This week, Sajan and I flew out to Austin to join about 400+ church leaders, pastors, musicians, and artists for the Austin Stone Worship Conference. Many thoughts coming out of the week, here are just four:
- Austin Stone is large church with many full-time staff members on their worship/music/production team. We don’t have the bandwidth for that, and yet, I feel like our band members and AV team give their heart, soul, energy, and time in such sacrificial ways. A lot of what happens on Sundays is because of hours and hours of thought and work put into it by our volunteers throughout the week. Grateful.
- We had a chance to hang out with some of our brothers from Seven Mile Road in Boston. What an encouragement it was to worship with them and talk through application of what we learned for our churches back home. We ate so much food and may need to repent. Especially because of our last meal together: burger stacked between two donuts, topped with bacon, chipotle mayo, jalepenos, onions, and cilantro.
- Is worship optional? I think ‘worship’ times during Sunday mornings are sometimes considered optional. Matt Carter reminded us on Tuesday that it’s not adequate for any Christian to say “I’m just not into worship.” Your brothers and sisters need you to be “into” worship because these times are not just about you the individual, it’s about us the church. The sister behind you might be struggling with insecurity. The brother beside you may be condemned because he is mired in sin. The married couple sitting in the back row may be on the brink of divorce. They need you to remind them in song that our Father is a good God who loves us and will never leave us. That their sins are nailed to the cross onto Jesus for them to bear no more. That they don’t have to be defeated in their marriage because God has defeated sin and death and there is hope in their brokenness because of Christ. This Sunday, sing so that you might lift each other up. Be ‘into’ worship out of love for one another. (Eph 5:18-20)
- Lots of theological and practical steps to consider coming out of the conference. Over the next several weeks and months, we’ll be considering how to further grow, mature, and engage in music and the arts as a church. My hope is for all of us to be worshippers of Jesus who think, believe, feel, and respond deeply because of what Christ has done in and for us. Let’s ask the Lord for help with this.
So grateful that we get to worship again together tomorrow. Here’s a new song from Austin Stone Worship that we’ll be singing tomorrow – listen to it now if you have a chance. See you in the morning!