Friday, January 10, 2020

Equip Music Ministry Conference 2020 Day 1

I signed up for the Equip Music Ministry Conference 2020 and headed to Heritage Center today. It is a Friday and I expected that traffic will be bad and so I started quite early.

I signed up for these electives, the first two for today and the other two tomorrow:
1. How Do I Know If I Have Really Worshipped?
2. Songwriting
3. Song Leading
4. The Ministry of Sound

The conference began with a sermon by Rev Ong Meng Chai on True Worship based on John 4:1-26 and Mark 7:1-8. It is a good sermon that highlights on 3 characteristics of true worship. And if we have not worshipped in all 3 of these, we have worshipped in vain. And it also important to know that when there is true worship, there is also false worship.

Firstly, it's rational. It engages the mind, the intellect and understanding. Next, it's spiritual and not tied to any location. He warns us also not to think that spiritual is all touchy and feely but that the Spirit himself is the Spirit of truth and so it's back to the first point of being rational. And finally, it's moral. This is when Jesus asked the Samaritan woman in John 4 about her husband, which she had 5 and the man she is with now is not even her husband. Worship is a soul searching exercise, we are to repent and set our lives right in Christ. 

We then had a teaching session by Rev Andrew Cheah on what worship and church is. He spent a lot of time on Bible verses showing us how the Bible uses the word worship in 4 different ways (proskuneo, latria/latreuo, leitourgeo and sebaomai). In conclusion, the Bible stresses that worship is Gospel-centered, it's all encompassing in our lives in relation to God and in using music to help and love each other in church. 

The one thing I am not sure though is his interpretation of Colossians 3:16: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (ESV). He said that we are to sing songs to minister to each other in church but from the verse, I see that the "one another" refers to only teaching and admonishing, while singing is to God alone. I don't know. This is something I need to read up on.

For my elective, I was looking forward to the session on How Do I Know If I Have Really Worshipped? because as a worshipper, I have not always felt that I have worshipped. And as a worship leader, what do I need to look out for to lead and teach the congregation to really and fully worship the only true God. But the session was not as I had expected. The speaker spent all his time on the externals, like atmosphere and presentation and instruments, etc. I now need to do some reading and thinking to answer the question that they have stirred up in me. 

My final elective for the day is songwriting. I have not been trained on this before even though I have co-written two songs for weddings and so I had a good learning curve on this one. There is a lot to read up on, too many technical terms I need to check out. I found an online course on songwriting from Berklee College of Music and I might just sign up and attend. 

Oh, there is now even more to do in 2020 and it's just the second week!

But it's a good day of fellowship, of music and songs, of worship and adoration of the great Yahweh.


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