We’re going to host the most chilled out grass roots worship music event I’ve ever heard of.
Not so long ago I went on a little adventure to Birmingham to attend an unconference. They are gatherings where folks with similar circumstances skills or challenges can meet up, define their own agenda for discussions or seminars, and self organise into productive groups for sessions just like a regular conference.
Aside from the obvious differences, such as a deliberate choice to empty the programme of sessions until the day, there is a key difference in underlying engagement. Because the unconference is a meeting of equals without a hierarchy, it’s a great opportunity for folks at the grass roots to engage and form supportive networks, and to influence the direction of the day. I certainly felt welcome, engaged and involved.
Remembering for a minute that this is not a life philosophy but a tool to drive discussion and problem solving, my next (albeit non sequitur) thought was that I play piano regularly at my church. It’s hardly a hotbed of dissent and sedition, but everyone tends to have an opinion about church music and it can raise interesting challenges.
You can find no end of courses and seminars on Worship Music, technique, guidance, spiritual and practical advice and so on. They’re all designed with a target audience which you may or may not fit.
Or you can look at large worship conferences. Each one comes with an impressive list of keynote speakers and a range of topics that will be addressed. I have sometimes felt a little intimidated by the luminaries up on stage and frankly a bit disconnected from their reality. There are some professional Worship Leaders who are held up as models of the craft but do they have to play for a congregation of 15 on a cold Sunday night when Boris the steward forgot to put the heating on until he unlocked at half past six? It takes skill to play the piano in gloves! Maybe the heavyweights do this sort of thing. Maybe they don’t. Either way, they don’t look like they have to and it creates a notional division between the pros and the proles.
Don’t misunderstand my position on hierarchy and authority. I want and respect them. I just value lateral collaboration as much as top down management.
So would it be easier to find and accept support and advice in a crowd of peers and share what works on a level field? I think so.
If we’re not paying keynote speakers to attend, not having celebrity Christian musicians to lead our worship time, and more or less putting the show on here, we don’t need to pay to attend. A local church has allowed us access for a Saturday at a reasonable fee. We’ll put a hat round at the end of the day to cover it. They have toilets, heating and a kettle. What more do we need?
Nobody will pay us to attend. Nobody will try to sell you stuff. In return for getting in through the door, bring your priorities and passions, battles and successes and we’ll try to comiserate, celebrate and motivate as a community of musicians doing our thing in church. We’ll meet in prayer and fellowship as equals.
Are you interested? Tickets are available now. It’s on June 8th and it’s in Aldridge. See you there?
If for some reason you can’t make it but you like the sound of it, get some mates together and organise your own.