The Resourcing Worship Virtual Worship Conference scheduled for Aug. 1 may be the first training of its kind: developed through the cooperative efforts of worship consultants from 17 state Baptist conventions across the U.S.
Featuring keynote speakers Matt Redman, Keith Getty and Mike Harland plus more than 65 breakout classes, the conference is designed to renew a passion for worship and to equip leaders to better serve in these unusual days.
“We want people to be encouraged, motivated, stretched and [to] find God’s power in their ministry through their encounters in the Virtual Worship Conference,” said Kenny Lamm, senior consultant for worship and music for Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
State worship consultants meet virtually each week for development, fellowship, idea sharing and resource creation. Lamm said that with most conventions canceling their annual in-person training events, he began to look toward virtual conference options and discovered overwhelming support within the group.
“We kept the price really low to be able to make this accessible to every person who is involved in the worship ministry of the church, including pastors,” Lamm said.
Breakout sessions will cover a variety of topics including pastor/worship leader relationships, ministering through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and cultural diversity in worship, biblical foundations and worship theory, practical tips for leading children’s choirs, plus a host of others.
‘In constant contact’
“Our state missionaries have been in constant contact with our local churches during this time,” said Keith Hibbs, director of the office of worship leadership and church music for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
“A big majority, 85% or 90%, will continue conducting services online, so this training will help them meet that need. [Churches] also tell us they know things can’t stay the way they are, and adjustments are needed. The conference will help to guide them in those areas.”
Small churches and bivocational worship leaders will want to check out sessions geared toward their specific needs, like “10 Tips for Leading Worship in a Small Church,” led by Sarah Bohrer, children and worship consultant for the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. Lamm’s session — “A Week in the Life of a Worship Leader” will offer bivocational leaders a firsthand look into Lamm’s time as an interim worship leader, with practical tools for serving as a bivocational worship leader.
According to Lamm, panel discussions on diversity are designed to help the church lead in tearing down the walls on racial division. Two sessions will focus on “Worship and the Racial Divide” and moving “From Mono to Multicultural Worship.”
Lamm noted that worship leaders are adapting to what many call a “new normal” and COVID-19 has stripped away many habits of weekly worship.
As churches regather, he added, leaders possess the opportunity to sort through old practices, eliminate what is no longer effective and adopt new ways of discipling the church body and the community.
“As the church is rebooting, now is the time. As probably never before, we need to have a clear sense of the theology of worship and what we are to be about so we can reform what we call the worship ministry of our churches into what God has for us. The extensive list of classes here will help us wrestle with these issues.”
Lamm said he is reminded of the story behind Matt Redman’s song “The Heart of Worship” in which Redman tells of how his church experienced a period of stripping away the productions of worship to regain a focus on Jesus and a heartfelt worship of Him.
“Before COVID, I have often felt like so many of our churches had lost sight of true worship,” Lamm said. “Many have begun to worship the worship event — the band, the singers, the songs, the pastor — and not the One to whom we owe our all. In ways, I can see Jesus clearing the temple of all this. Perhaps COVID is God’s way of overturning our table of misdirected worship and old, useless practices of the church. Just perhaps, God is using COVID-19 to strip us of all the church was doing, so we can carefully put it all together the right way this time, that we simply come with hearts open and ready to hear from God.”
Lamm developed the website resourcingworship.com to help churches navigate the current season of change.
The site offers a one-stop resource for worship leaders for working through COVID-19.
Conference tickets are available on the website resourcingworship.com.