Worship Week, sponsored by the LifeWay Worship area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, offered worship times and conferences to meet the spiritual and practical needs of nearly 700 church worship leaders.
For some, it was a chance to learn about new technology that can help a small church offer a quality music experience, even if they have no trained musicians. For others, it was a step toward rejuvenating a children's music program after years of having none. Still others came to learn how to help their congregations gain more of God's truths through worship.
Worship Week pastor Mike Glenn, meanwhile, noted that the term "worship" encompasses more than musical performance and excellence. It's the total experience of drawing closer to God.
The answer to every problem is worship, added Glenn, pastor of Brentwood (Tenn.) Baptist Church.
"You just have to stay with your prayer long enough to come out on the other side," he said. "You have to pray long enough to reach your praise."
Speaking about the culture's disinterest, if not disdain, of Christianity, Glenn said Christians have to be strong and rebellious, noting, "It's a point of ultimate rebellion when we stand in a church and declare to the world that there is one God and His name is God and there is no other God."
Glenn also served as a breakout leader during the week, speaking to a group about Kairos, Brentwood Baptist's ministry to young adults that draws hundreds of college students and 20-somethings every week.
"Kairos is drawing all these young adults who know nothing about the Bible," Glenn marveled. "Nothing!"
When Kairos leaders learned that many attendees didn't have a Bible, the church began putting out Bibles on tables for attendees to take for free.
"We told them the Bibles were free, and they were welcome to take one. It still seemed like some of them wanted to steal them," Glenn recounted, laughing. "So we just said if it felt better to stick one under your jacket as you left and pretend to sneak out with it, that was fine. Just take one!"
Glenn spoke of one young man who said he'd gone to the local LifeWay Christian Store to buy his first Bible.
"But, do you know how many Bibles there are in that store?" the young man said in astonishment. "There were just way too many. I didn't know what to get."
Knowing that others might be in the same boat, Glenn arranged for the LifeWay store to come to Kairos with a large selection of Bibles. He also brought in a friend, Mike Duduit from Anderson University, to explain the differences in the various Bible translations.
The young adults' venture into Scripture became amusing when, for example, Glenn began teaching about the story of Joseph in prison in Egypt.
The dialogue went something like this:
Young adult: "When does Joseph meet Mary? When he gets out of jail?"
Glenn: "Ah, he doesn't. Different Joseph."
Young adult: "Oh, dude! You mean there are two of them?"
Glenn: "Yeah, there are two of them."
Among the Worship Week's music leaders: Travis Cottrell, worship minister at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn., and praise and worship leader for Beth Moore's Living Proof Live and other conferences.
"I was called to ministry right here in Spillman Auditorium, Dec. 31, 1985," Cottrell said. "Great memories at Ridgecrest. I just love to come in here and sniff the piano."
Born and raised in nearby Boone, N.C., Cottrell voiced a love for North Carolina's mountains, saying they are "where God gets His mail."
Growing up in a gospel culture can cause a person to lose sight of the Gospel, Cottrell cautioned, and lose sight of the person of Jesus. Anyone who surrounds himself with only other Christians, Cottrell said, is in danger of losing the passion of the need for Jesus.
"Those of us in the culture can fake it," he said. "We know the words, the way to speak 'church.' We know words others don't know -- like vestibule!"
Twenty-eight conference leaders led more than 80 sessions during the June 25-July 1 gathering. Attendees also had the opportunity to view a pre-release showing of "Courageous," the newest movie from Sherwood Pictures set for nationwide release Sept. 30.
Next year's Worship Week will be July 16-20 at Ridgecrest. For more information about LifeWay Worship, including events and resources, go to LifeWay.com/Worship.
Polly House is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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