One Worship Conference to Pay Attention To

Zac HicksWorship ResourcesLeave a Comment

When I get really feisty, I have to admit that an anti-establishment streak runs through my veins. In reference to the “worship industry” (I know, I know…the phrase is laden with problems), I’m not a complete naysayer. I hope you’ve seen that I try to encourage a reform-from-within stance rather than be a rock-hurler from the other side of the fence. But I am delighted to see, dancing around the inside and outside of the worship industry’s borders, folks with enough theological moorings and influence to launch something as robust as the Austin Stone Worship Conference looks to be. It’s happening in 12 days.

I can’t speak from experience–this conference is the first of its kind. I can only speak based on my relationships with many of the folks participating in the conference’s leadership–people like Aaron Ivey, Matt Boswell, Bobby Gilles, Mike Cosper, Michael Bleecker, and Matt Papa.  Here’s what I like about what I do see and know: 

  • the conference is more holistic than many worship conferences I’ve been to or seen promoted–it is attempting a more organic weaving of the thought-worlds of church, worship, mission, culture, arts, and the like; this is very attractive to me
  • the artists and presenters are people with whom I share significantly overlapping philosophical visions for worship–I know what many of these guys and gals write and say, and I think they need to be said
  • the people that I know will attend this are the people that I desperately want to network with and continue to build relationships with as we forge ahead in this journey of helping shape a future for historically-aware, missionally-primed, biblically-saturated, gospel-driven, artistically-sensitive evangelical worship.
  • it’s in Austin…come on–it’s certainly the coolest city in Texas, and ranks at least in the top 10 in the US

And then there’s Austin Stone’s new worship album, The King of Love, which will be released on October 22. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to it, and, frankly, there are just certain songs that I have on my life’s soundtrack’s repeat right now.  Like “Jesus is Better,” whose Bridge sings:

In all my sorrows, Jesus is better
Make my heart believe
In every victory, Jesus is better
Make my heart believe

Than any comfort, Jesus is better
Make my heart believe
More than all riches, Jesus is better
Make my heart believe

Our souls declaring: Jesus is better
Make my heart believe
Our song eternal: Jesus is better
Make my heart believe 

It just cuts straight to the heart for me. I love, too, that the album has some sweet hymn re-tunes.

Truth be told, I’m not going, but I wish I were. I’m in a transition phase here in South Florida, my job’s a little crazy right now, and my time away from family is at its quota. But I have no doubt that I’m missing out on something quite special. If you’re in and around Texas in two weeks, you should go.  If you’re an impulsive procrastinator, consider this post a wonderful nudge that it’s not too late to book a plane ticket and get over there!

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