Innovative Faith Resources (IFR), along with the SBC of Virginia and Liberty University, hosted a unique conference on June 24 aimed at teaching ministry staff about the best practices and latest developments in church worship and media.
“We’ve been praying and planning for this day for more than a year,” said Brandon Pickett, Vice President of IFR and one of the organizers of the conference. “It is great to see so many people who serve their churches week in and week out being able to come out for a day and get recharged and refreshed in their specific field of ministry.”
The Worship and Technology Conference brought in more than 200 people from all across Virginia with some coming from as far away as Arkansas. The goal of the day was networking church leaders, teaching, introducing new technology, and encouragement.
Almost 30 breakout classes were offered at different times throughout the day. Topics ranged from cultivating a culture of worship within a church, to an introduction to lighting, to how best to raise up and lead a children’s choir.
Minister of Worship and Media at First Roanoke Baptist Church, Todd Holloway said, “I loved how the breakout session teachers didn’t just talk about lofty philosophy, but that they also gave practical advice on what to do and how to do it.”
This year’s conference included Spanish language translation for some breakouts. With a population of nearly one million people, the hispanic community is a large part of Virginia and the SBCV. Sergio, an attendee from Lynchburg, expressed his interest in raising the quality of Spanish services.
“(It was good) to be trained in the how can I leverage the Sunday experience to be the best it can be.” Sergio said. “We want it to be good quality, but we don’t know the how.”
The conference began with worship from musical artist, Charles Billingsley, and a sermon from the Dean of the School of Music at Liberty University, Stephen Müller.
“I loved how the breakout session teachers didn’t just talk about lofty philosophy, but that they also gave practical advice on what to do and how to do it.” – Todd Holloway
Müller’s sermon provided a philosophical base from which the conference was built, answering the questions of “Why do people serve God and the church?” and “How are people supposed to serve?”
Some participants used this conference to investigate other questions such as what is the purpose of investing so much time and energy into the production aspect of church? Why do we associate music and worship so closely? What is the optimal way to cultivate a setting within a church? And to what purpose? How far is too far when trying to create mood and setting? And finally, what is worship? How do we do it? And, most importantly, why do we do it?
Billingsley delivered a message dedicated to addressing the philosophy behind worship and worship production and the importance of the presence of God.
Billingsley illustrated how you can have the best possible production in your worship service, but if the focus is not dwelling in the presence of God, then it is useless. Billingsley also pointed out that there is a delicate balance between a well-produced service that is both contemporary and culturally relevant, and an overproduced service which can bring distraction to the worship experience.
“Although modern technology is a wonderful thing, it is not the end all.” Billingsley said, “Without the presence of God, even the best of productions become meaningless.”
“Without the presence of God, even the best of productions become meaningless.” – Charles Billingsley