Approximately 120 attendees came from Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Assemblies of God and Brethren churches in at least Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, and California. Held at the Music Road Inn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the event was organized and led by Mike Harland, Director of LifeWayWorship.com and Randy Vader and Jay Rouse of PraiseGathering Music Group.
In “The Choir Room”, an online music reading session sponsored monthly by Lifeway, Joan Gardner won four registrations
to the Worship Leading conferences at either Ridgecrest or Glorietta, the two national SBC camps, but then traded them for two complimentary $229 (value) tickets to this event….so she took John along. During the conference that went Monday evening through Wednesday morning, the participants sang through and listened to dozens of choir pieces and cantatas, receiving two complimentary copies of everything they sang. Included in the packet is promotional material and a listening CD to the music from Saddle Ridge Ranch VBS program that is now part of the Children’s Music Series with the desire to encourage VBS children to keep singing. Thru Tuesday, the Gardners received over $160 in music.
Monday and Tuesday evenings included concerts by Dove Award Winners Karen Beck with The River and also the Talley Trio and ended Wednesday with a worship service, communion and a commissioning service.Following, in no particular order are notes and observations from the event:
In making the case for singing a wide variety of music instead of what the congregation is “comfortable” with, one of the leaders said,
In today’s churches where we brand ourselves as Traditional, Contemporary, Gospel, Southern, Blended, Seeker-Friendly, etc….we forget that God created both the volcanoes and the glaciers, Grand Canyon and Mount Everest, atoms and Planet Jupiter. If God had variety in his creation, why can’t we have variety in our music and worship?
A new title in Music Ministry is the “Pastor/Minister of Worship Arts”, to include worship, drama, visual. The new trend, rather than a CD accompaniment is a DVD accompaniment that includes a video for on screen while the choir sings. o make the case for emphasizing the “visual”,
- Households with at least 1 television: 99%
- TV sets per household: 2.24
- Homes with 3+ TV’s: 66%
- Average TV time per household: 6.75hrs
- Watch TV during dinner: 66%
- TV in American households per year: 250 billion
- Value of TV time at $5/hr: $1.25 trillion
- Americans on cable: 56%
- Videos rented daily: 6 million
(results from A.C. Nielsen Co study in America)
Also, to keep in mind that today’s teenagers, college students and recent graduates can multi-task much more effectively than their parents. For example: Doing research or writing a paper on the computer while using Facebook to do instant messaging, watching tv and using a cell to text while listening to music on an mp3 listening device. There were door prize drawings at the beginning of each session, with the “prizes” getting bigger and better throughout the event – to encourage participants to stay all the way through rather than turning more of the time into family vacation in the area time.
The grand prize drawing, held at the very end of the event, was for a custom written song involving Mike Harland, Director of LifeWayWorship.com and Randy Vader and Jay Rouse of PraiseGathering Music Group. John Gardner’s name was drawn, so this fantastic combination of talent will be writing a choral arrangement for the Huntington Baptist Church Choir. Although they didn’t put a “value” on the award, it was clear that a “commissioned” piece by any one of them would have come at significant cost….and to have one from the three of them together…..priceless.
Joan and John thank Huntington Baptist for underwriting part of their cost to attend.