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
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.