It’s been three long years since we hosted our last WorshipGod conference. The theme in 2019 was “The Glorious Christ,” and the night before the conference began we recorded a live album, also called The Glorious Christ. Both the conference and the recording explored the riches of the Savior who came to bear the weight of our sins and is now reigning in heaven until he returns for his bride. It was a fantastic time!
But that was then. And we’re more than ready for this year’s conference, Unchanging. So much has happened in the past three years to remind us of our frailty, the inconstancy of our surroundings, and our inability to control the direction of our lives. Lifelong patterns and practices have been uprooted, rearranged, or consigned to the scrap heap. It’s hard to say what “normal” looks and feels like anymore.
But in the midst of all the chaos and confusion, there is a God who remains ever constant and whose purposes remain unchanged:
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:1–2, ESV)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, ESV)
At WorshipGod22 this year we’ll be taking extended time to sing to, pray to, hear from, celebrate, fellowship around, and glory in the unchanging God who has graciously revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. We’ll be spending time with like-minded musicians, leaders, church members, songwriters, tech personnel, and pastors to be equipped and encouraged and to encounter the living God together.
I think that’s reason enough to be there, but just in case you’re wavering, here are 12 reasons I think you should consider coming!
1. Theology, Heart, and Skill
Since it started in 2004, WorshipGod conferences have focused on three things related to our gatherings: why God wants us to gather (theology), who we’re meant to be (heart), and how we can serve God’s people more effectively (skill). Some conferences focus on rich doctrine. Others excel at inspiring devotion. Still others help us grow in areas like musicianship, leadership, and communication. At WorshipGod, you get all three.
2. We’re A Lot Like Your Church
I sometimes refer to WorshipGod as the “anti-conference conference.” Of course, conferences can be really helpful. Benefits include a wide variety of resources, an awareness that God is doing much more than what you see in your local church, exposure to people who are gifted in their field, and time away with your team or friends. But a conference isn’t your church. So at WorshipGod we tone down the performance, production, and polish and make it as real as possible. Rehearsals are open so you can see what normal life looks like. We use a lot of volunteers. We keep the lights up. Speakers and musicians are available for casual conversations. We’re not afraid to talk about our failures and weaknesses. And through it all, we pray the glory of Christ shines through.
3. Guest Speakers
I’m so happy Mike Bullmore is returning as a main session speaker and that Mark Jones is coming for the first time (speaking twice!). I first heard Mark at a conference and was struck by his faithful, insightful, and passionate handling of God’s Word. Then I started reading his books. Knowing Christ. God Is. The Prayers of Jesus. Knowing Sin. Oh man. Can’t wait for you to hear him. And Mike Bullmore is just going to preach Christ and him crucified in a way that will affect your mind, heart, and life.
4. Guest Musicians
Where do I start!? We’re devoting a whole main session to getting more acquainted with Rich Vasallo and some of the folks who make up CityAlight. Jonathan and Sarah Jerez will lead us in a bi-lingual session, opening our eyes to the beauty of God’s praises sung in languages other than English. Matt Merker and Jordan Kauflin will talk about and sing some of the songs they’ve written together and with others that God has used to encourage the church, including I Will Wait for You (Psalm 130) and Christ Our Hope in Life and Death. And Adam Wright of Corner Room Music is back to share some of his brilliant word-for-word musical settings of Scripture.
5. Ben Shive
I’ve admired Ben Shive’s work for years from afar. He’s produced Andrew Peterson, Sara Groves, Colony House, and the Getty’s, and co-written one of my all-time favorite songs, Is He Worthy. But when we had the opportunity to work with him on our most recent albums, Unchanging God: Songs from the Book of Psalms, Vol. 1 and 2, my respect for him increased exponentially. Ben is humble, kind, thoughtful, funny, and really good at what he does, which includes arranging, playing the keyboard, songwriting, and producing. Most of all he has a heart to serve the church which is rooted in his love for Jesus. He’ll be teaching a seminar on songwriting and one on arranging your band.
6. Josh Scott
As a keyboardist, I had no clue who Josh Scott was until a friend in my church introduced me to him a few years ago. Josh is the founder and head of JHS pedals, known throughout the world and used by a lot of well known musicians. But most importantly, he’s a man who loves the Savior, his family, and the church. And he’s back at WorshipGod to answer all your questions about guitars and gear!
7. Sovereign Grace Speakers and Musicians
One of my favorite parts of the conference is introducing people to the friends I’ve hung out for years with in Sovereign Grace. Main speakers this year include Jeff Purswell, dean of our pastors college and one of my best friends, Jared Mellinger, senior pastor of Covenant Fellowship and a faithful WorshipGod attendee and speaker, and Josh Blount, a Sovereign Grace pastor from West Virginia who happens to be an amazing preacher. Our singing will be led by various Sovereign Grace musicians, and Lacy Hudson (soon to be Condy) and Lisa Clow will be sharing some songs they’ve written and the stories behind them. In the songwriter breakout you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Lacy as well as Sovereign Grace writers Nate Stiff and David Zimmer.
8. Master Classes
If you want more hands-on instruction, you have the option of registering for one of 6 Pre-conference Intensives taking place on Wednesday from 1:00-5:30. You’ll be able to grow your skills in the areas of vocals, guitar, audio, bass, drums, and I’m teaching a class for piano players. Also during that time slot, Mike Bullmore will be teaching a class on “Cultivating Affection for the Unchanging God in Your Devotions.” Mike will not only inspire your passion but also give you practical steps for deepening your love for the Savior through prayer and God’s Word.
9. Free, Free, Free, Free
That means free lunches, free stuff, free coffee, and a free night. Lunches on Thursday and Friday will be provided onsite enabling us to make the most of our time together. At every session we’ll be giving away books, resources, and gear to remind us that because of the gospel we have been “enriched in every way to be generous in every way” (2 Corinthians 9:11). In response to countless requests, coffee will be there for the taking (unless you want to pay for a latte). And on Friday, we’ll end at 5:30 so you can spend the evening unpacking all you’re learned with those you came with or new friends! Or you can just go to bed early (there’s always one in the crowd). And even though it’s not free, 10ofThose will be with us again with an amazing bookstore.
10. Live Recording
The conference day ends at 5:30 on Thursday as well, but everyone is invited back at 8:30 to add your voice to a live recording. We’re reaching back in the Sovereign Grace Music catalog and recording live versions of “Before the Throne of God Above,” “Behold Our God,” and “All I Have is Christ.” We’ll also be recording “All of Our Tomorrows,” a new song written to express our confidence that all the details of our future are held in God’s wise, loving, and sovereign hands. We’d love to have your voice on the recording!
11. Special Rates
We try to keep the price of the conference on the low side, but if you’re a church planter, senior pastor, student (high school, college, of post grad), or coming from outside the United States, it’s even lower. Your registration is $99 regardless of when you sign up. Also, groups of 5 or more get $25 off normal registration.
One of the best parts about the WorshipGod conferences are the people who come. We encourage interaction, look for ways to include people who come on their own, and work at creating a family atmosphere. That means God could use you to encourage someone else at just the right moment. Not to mention the ways you’ll be equipped and encouraged to serve your church more effectively when you get back home.
Come Join Us!
There you go. Twelve reasons I think you’d benefit from being at the WorshipGod conference this year. If you can think of any more, feel free to add them in the comments!
Registration is open, and prices go up May 1.
Hope to see you there!