In September a group of us from Koinonia and the worship team went to a worship conference in Nashville. It was such an inspiring and eye-opening experience! I wanted to share some of the main things that I took away from the conference and what God has been laying on my heart.
The conference was put on by Keith and Kristen Getty, who have written songs like in “Christ Alone” and “How Deep the Father’s Love”, and there were so many amazing speakers! Some of the keynote speakers that stood out to me were J.D. Greear, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, David Platt, and Tim Keller. The main theme of the conference was singing the Psalms. The Psalms are the songbook of the Bible and are, therefore, an inspired guidebook to lyric writing and choosing songs for church services.
One of the seminars I attended was with Stuart Townend (co-author of “How Deep the Father’s Love”, “Power of the Cross”, and many other modern hymns) about the art of lyric writing. Since the main topic of the event was the Psalms, that is where he spent most of his time. One of the areas where he encouraged lyric writers to spend their time is on songs of lament; another is songs that talk only about the character of God. In our repertoire of Christian music today, we have very few songs that focus on deep sadness and grief, but this is a topic we see often in the Psalms, as well as in most of our personal lives. Also, we have very few songs that simply talk about the character of God without mentioning anything about ourselves. This is understandable because our relationship with God is integral to our faith, but we also need songs that simply revere Him for who He is!
Another major takeaway from the conference is to incorporate more of the Psalms into our daily personal worship and our times of corporate worship. This challenged me to be more intentional about picking songs based on Psalms as well as incorporating Scripture readings into our worship at Koinonia. God has given us this beautiful songbook, and we need to constantly remember that His word is right at our fingertips!
Lastly, I felt very challenged during this conference to push past my own personal preferences. All of the songs we sang at the conference were hymns or modern hymns, which are not always my particular preference. But over 8,000 members of the body of Christ came together all loudly shouting His praises! Every time we sang together, I felt like I tasted a little bit of Heaven. We were all unified at that moment. It didn’t matter what genre of music we sang; what mattered was the truth of the lyrics we were proclaiming.
I am so incredibly grateful that God gave us the opportunity to attend this conference and to learn so much about worship and the Psalms. I pray that we will continue to stretch the boundaries of our preferences, and seek the truth of the Bible to guide our worship above all! Let’s be a church that proclaims the Psalms loudly!