Reasons To Stop Attending Worship Conferences

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8 Reasons To Stop Attending Worship Conferences
  • stopIf envy is the first emotion you experience when encountering other worship leaders…you should stop attending worship conferences.
  • If contempt for the accomplishments of others causes you to publicly claim that their success must only have been possible through stylistic superficiality, musical adulteration or theological compromise…you should stop attending worship conferences.
  • If your post worship conference pattern is to imitate and implement everything you see without considering how or if it might fit in the culture or context of your own congregation…you should stop attending worship conferences.
  • If congregants dread your return home after a conference since it always means you are going to immediately change something…you should stop attending worship conferences.
  • If you are critical of your worship volunteers when they can’t imitate what you observed and experienced…you should stop attending worship conferences.
  • If you always return home disappointed in the place God has called you now and long for the place He will call you next…you should stop attending worship conferences.
  • If you question your calling because it seems like everyone there was younger, played guitar better, got more recognition, has a larger choir, has a better platform presence or has a more collaborative pastor…you should stop attending worship conferences.
  • If you are constantly looking to the left or right to see how your context measures up with the context of others instead of toward the God who called you…you should stop attending worship conferences.

If, however, you can attend worship conferences and filter the valuable insights through the worship language of your own uniquely positioned and distinctly designed congregation; If you implement what you observe out there only after determining how it might complement the gifts of those you already have in here; and if reevaluation instead of revolution and contentment instead of covetousness are your post-conference defaults; then by all means attend as many of those worship conferences as your budget and calendar will allow.

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6 Responses to “8 Reasons To Stop Attending Worship Conferences”

  • James Janzen Says:

    A quick note to Robert. You have raised a very important question. For many years , the fact that the church (big picture context as you use it – there are beautiful localized exceptions) does not understand the existence or importance of its voice, has been a great concern for me. It arises out of the “one another” admonitions by Paul in Ephesians 5:19-21 and Colossians 3:15-17. I have studied, written and talked about this extensively sensing in the words of Paul an urgency for members of the body of Christ to speak, teach and admonish one another with the use of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. The importance of your question is affirmed in observing people’s response to my teaching. It seems foreign, a new idea that we should sing to sing to one another! Of course we sing to God and we love to have worship groups sing to us but to one another? So in response to Robert’s I hope that the answer will be that many of us will pass on to our congregations Paul’s vision of a church with a voice that can teach, admonish and speak.

  • David Manner Says:

    Thanks for the helpful comments, Robert. I agree…it was Glorieta for me. What I learned and experienced frames much of who I am in ministry today.

  • Robert H Patterson Says:

    Great article and words we should all consider. I would now like to read the converse, 8 Reasons to Start Attending Worship Conferences! Back in the day, I looked forward to Music Week at Ridgcrest or the Kempke Music Conferences more for the networking with colleagues and musical experiences that cannot always be achieved within the local church context. I will never forget the sound of singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” with 3,000 church musicians. Many times I would stand among the music and just listen. It was my worship, my meditation, my mountain top experience that would motivate me to return to my local place if ministry ready to seek God’s will for that church, in that community, in that time!! It was not to go and find the latest and greatest techniques and come back and force them upon my congregation because that is the latest trend or it worked for a church ten times our size, so it will work for us.

    It is not the role of the worship leader (minister of music) to make each church a miniature Hillsongs or Prestonwood Baptist Dallas (whichever may be your model). Each church is unique unto itself snd the leader should evaluate the space, the place, the people and the community and in collaboration with the leadership of the church craft worship in such a way that speaks to that space, that place, that people and that community.

    For me, worship conferences are a personal journey, my time to experience worship (that I did not plan and administer) my time to seek God’s voice away from my community and daily responsibilities in order to reaffirm the direction and path of ministry in the setting God has placed me currently. I seek reading sessions to stay abrest of current composers in all styles that are applicable to my setting and those outliers that could be used occasionally to stretch the ability and ear of my congregation. I can then return to my community renewed and focused, ready for a new season of worship and ministry. Now, will I bring something back from the conference and implement it in my setting, maybe so, if it is applicable, but that is by no means the purpose for attending! I do not go looking for the next years worth of music and the latest tech trends to come back and force upon my people.

    I will say I miss those days of Music Week at Ridgecrest, the days of participation, music making on a level that cannot always be achieved in the local setting. Today we have become spectators at conferences instead of participants. In turn we go back to our churches and inflict the same model upon them. Where is the voice of the people? What has happened to our choirs (both in the worship setting and graded choirs teaching about music and worship). We have become so performance oriented by the select few, that we have lost a generation of vocal worshippers and have “gained” a generation of silent observers.

    The song says – Lift every voice and sing – but my question is – who is teaching the church about their voice and how to sing???

  • David Manner Says:

    Hey John, thanks for the comments. I think self evaluation is something we should all be doing more of. It helps us to get better at what we do and who we are and ensures that we aren’t just coasting. Evaluation is already occurring in the halls and parking lots anyway. So I think it is better to get ahead of it ourselves.

  • John Plant Says:

    Hi, challenging article. I find I don’t need a Worship Conference to find my mind wandering on to any of these negatives from time to time, I can do it without any help from a conference 😀. But i take every thought captive …. What does concern me is that I do self evaluate and wonder “is it me Lord” that’s stopping the flow, not leading well enough, being in the way rather than a facilitator. Why is our church not growing? I desire but to my knowledge have yet to see people getting saved, healed and delivered while we worship. Haven’t actually been on a worship conference for a number of years now. Maybe it’s time to make time to go.

  • Donna Patrick Says:

    Great perspective, and challenges us to re-think WHY we attend worship conferences. It’s about motives.

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