The morning began with a mass worship session. There's truly nothing like gathering with thousands of believers to sing, pray, and praise. Brian Doerkson led a beautiful worship session with songs of praise, love, and lament.
The message came from Francis Chan (author of "Crazy Love") and it was incredible. Francis is funny and passionate and visceral when he preaches. The message of creating disciples was simple but so very powerful. If I was planning this thing, I would actually have scheduled him as the last speaker, because I think it would have been the perfect message for people to have on their hearts as they return home.
The bulk of the day was filled with smaller workshops. Gerald attended an honest and powerful session by singer-songwriter Kari Jobe. Kari mixed practical worship leading advice with deeper spiritual messages of living in expectancy of God's grace.
I loved my Creativity workshop by songwriter Carolyn Arends. She took us through the stages of the creative process as it applies to songwriting. So full of things that I needed to hear right now.
I spent part of the afternoon in a "level ground" worship session with Brian Doerkson. The session was intimate and casual - in a hotel conference room, with the band on the floor level in the middle of a roomful of chairs. A few candles decorated the band area. Things weren't unplugged, but only amplified as much as they needed to be. Brian has been setting a lot of psalms to music lately, and they were beautiful and artistic. I found so much inspiration in this session.
We also got to do lots of casual things today - lunch with friends, buying new books and CDs, looking at the exhibit hall, and just enjoying the glorious sunshine.
Kari Jobe leading worship at tonight's service.
Tonight's worship session was led by Kari Jobe, and I'll just get to the point: awesome and wow!! I loved watching her lead. By the way she dances around and related to the huge congregation, you can tell she's used to leading worship in a big church. I loved that she and I both lead without an instrument - just a hand-held mic and our words. I'm a fan of her voice and songs and could just watch her for that, but the thing I love the most is her passion. When she sings, she's committed to the message of the song 110%, and that commitment is more powerful than any perfect note or artful riff.
One cool thing I've observed this weekend with the worship leaders:
I guess this reminded me that, despite what our culture tell us, the size of your congregation is no reflection on the size, scope, and scale of your ministry and/or its potential impact. It's also an awesome testimony about following God's calling. All of these guys could be making mega-bucks in mega-churches. Instead, they've asked God, "How do you want to use me?" and then said "Yes" when the answer comes.
Oh, that we may all have the courage to say "Yes"...