When Joel Klampert said I had to come to the New Jersey Shore and help with The Forge Conference, I immediately knew it would be something unique. Joel is unique. I had never met a worship leader from Rhode Island like him! (Actually, he is also the only worship leader I knew from there.) And, the vision of this conference to serve the smaller local church and challenge out-of-box thinking resonated with me and the seasons I have spent in church planting. The diversity of backgrounds from liturgical, charismatic, Messianic, baptist to modern worship stretched the pallet and enriched the environment like no other conference on worship I have ever attended.
Here are some highlights from my perspective:
- I was led in worship by and jammed in the late night worship with a dulcimer player and worship leader Dan Wilt and was moved deeply by Jeremy Dunn and Dan Wilt’s liturgical-yet-modern time of worship.
- Facilitated the WorshipMythbusters.com podcast live with an amazing panel on the topic: The Myth of the Happy Clappy. It seemed this and the other open forum panel encouraged me to continue and hone what I do with my podcast and other teaching settings about worship.
- Taught a WorshipMythbusters.com session in an 1880s chapel where the song “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was first sung. The religious history of Pilgrim Way, the Victorian architecture, the helpful staff of Ocean Grove all were appreciated and made for a terrific setting.
- John Voelz’s talk about indigenous worship hit a chord with me. He and the other Key Note guys were on fire!
- My daughter and I with Joel Klampert and Shannon Lewis lead worship together in a very meaningful session where all the attendees were prayed over and sent out.
- I LOVE people from New England. Their accent and sarcasm is almost as good as some of us from the Left Coast.
- Yes, my daughter Emilie was with me and that made the travel and the conference just that much more meaningful.
- The attendees: The top highlight was how encouraged I was by meeting, chatting and praying with worship leaders as we swapped stories.