That’s the question I ask myself every other year as I start planning for the next WorshipGod conference. And since WorshipGod11: The Gathering is on the calendar for Aug. 10-13, 2011, my answer to the question is obviously yes.
I did a post in January describing my thinking behind the conference. Basically, I want to address and adjust our tendency to think of meetings as separate compartments and pieces and move us towards discovering how we can tell the story of the gospel every time we gather. After all, that’s what Christians have been doing for a couple thousand years. There are reasons we should do some things and not do others. It’s not simply about what brings more people through the doors of the building. It’s about what we actually do and say when they’re there. It’s about the story we’re telling. And that story should be the good news of Jesus Christ – crucified, buried, and risen from the dead, to save us from God’s wrath and to redeem us for his glory and our eternal joy.
So, in an act of shameless self-promotion, here are twelve reasons why I think you (pastor, worship leader, musician, songwriter, techie) should come to WorshipGod11:
1. Biblical, practical, engaging preaching. Guys who love to preach God’s Word and serve local churches will be explaining why gathering together as God’s people matters. We’ll get to hear from Ray Ortlund, Jr., Bryan Chapell, Thabiti Anyabwile (pictured here), & Craig Cabaniss. And me. Here’s a clip of John Piper from WG2009.
2. Skilled church musicians who love God, his gospel, his Word, and his church. Everyone who leads at the conference may not be a household name (although Enfield and Sojourn Music should be), but that’s okay. They’re leading because, like you, they know what it is to serve in the church week in and week out, with volunteers who want to serve the church more faithfully. And they do it really well.
3. Live album. Friday night we’ll be recording back to back sessions of our new album, The Gathering. And you can be on it! The songs will be designed around a gospel-shaped liturgy. If you’re registered, you’ll receive MP3s of the songs 2 weeks in advance of the conference to learn them. Should be a rich time.
4. Lots of free stuff. in 2009 we gave away a midi keyboard, a $300 Sweetwater gift certificate, a copy of Sibelius, a guitar amp, some iPods, and a bunch of other stuff. Who knows what we’ll give away this year? Besides free, we also do cheap albums and books pretty well.
5. Like-minded worshipers. You’ll meet over 1500 people who are passionate about doing what you do and want to do it better for the glory of Jesus.
6. One responsibility: take it all in. Enjoy 3 whole days where you don’t have to arrange any of the songs, lead any of the rehearsals, practice any of the riffs, or show up early for any of the sessions. Of course, if you’re a conference junkie, you can come early to watch the rehearsals and stay up till 2AM hanging out.
7. Forty seminars and two pre-conference intensives. You get to pick four seminars, and can download the rest later for free. Grow in your musical chops, become a better leader, learn how to fight sin with worship, test out sound/band equipment, grow as a vocalist, understand creativity better, simplify your spiritual life, etc. The two 3 hour pre-conference intensives focus on playing the piano (I’m teaching that one) or rehearsing with Ken Boer and the conference choir. More info can be found here.
8. Theology, character, and skill. That’s what we focus on at each WorshipGod conference. Because all three matter.
9. There is a time to laugh (Eccl.3:4). And we make sure we find it at WorshipGod. We take worshiping the Savior very seriously. Ourselves, not so much. Here’s one example. And here’s another. And one more.
10. Spanish seminars and translations. So this one only really matters if you speak Spanish or know someone who does. The main sessions will be translated and we’ll have one seminar each session in Spanish as well as another that’s translated.
11. It’s cheap. Until April 1, students get in for $90, groups of 5+ are $120, and individuals are $150. That price includes lunch both days, a binder with all the outlines, 6 sessions, and 4 seminars. Did I mention the snacks and drinks during the day and after the evening sessions? And the free stuff? We’re practically paying you to come!
12. Encountering God. If you’ve attended a WorshipGod conference in the past, you know that it’s about much more than receiving solid teaching, singing great songs together, and growing in your skills. God never fails to change, inspire, convict, and encourage hearts as we behold his glory together (2 Cor. 3:18).
So there’s my pitch. If you’ve been to a WorshipGod conference in the past, feel free to leave a comment as to why someone should think about coming this year. And if you want more info, visit the WorshipGod11 website.