As some of you know, we recently had the privilege of attending the 2010 Impact Bible Conference in Hastings. For myself, one of the highlights of Impact is the music ministry: over four days’ worth of worship songs led and performed by the Riverbend Bible Church music team. This year I got the chance to chat with music director Warren Jardine and get to know some of the musicians better, and even play alongside them during one session on the violin. It’s a joy to meet and get to know fellow brothers and sisters who desire to use their musical gifts to honour the Lord.
The bible encourages us to “speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph 5:19), and over the course of the conference I appreciated a number of songs that I hadn’t previously heard or had been freshly arranged (examples of the songs in square brackets):
- “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” (Jamie Owens-Collins) – an accomplished slap-bass line added a funky edge to proclaiming from 2 Chronicles 20 and 1 Samuel 17: “The battle belongs to the Lord”. Originally a 1980’s Christian rock anthem, but at Impact 2010 the lyrics on our spiritual battle were just as encouraging. [video]
- A student choir from Hastings Christian School sang a sweet 3-part version of “Psalm 51: Create in Me a Clean Heart”. Great harmonies and a faithful adaptation of the version performed by Keith Green. [video]
- We had a treat with keynote speaker Ken Ramey’s wife Kelli singing two solo items for us, including a worshipful take on “We Cry Holy Holy (We Fall Down)” [video]
- A female solo vocalist dovetailed with a poignant cello melody in the Gettys’ “Hear O Israel” (Deut 6:4-5), and made for a haunting and memorable call to worship during the Friday evening session [video]
- “Then Sings My Soul/How Great Thou Art” – you could hear a pin drop as the pianist started with a soft but instantly recognisable first line of “How Great Thou Art”, before building into the chorus. The song transitioned well into Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Thou Art”, and it’s a song pairing we’ve done (in reverse) once before. [video]
- There was a duet of a Casting Crowns song, “To Know You”. I really appreciated how heartfelt and relevant the lyrics were to my ongoing work at being more holy: “More than my next breath | More than life or death | All I’m reaching for, I live my life to know You more | I leave it all behind, You’re all that satisfies | To know You is to want to know You more…” [video]
- “Jesus Messiah” – another Chris Tomlin number. It’s definitely a congregational song as long as it’s pitched correctly – we all know Chris loves singing high on his CDs. [video]
- “Lord I Offer My Life” – this was done as a beautiful R&B-tinged duet by Vic and Marie Moore. It sounded like they really meant it when they sang it, and I can still hear their intertwining vocal lines in my head: “Lord I offer my life to you, everything I’ve been through, use it for Your glory…” A privilege and blessing to hear such gifted voices.
Granted, there were a few song choices didn’t lend themselves to worshipping in Spirit and in truth so well. One in particular was Planetshaker’s “You’re All I Want”: to me it was vague in giving good doctrinal reasons for the repeated proclamations of love, to the point that you could almost substitute Jesus for Jessica/Joe and keep the rest of the lyrics. [video]
But all in all, there were just a breadth of good songs that helped to support the theme of the conference, point us towards a magnified view of God, and instil a desire to live a life that could be worthy to bear the name Christian. So for all those things, I was really grateful for the music ministry at Impact 2010.
UPDATE: Download the messages from the conference here: Impact 2010 messages