US Holiday/WG11 Conference – edify, songwrite, organise, gather live

Day 3 of WorshipGod 11. One general session, two more seminars, and an evening of singing for a live album recording. We worship a generous King, showering kindness on us!


For the morning session, the worship was led by Sojourn Music. Their songs have a unique indie-folk sound to their songs, and lead using a neoliturgical style, incorporating elements such as responsive reading and structuring the songs using the gospel (from adoration, to confession of sin, to the work of Christ, to assurance of peace etc.) Very fascinating and fresh take on many of Isaac Watt’s hymns. I would particularly commend the song “Absent From Flesh” from their latest album, The Water and the Blood.

This morning, Bob Kauflin taught from 1 Corinthians 14:1-33. Rather than explain a particular view of spiritual gifts, he tried to show that the Apostle Paul’s main idea through this passage is to encourage the divided, self-centred Corinthian church to ensure that what we do in our gatherings edify, or build up each other. Not only that, God is the one who edifies His church when we gather. Another helpful message with very practical implications on how we organise our church services – for example, do we provide some way for the congregation to build each other up (whether planned or spontaneous)?

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

After the morning session, Cheryl attended two more workshops on sound engineering topics, while William went to two others:



In a seminar titled “What Makes These Songs Great?”, Steve and Vikki Cook (writers of memorable songs like “Glories of Calvary”) walked through the melodic and lyrical features that help to make a worship song that stands the test of time. I found it helpful as it was the first teaching on songwriting I’d heard that pursued musical and lyric excellence not for it’s own sake, but so that it better communicates and shares the life-giving message of Jesus. It’s also sparked a dormant interest in my own feeble attempts and songwriting.


In this seminar, Ken Boer (Music Director at Covenant Life Church) gave helpful principles and ideas for how to organise a growing ministry team – this was very practical and covered things like personal productivity and organisation, timekeeping, team organisation, and leadership of ministry teams. I hope there’s things I can learn from this to better serve our teams back at Howick Baptist.

Gather live


Recording the live album was fantastic. We sang through fifteen songs that trace the shape of a corporate gathering. The songs went from adoration, to confession of sin, to proclaiming the work of Christ, to assurance in our struggles, to preparing for the preaching of the Word, to remembering the Lord’s Table, to a sending off/benediction.

(Here’s a video of us recording/singing one of the new songs, “Generous King”)

The music was tight, the lyrics we were singing were all gospel-focused and gave truth in fresh words and phrases. My voice became really hoarse from singing praises to God so much. I kept thinking, imagine how wonderful it will be in Heaven to have glorified bodies to not only have the desire, but also the ability to praise the Lamb upon the throne forever!

We’re looking forward to when the CD comes out, approximately in November. In addition, they recorded lots of footage on camera so there will likely be video as well. How exciting that this could help to spread gospel-rich, life-changing songs!

Next: mission-focused meetings, instrument shopping, Sunday meeting


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    


– William