Today was awesome, but it's been a long few days, so I'm glad it's done!
This morning started with music by Craig Davis, and our speaker was Chris Seay. Chris is young and cool and a family man. He pastors a church in Texas, and he spoke about many things, but his starting point was this: Often we open the Bible and ask, "God, what you do want me to do?", but we should really be asking, "God, who am I?". From there, Chris talked about our role as artists in the church, and the importance of creativity in spreading the Gospel. He emphasized the importance of beauty and truth in our art, and how those are the elements that will attract people to our songs and writing, and that's how souls are saved. He also talked about the importance of actually living IN the world and in our culture. So many Christians like to separate themselves from the rest of the community. They hide themselves in the cloister of the church and fellow Christians. But when Jesus was on Earth, he went deep into the communities and spoke to all kinds of people. He recognized that there was valuable work to be done in the messiest, dirtiest parts of town. So important for us all to remember!
My first session was a songwriting panel with Noel Richards and Robin Mark. There were some technical questions addressed, but most people asked about tools for opening up their creativity. I just wanted to shout, "Read the Artist's Way!". Robin really emphasized using your whole life in a song. Get to know all about yourself and use it all in your songs.
This afternoon, we had a presentation by Door 217, a music ministry for terminally ill patients and their caregivers. This family is creating a line of cds that can be distributed in hospitals, nursing homes, and anywhere than is involved in palliative care. The music is soothing and uplifting. As someone with too much experience with grief, I really appreciate what they are trying to do.
My second session was incredible! It was, again, with Andy Piercy, and he was talking about recording songs. He is just so smart and so full of information. I wish we could have talked all day! The session actually ran so far over time that we all had to be asked to leave the room. So brilliant!!!
My final session was on communication with Jason Hildebrand. I'm sure for most people it was great, but it really wasn't what I needed. About 15 minutes in, I realized this was Acting 101 For Non-Actors, and by then it was too late for me to leave without being completely rude. Deep breathing, being open to your audience, blah, blah, blah. Don't get me wrong - It's great and important stuff. But I did 4 years of theatre school. I really didn't need another hour of it today.
Overall, I'm really glad I went to this conference. I learned a tonne of stuff, heard some amazing music, and met some great people. I also had a revelatory moment last night. I'm not ready to talk about it yet, cause it's going to involve some changes that will affect other people. But it's all good. It's actually so good!
Let's just say: I have visited the potter, and I have been broken!