RIDGECREST, N.C. — Almost 700 people left Worship Week at Lifeway Ridgecrest Conference Center better equipped to go back to their churches and usher people into the presence of God.
Worship Week, sponsored June 25-July 1 by the Lifeway Worship area of Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, offered worship times and conferences designed to meet the spiritual and practical needs of church people involved in leading worship.
Although the titles were many — minister of music, minister of worship, worship pastor, music director, song leader, and even pastor — everyone came with their own needs.
For some, it was to learn about new technology that would help small churches offer a quality music experience for churches that have no musicians. For others, it was to get help on creating a new children’s music program after years of having none. Still others came to learn how to help their congregations embrace more than just the first, second and third verses of “Amazing Grace.”
While the participants understood without a doubt that musical worship serves as an important aspect in worship services, Worship Week pastor Mike Glenn maintained that the term “worship” encompasses more than musical performance and excellence. It’s the total experience of drawing closer to God.
In his opening delivery, Worship Week conference pastor Mike Glenn, pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn., told the group of worship leaders that the answer to every problem is worship.
“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. He reminded them, “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 conference leader during the week. He spoke to a group about Kairos, Brentwood Baptist’s ministry to young adults that draws thousands of college students and 20-somethings every week.
“Kairos is drawing all these young adults who know nothing about the Bible,” he said. “Nothing!”
He said when the Kairos leaders learned that many of the attenders didn’t have a Bible, the church began putting out Bibles on tables for attendees to take for free.
Laughing, he said, “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. 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 recounted the story of one young man who told him 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 asked 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 and bring a large selection of Bibles. He also brought in a friend, Mike Duduit, fromAnderson University to explain the differences in the translations to the attendees.
“So many of them came up to me and said, ‘I got my Bible,'” Glenn said.
It became amusing when 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.”
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 events led opening worship for the conference.
“I was called to ministry right here in Spillman Auditorium, Dec. 31, 1985,” he 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 professed his love for the North Carolina mountains, saying that western North Carolina “is where God gets His mail.”
Cottrell cautioned that growing up in the gospel culture can cause a person to lose sight of the Gospel and lose sight of the person of Jesus. Anyone who surrounds himself with only other Christians is in danger of losing the passion of the need for Jesus.
“Those of us in the culture can fake it,” he cautioned. “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 conferences and training sessions during the five-day event, in addition to platform worship leaders and pastors. Attendees also had the opportunity to view a prerelease 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. Go to LifeWay.com/Worship for more information about Lifeway Worship, including events and resources.
by Polly House, Communications Department