Before we get too far away from WorshipGod UK, I wanted to share a few thoughts on our time together in Bath.
About 300 folks came from 15 nations and 135 churches for 2 1/2 days of fellowship, singing, prayer, teaching, seminars, laughter, starting and renewing friendships, and having our eyes opened wider to the glories of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There were a number of things about our time together that made me very grateful.
1. I’m grateful that Sovereign Grace Music partners with local churches to serve local churches.
The driving force behind WorshipGod is Nathan Smith and the church he pastors, Grace Church Bristol. To borrow a phrase I learned in Bath, they’re the “dog’s body” of the event (ask a Brit). The conference wouldn’t have taken place apart from their planning and participation. But our goal wasn’t just to put on a great conference. On the last day I told the group someone had said, “The conference has been good, but it’s made me want to be at my home church even more.” Those are sweet words and reflect our hope for every conference we host. As one individual commented on their evaluation form, “The combination of rich theology, engaged worship, and wonderful fellowship was a great blessing. I found myself in church on the following Sunday, singing with more joy and delight as we praised God as a result of the conference.” Amen.
2. I’m grateful for the increasing number of gospel partners we have in the UK.
We were blessed to have Mike Reeves, Tim Chester, Dave Gobbett, Ben Shaw, and Matt Searles serve us through teaching main sessions or seminars. Phil Short, from Christ Church Mayfair, spontaneously joined Patrick Anderson for his electric guitar seminar. In addition, almost 70 pastors attended the pastors day on Thursday and resonated with our passion for building and serving gospel-centered, theologically-informed, community-impacting churches.
3. I’m grateful for lesser known songwriters God is raising up to serve the church.
At the start of four of the sessions, I asked different UK songwriters to share two of their songs. Matt Richley, Michael Morrow, Ben Slee, and Rob Spink all participated. Others I appreciate but who weren’t featured include Matt Searles, Matt Giles, Philip Percival, and the folks from Resound Worship. There are many more and I’m looking forward to knowing them better in the days to come.
4. I’m grateful that “worship” is ultimately about the gospel and God’s Word, not music.
While music was certainly featured at the WorshipGod conference, it wasn’t the main point. Songs and music that aren’t governed by God’s Word and aimed at helping people glory in the gospel will tend to encourage shallow thinking, emotional immaturity, and divisiveness rooted in musical preferences. That’s why we called the conference “Gathering Around the Gospel” and not “Gathering around the Music.” That focus enabled us to serve not only musicians, but pastors, service leaders, songwriters, and tech personnel, reminding them of the reason we do what we do.
Please be praying about future plans for the UK. We’re excited to see what God may have in store.
If you’re interested, below is the list and links of the songs we sang at the conference, as well as links to the main messages.
Main Session 2:
Bob Kauflin & Grace Church Bristol Band
All Creatures of Our God and King
Shine into Our Night
Now Why This Fear
He Who Is Mighty
Jesus Paid It All
Gathering Around the Word – Kevin DeYoung
Speak O Lord