It’s been over a week, but I’m still enjoying the rich time we had at WorshipGod17 MidWest. The conference was called Human and Holy: Exploring Healthy Tensions in Our Gathered Worship. We looked at the inherent tensions that surface when the human encounters the Holy: orthodox and on fire, rootedness and relevance, structure and spontaneity, event and every day, already and not yet.
There are always a few things that stand out to me after a conference. Here’s this year’s list.
Life, Not Production
Because this year’s conference fell in the midst of a few other events (live recording, a trip to Mexico, our daughter’s wedding), it felt less like a “production” and more like just a part of our lives. We were sharing with 450 people what we always do: sing God’s praise together, listen to God’s word being preached, share meals, rehearse, make mistakes, pray together, laugh at ourselves, and marvel at the joy of being among those for whom Christ died. I realized that the more we make conferences like a production, the less it feels like what we return home to.
Giving Stuff Away
Giveaways are a fixture at WorshipGod conferences and this one was no exception. Giving books, CDs, and gear away reminds us of the gospel:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9).
But this year’s giveaways were kicked up a few notches due to the addition of Josh Scott, whom I met through a mutual friend. Josh heads up JHS pedals and has been involved in musical leadership in the Church for a number of years. Josh emailed some of his business contacts and he ended securing some pretty amazing stuff: amps, pedals, and more. Doug Gould from WorshipMD gave away mics and in-ear monitors, and we also gave away Keyscape software and a MIDI controller.
The “big giveaway” was a Fender Jazzmaster Pro electric guitar. People could submit their own name or nominate someone else at the conference to win the guitar, telling us why they deserved it in 50 words or less. There were a number of great entries, but the winner was nominated by his wife. She honored him for using his music not only to teach, but to share the gospel in schools, taverns, and restaurants. Right before they arrived at the conference, he described that guitar to his wife and said it was his “dream guitar.” She called herself the “dream killer” because she keeps track of their finances and is always the realist. God is full of surprises and always better than we think he is.
Tuesday, two days before the conference, we recorded a live album, Prayers of the Saints. We introduced three of those songs at the conference and they seemed to resonate with people. I can’t wait for you to hear them.
It was a joy to “introduce” Adam Wright and Caroline Cobb to the conference. I hadn’t spent a ton of time with either of them before the conference, but was very familiar with their music. Adam has been setting ESV Psalms verbatim to some great music, and Caroline is a mom and songwriter from Texas who has been writing songs that dig deep into the story of redemption. Both were a great add to the conference.
As always, the main sessions themselves were a highlight. Here’s a rundown of what took place, with links to songs and messages.
MAIN SESSION 1
Conference Band, Led by Bob & Devon Kauflin
Call to Worship: Psalm 67 (multilingual)
All Creatures of our God and King [CHART]
This is Our God
O Lord My Rock and My Redeemer [CHART]
My Redeemer’s Love
Scripture Reading: Rev. 22:1-5
When We See Your Face [CHART]
SERMON: Orthodox & On Fire • Rick Gamache (AUDIO)
Crown Him with Many Crowns
MAIN SESSION 2
Adam Wright • (you can purchase more Corner Room music on their website)
Psalm 127 [CHART]
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 [CHART]
Call to Worship: Psalm 97
Our Great God
The Power of the Cross + Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him
Now Why This Fear
Sing My Soul [CHART] + How Great Thou Art
SERMON: Structured & Spontaneous • Bob Kauflin (AUDIO)
MAIN SESSION 3
All the Stars
Only the Sick Need a Physician
The Passover Song
Brook Hills Music:
Only a Holy God
His Mercy is More
It is Well
SERMON: Rooted & Relevant • Shai Linne (AUDIO)
Jesus, Thank You
MAIN SESSION 4
Bilingual Band led by Bob Kauflin and Karl Sauter
Call to Worship: Revelation 7:9-10
Come Praise and Glorify / Venid Glorificad a Dios
Come Ye Sinners [CHART]
Scripture Reading (bilingual): Psalm 130
Grace and Peace / Gracia y Paz
Behold Our God / Contempla a Dios
SERMON: Event & Everyday • Matt Mason (AUDIO)
All I Have Is Christ / Mi Vida Es Cristo
MAIN SESSION 5
Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville (& friends) Band
Holy, Holy, Holy
He is Our God [CHART]
His Mercy is More
O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer [CHART]
SERMON: Already & Anticipating • C.J. Mahaney (AUDIO)
When We See Your Face [CHART]
I’m grateful to God for all he did at WorshipGod this year. But I’m already anticipating next year’s conference in Frisco, TX, July 25-28. Mark your calendar!
Thanks for the reflections, Bob. So, are you guys moving to a yearly worship conference rather than the biennial conference?
Considering moving it around the country each year, every other year coming back to Louisville.
I had an awesome time this year at WorshipGod. Are there recordings available for Our Rock and Our Redeemer and When We See Your Face? I would love to introduce those to our congregation and I don’t quite remember the melodies exactly.
Thanks, Thomas! No recordings yet, but we should be able to have some lead sheets in the not too distant future. I’ll include them here when we do.
Will these songs be on the new SG worship album?
These three will be:O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer; When I See Your Face; He is Our God. Thanks for asking!
Bob, thank you for this post. The new songs are great and I can’t wait to introduce them to my church. btw, I’m getting an error on the link for “When We See Your Face”.
This was the 5th WG for my pastor and I. We get so much out of it each time, and it’s a great for helping he (lead teaching pastor) and I (worship pastor) stay on the same page and sharpen our focus.
And Josh Scott was amazing!
Brandon, thanks for coming 5 times to WorshipGod! The link should work now. Thanks for the heads up. And I agree about Josh Scott!
Sounds like it was a great event! Nice stage design also =)