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Monday, July 18, 2011

Forge Conference

In late September/early October I will be speaking at The Forge Conference a.k.a. FORGECON. I'm very excited about this opportunity because I believe in what they are doing.

I believe in their vision to create "a worship and tech training conference that is small and reasonably priced for teams to come to" and I love the fact they are committed to helping smaller local churches.

I remember being in small churches (I've worked in all sizes) and going to conferences where I would leave discouraged because I didn't have the budget, connections, or buy-in to pull off the eye candy and musical heroics the host churches had.
And, for some reason, I was lead to believe I had to strive to become what they were in order to be effective. I now know that isn't true. It's good to know there are conferences for creatives where they can network with and brainstorm with other like-minded and like-sized churches.

If you are in a small to medium sized church, consider registering for FORGECON.

This is a list of my talks for the conference:

Aggregates and Gateways: A Corporate Worship Philosophy and Methodology
The popular school of thought in planning weekend worship revolves around theme with the apex of the weekend being the message. In this widely accepted model, the message/sermon or theme is king—driving our choices for music, art, video, and whatever else we might “use” on a weekend. On one hand, this model provides ease of planning, a wealth of resources, tight transitions, clear communication, and a network of support. Conversely, the model has the potential for squelched creativity, lack of spontaneity, robotronic boredom, laziness, frustration, and lack of freedom in our weekend gatherings. We need a new model that doesn’t vilify the old, preserves what is actually working, and stretches us to question what we are actually trying to accomplish and how we go about getting there.

Sleeping Beauty: Towards a Theology of Beauty and Aesthetics
The word “ethos” has become quite a buzz word in the Church. Usually, when someone asks “what is the ethos of the church like?” they are really saying, “What is the vibe? Is it cool? Are they friendly? Do they do neat things? Is the music engaging? Would my kids dig it? etc.” However, the idea of ethos in Aristotelian thought is something much different and much more in line with a Hebrew understanding of beauty. If Aristotle stepped into your church and judged it’s ethos, you might be surprised at how he scores you.

All the Cool Kids are Singing It: A Plea for Indigenous Worship
We are killing our imaginations. As function continues to contend for beauty’s position, accessibility sucker-punches ingenuity, and uniformity trumps the hard work of creativity, we run the risk of creating “artists” in the church’s own image who in fact are not really artists. Or, at least, the artists are getting the art sucked out of them. Are church artists losing the ability to discern what is good, what is mediocre, and what is crap? A good metaphor for the artist in scripture is that of a priest or prophet—seeing the world as it is, experiencing joy and suffering with (and on behalf of) others, understanding the reality of the non-material world, challenging the world to be different, and surfacing a need to pay attention and see things differently. How are we doing?

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