US Holiday/WG11 Conference – sing, meet, glory

Wednesday – Day 1 of WorshipGod 11.

Some miscellaneous observations to begin with first:

  • My USA driving skills have improved a bit, praise God! The weirdest thing here would definitely be the stop sign intersections. Instead of roundabouts, everyone has a stop sign in front of them, and whoever gets there first gets to drive first. Had to think hard a couple of times!
  • Food here is preservative-laden, and soft drinks (soda) tastes a different kind of sweet, because instead of sugar they use high fructose corn syrup. No quite the same…
  • American Chinese food – it’s just like the movies! You get a fortune cookie!!! Words cannot describe how cool it is to feel like you’re in a movie, with American accents all around you as you move around the place.

Sing

Alright – this was the first day of the conference. Officially it begins in the evening with the first general session, but in the afternoon both Cheryl and I had signed up for a pre-conference intensive on using a contemporary choir in corporate worship. Ken Boer, Music Director at Covenant Life Church, was very helpful in both teaching on this topic (the role of the choir, comparin traditional and contemporary style, and how to arrange choir parts to model congregational participation, enhance the congregation’s sound and to add special elements to the church gathering).

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The most exciting part about the choir workshop was that we would actually be able to sing with the Na Band, led by Devon Kauflin, for the first session of the conference!

(Here’s a video of us rehearsing beforehand:)

What an experience that was to look out at 1800 people from the main stage to kick off the conference! It was so cool to be in a choir where all we really did was join the rest of Gods people in songs of praise! Some very apt songs as well (will link to the song list when Bob Kauflin puts it up).

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Meet

This was definitely the biggest church gathering we had ever been a part of – 1800 pastors, worship leaders, musicians, tech crew etc all gathered together to worship God in a variety of ways!

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During each session, Bob Kauflin and a number of regional worship directors give announcements and offer giveaways – even the giveaways, Bob explained, is part of our worship in response to our gratitude for Gods free gift of grace through Christ, by the Spirit. Incidentally, we all had prize draw tickets, which would have been a very effective way of encouraging attendance!

Glory

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Ray Ortlund Jr preached from 2 Cor 3:18 on the title, “Gathering to Behold”. A really good challenge from the Word to have a higher and more biblical view of what we do when the church gathers. On Sunday meetings, works righteousness (v14) is deconstructed, and the greater glory of Jesus is presented. We’re not just hearing of Jesus, we should be shown Christ, with unveiled face – for He’s that glorious! God helped me to see through Ray that the local church meeting isn’t just a social thing, or only to be with one another, but a supernatural event that comes from the Lord:

“If what we go to church for is only to be with one another, then that’s all we will get – one another. And that’s not enough.”

Oh Lord, help me to not see our meeting together as “just church”……..

(Note: You can listen to the MP3 of the message here)

 

Next update: Christ-centred worship, Choosing songs wisely, More Singing!, NZ connections, saying Thabite Anyawile three times real fast….

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Update (26/08/2011): here’s the full series of our time in the USA.

Part 1: Fly, land, drive
Part 2: train, jam, steak
Part 3: sing, meet, glory
Part 4: rehearse, seminars, NZ connection, Thabiti
Part 5: edify, songwrite, organise, gather live
Part 6: mission-focused meetings, instrument shopping
Part 7: Covenant Life, tears, crepes and goodbyes, Giant groceries
Part 8: DC take 2, travelling back, final reflections  

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– William Chong

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