Happy almost Friday y'all! If you caught my post last week you know that I went to the National Worship Leaders Conference in the beginning of October. Well it's now mid-October and I am just now getting around to writing about it. There were so many wonderful things about the conference from our morning worship and group sessions to all the break out sessions we had during the day! We were able to choose what sessions we wanted to go to so we could tailor our day to what appealed/applies to us. So what did I learn?! I learned...
1. We as Worship Leaders are Prayer Leaders and we are leading our congregation into prayer as much as we are worship. This felt so pointed at me and I wanted to dig deeper into what this really means. St. Augustine said "He who sings prays twice" and I love that! It's so true and
2. The theme of the conference was "Teach Us to Pray" and our morning group sessions were all about that. Our second day the speaker was David Nasser and he had great points on what prayer should be. Prayer should be pure in intent- public prayer is always okay as long as it is for the right reasons. Always pray with pure intent. Prayer should always be pure and personal- honest, transparent. The "shut the door" moments in your life when you are sharing something intimate. Prayer also needs to be pointed. God already knows what we are going to ask Him for so there is no need to babble on about pointless things. Get to the point and don't be wordy.
3. When going through a worship style transition always remember that there are two ways to change things. The Pastoral and the Prophetical methods. The Pastoral method is slow, prayerful, and listens to others. It is a staged type of change that eases people into it. The Prophetical method is sloppy and a complete overhaul. It says "here it is, let's change" with "we must because we'll die" and its not patient. This is where people get hurt and church divides happen. Change will always expose idols in the heart. Not caring what other people think, knowing certain people will leave and doing it anyway, or just finding out why people hold onto things for so long and don't want to change..which brings me to my next point
4. Tradition vs. Traditionalism.
Tradition is the "good stuff" certain things that your church does every year/month etc. that is important to you. Traditionalism is a tight adherence to what we've always done because change makes us uncomfortable and "it's the way we've always done it." The hardest but best thing is digging into why it makes someone uncomfortable and try to approach it from another way. Which ties in to the fact that whenever change is coming it exposes idols in the heart and traditionalism can be an idol.
5. Corporate singing is a command and we should all participate in it. It is mentioned 69 times in Psalms alone. As a worship leader there are ways to help facilitate that by always having a female pick the key of a song because women can sing lower than men in their own octaves (fun fact!) and if a woman can sing it comfortably then most people will be able to. 5 reasons that people don't participate are vanilla song choices, bad keys, not realizing that the congregation is present - it's not a concert, music that is too busy, and a worship leader who is not inviting.
We also had nights of worship led by more "famous" musicians like Tommy Walker, the Brothers McClurg, and my favorite of the conference, Laura Story. In the middle of her set she sat down at her keyboard and by herself sang "Blessings" (a guy did join her in the middle singing the harmony) and oh man I was bawling. She shared the story of how that song came about and it was moving and it made me think of all the hard things in my life where I felt like God was punishing me. The words really hit home and gave me a new perspective even though I had heard the song a million times before.
Have you ever had moments like that, that bring you to tears, or that put something in a new perspective even though you have heard/saw/etc it before? I'd love for you to share!
P.S.- Kudos to all who made it through this long, wordy post! You rock!