Thursday, May 31, 2007

2007 Willow Creek Arts Conference

It's hard to know how to follow a post on a half-ton wild pig, so I had to wait a it's been very busy around here lately.

In a couple of weeks Nancy and I will be attending the 2007 Willow Creek Worship Arts Conference in Chicago. It is a big three-day gathering of various types of artists, musicians, and technical folk that usually draws several thousand people from all over the world. Willow Creek Church holds as one of its core purposes the equipping, encouraging, training and building up of other churches. And they do an excellent job of it. I appreciate the investment that my church is making in us by sending us.

I've been a couple of times before and have always gotten a lot out of it. This time I didn't know that I was going until just a few days ago, so I registered very late. Nearly all of the "breakouts" (Willow-speak for "seminar" or "workshop") that I would have probably chosen first were full to capacity so I kind of had to shop through the leftovers to find something interesting. Honestly, though, that doesn't bother me at all because often in my life God has used what seemed to be serendipitous or ambivalent encounters to inspire me or teach me something new and important. So it is with hopeful anticipation that I look forward to classes in the following areas:

  • Vocal Artistry For Worship
  • Got Blog?
  • Line Array Workshop
  • Extreme Vocal Makeover
Here's the deal with the singing. I sing because I lead worship...I don't lead worship because I am a singer. I am, at best, a functional singer. It is because I am skilled in other areas that I am an acceptable vocalist, able to sing parts, read music, interpret vocal styles, etc. I like to sing, but it's never been my main thing and I've never worked at it like I have my other instruments. So the vocal classes will be good for me and I'm certain I'll learn some things. My wife is an excellent singer and so is my son.

The unfortunately named Got Blog? seminar is no doubt going to be about blogging, presumably from a Christian bent somehow. Fine...I'm looking forward to picking up some tips and ideas, maybe making some new friends. My Mac laptop is kind of sick...I hope I can get it fixed before I go. Doubtful.

The Line Array Workshop is a technical thing about loudspeaker design and installation. It will really more benefit me professionally since that is one of the many things that I sell. It should be interesting, too, because Willow Creek uses a lot, and I mean A LOT, of Meyer Sound loudspeakers. Meyer is what the Lord uses in Heaven. They are the best speakers available, so it will be fun. I'm sure I'll learn something.

The David Crowder Band will be leading worship at some point, plus Willow Creek has a very strong music department, too. Keynote speakers include Donald Miller, who I really like alot because of his great book, Blue Like Jazz. Also, Erwin McManus, who I kind of like but I'm not sure I completely get, Dan Kimball, whose blog I have occassionally read, but about whom I know very little and who is therefore suspect, and Brian McLaren. Also, Willow Creek's own Nancy Beach, who I like a lot, and Dewitt Jones, who is a reknowned National Geographic photographer and award-winning filmmaker, and will probably have amazing photos displayed on Willow Creeks amazing projection system. That will be cool.

Honestly, some of those new-wavey, emergent church-types make my theology itch just a bit. But I will give them my undivided and open-minded attention while they try to brainwash me into believing their crazy new ideas about Jesus and God and church and such. Some of those guys aren't even Republicans. Can you believe it?!?!

It will be a fun time.


jeff said...

Sounds like a Who's Who of Modern Christian Heresy to me. I will pray for you and your faith as you face this challenge head-on.

Barry Pike said...

Heh. I thought you might get a kick out of that crew. I do always appreciate being prayed for, though.

All that vision and purpose stuff will probably make David Hayward a bit nauseous, too, I expect.

Heidi said...

Stay open minded. Same God. Just a new way to worship and praise, perhaps. (My church is one of those "new-wavy" places.)

The David Crowder Band is great... talented. I think you will enjoy it.

I will pray that you have safe travels and enjoy the time!

Barry Pike said...

Thanks, Heidi. I really do intend to be open-minded. And I am a fan of DCB...he is such a spaceman.

I am not necessarily resistant simply because there are new ideas and approaches to worship and evangelism. In fact, in our area, my church is considered by many to be progressive in a number of areas. Some like it, some don't.

What I am resistant to, and what is observable in some of the writings of these "modern" Christian thinkers, is the call to discard or to alter important core tenets of the biblical message for the sake of other man-made agendas. These agendas may be laudatory efforts attempting to "reach the youth" or "create community" or "connect with today's culture", etc. But there are sometimes worldly influences employed that are at odds with God's agenda.

And thats the thing. God's agenda is not a secret or a mystery. He has revealed it. There are many wonderful, mysterious, and unknowable things about God, to be sure. He is infinitely above His creation. But He is very clear in His plan for our salvation. It's not easy, but it is clear. We can know it.

And some of these emergent-church leaders think their function is to reinvent and subvert classic theology in order to make God palatable to today's culture.

It's okay with me if the methods change...but The Message better stay the same.

Heidi said...

I agree. God has kept His message the same and is consistent in His love and will for our lives. I enjoy seeing people try to meet the challenge to think in different ways to reach more people for God, though... but am also disturbed when is it not genuine in the Word or in their hearts.