For worship leaders and pastors

Here are twelve reasons why I am enthused about our one-day mini-conference coming up soon on Tuesday, June 29, called “Spirit and Truth: Preaching and Creativity in Worship Today.” Teams are welcome!

1. Dr. Scot McKnight. What a great guy Scot is. You will really enjoy getting to know him. Not only is he a recognized authority in New Testament studies, but he is a widely-acclaimed speaker who uses his wit and insight into the needs of our culture to communicate the gospel in fresh new ways. He is going to show those of us who teach the Word of God concrete ways in which we can freshen our study of Scripture. His blog, Jesus Creed, gets millions of hits a year–for good reason.

2. Dave Bullock. For the past ten years as Elmbrook’s pastor overseeing our worship and fine arts ministry, Dave brings a balance and a commitment to worship. And just as important, I have watched Dave build worship teams with integrity, mutual respect, and a lot of joy.

3. Jan Keddie. Elmbrook’s worship coordinator and producer. We’ll hear from Jan about the joys and travails of working with the creative souls and pastors who come up with a lot of ideas that then need to be placed in the real world. Jan does it well.

4. Matt DePriest. As worship leader at Elmbrook Matt is committed to bringing a varied and rich musical sound to worship, but also helps create other worship elements. When Matt crafts a worship prayer, I hang on every word.

5. Dave Hahn. Dave is hard to pin down. He is a graphic artist, drummer extraordinaire, and a Bible-student-in-earnest. You can engage Dave in an animated conversation on almost any topic from the arts, to Apple computers, to the Milwaukee Brewers. Dave crafts many of the visual elements of our worship, showing us what a church bulletin, PowerPoint slides, banners, and many other creative elements can be.

6. The mix. One of the things we want to get into is how any church can build a creative team that can collaborate on worship planning that keeps a congregation engaged with God. We will be discussing how we can grow beyond a plug-and-play worship mentality.

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7. The practicalities. By the end of the day we will have touched on many resources that preaching pastors and worship leaders can access today for their worship planning.

8. A test case. To make it very concrete and practical, we will be using the epistle of James as an example of the core teaching material that can be coordinated with all worship elements. You may walk away from this day enthused to put together your own series on James.

9. The friendships. Okay, I’ll admit this is a step of faith, but I believe that the lively interaction of this day together is going to strengthen existing relationships and you will perhaps meet someone who will be a new friend in the days to come.

10. The philosophy. Don’t choke. We all have a philosophy of preaching and worship whether we admit it or not. We’re not going to linger in abstractions about preaching and worship, but we will make sure that in our discussions that we gain greater personal insight into our own background ideas, and be challenged to update and improve them.

11. The Spirit. “Spirit and Truth” is our theme, which is what constitutes true worship in Jesus’ own definition in John 4. We trust that the Holy Spirit is going to bring new things our way through this special time together.

12. The Truth. No matter how long we’ve been involved in preaching or worship ministry, we can use new tools in our study and preparation of God’s word for God’s people. I’m looking forward to leading us in a session on preaching and creativity.

In my 30 years at Elmbrook, the past decade as senior pastor, I’ve seen so many great new developments in worship. Not fads or gimmicks, but truly fresh avenues that God has opened to us. I really believe that at 4:15pm on June 29, those who gathered in the Elmbrook Church Chapel will walk away, having had a training experience different from what they have ever had before.

I hope you or someone you know will be with us. Bring your team!

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