Session Information

Brief information about many of the plenary and breakout sessions included in this year's conference. Click for a brief schedule of the 3-day conference and here to see a list of speakers.

Plenary Session Topics Include:

A Vision of Why We Sing – Created, Compelled, Commanded (Alistair Begg) . . .

In the opening talk, Alistair Begg sets the vision and challenge for this conference - a renewal in congregational singing and why it is so crucial to the life of a Christian and the life of a local church.

Sing to the Lord! – Singing and the Christian Mind (D.A. Carson) . . .

Don Carson helps us understand why what we sing is so critical to our understanding of God and ourselves, and how God's people in the Old Testament, New Testament and throughout history, have used Psalms, hymns and singing to articulate and codify their faith.

The Radical Witness of Congregational Singing (David Platt) . . .

David Platt's vision for mission through his writing, teaching and his work around the world with the International Mission Board has deeply influenced how many of us think about the Christian life. In this talk he not only brings a keener awareness of the church around the world and the still-growing need for the Gospel internationally, but also a reminder of how our weekly singing in church serves as a radical witness and informs our attitudes toward mission.

Singing and the Community of the Church (Paul Tripp) . . .

In this talk, Paul Tripp introduces us to how our singing binds us together as communities and how the body of Christ is represented by God's people singing as a picture of heaven. He will reflect on subjects from family worship to congregational worship and on many of the dimensions that bind us together, from intergenerationalism to multiculturalism to musical style to building effective community and healing relationships.

Singing and the Journeys of Life (Joni Eareckson Tada) . . .

Drawing on both her personal experience and her observations as a globally-recognized spokesperson of the disabled community, Joni Earekson Tada addresses the unique role of congregational singing, particularly as it speaks to those who are suffering in our congregations. Expect this session to break into spontaneous singing!

International Panel – What We Can Learn from Each Other . . .

This panel will feature a number of leaders from different countries and communities sharing their experiences of sung worship as part of church life and what we can learn from one another and how congregational singing serves to equip and inspire congregations locally and globally.

A Vision for a Singing Church (Keith Getty) . . .

Keith Getty will conclude the conference with thoughts and aspirations for the future of congregational singing in church. Drawing inspiration from Martin Luther's radical vision for congregational singing, Keith shares his desire for renewed participation and transformation in congregational worship as well as an expanded view of theology, artistry and congregationality and the building radical singing communities.

More Than 50 Breakout Sessions Include:

Promoting a Culture of Congregational Singing in the Local Church . . .

We know that singing "to one another" is commanded in the New Testament (Eph 5:19), but how can pastors and song leaders foster an enthusiastic approach to corporate song in their church? This session will explore how singing is part of every church member's calling to edify the local body of Christ. Drawing on scripture and the history of particular local churches, practical examples will be provided of steps that church leaders can take to focus their church music on the most important priorities, to promote a culture of singing, and to highlight the whole congregation's role in glorifying God through song.

Incorporating Theologically-Rich Songs in a Modern Context . . .

Modern hymn-writer, Keith Getty, goes in-depth in examining the theology and sing-ability of modern songs, and gives advice on how to deepen a congregation’s theology by singing great music.

Artistry in Congregational Singing – A Brief History of God’s People Singing through the Ages . . .

From the Psalms to Bach to the Contemporary Christian Movement, this session walks through major trends in congregational singing through the ages and looks at the intersection of culture, art and congregational worship in the modern day.

Luther’s Radical Vision of Church Music . . .

This session surveys the vision of Martin Luther for participation worship in churches and examines modern-day trends through this lens.

Singing and Suffering . . .

A guided from top thinkers of how congregational singing can help believers through the darkest nights of the soul and how it can prepare congregations to withstand suffering.

Singing the Psalms. . .

For millennia, the God’s people have incorporated the Psalms and an integral part of congregational worship. In this session we will explore the use of Psalms from an historical and theological perspective and examine the question of how the Psalms can shape and form God’s people today.

How the Gospel Shapes Corporate Worship . . .

This session helps church leaders think of the corporate gathering as being an extension of the Gospel narrative and unpacks how the Gospel shapes personal and corporate worship.

Singing in Tension – Understanding Celebration and Lament . . .

The Christian life is lived largely in tension. As we exist in the already-but-not-yet state of the Kingdom of God, the Psalms call us up into a worship that has expressions of joy and expressions of sadness, expressions of joy and expressions of lament. This talk is designed to examine ways in which congregational singing should encompass this beautiful tension.

Building Creative Congregations . . .

A moderated discussion on how to foster creativity in your congregation from songwriting, musicianship, art, poetry to all other forms.

Engaging with Millennials in Corporate Worship . . .

A seminar on ways to engage the younger generations in congregational singing in a way that is meaningful, missional and theologically rich.

The Joy of Intergenerational Singing . . .

Leading thinkers share their views on the importance of all generations singing together and how to accomplish generational unity in churches in a culture of consumerism.

Worship and Witness in Urban America . . .

This session examines cultural trends in urban settings and the role of music as a tool for unity and diversity in churches.

Family Worship . . .

The strength of congregational worship is found in vibrant individual and family worship. For generations, Christians have seen family worship as being a pivotal part of the life of a believer. Yet in the modern day with distractions and pressures abounding on every side, many families struggle to get traction with this key Christian discipline. This session examines reasons for family worship and gives practical tools and helps for parents desiring to incorporate this into their home life.

Teach It to Our Children . . .

Keith and Kristyn share their experiences in writing songs for children - from family devotions to creating the kids Hymnal series as well as teaching kid’s choirs, instrumental arrangements and trying to inspire a new generation with artistic creativity, theology and a love for singing.

Building the Next Generation . . .

This session discusses thoughts on building the next generation of leaders and church musicians who are passionate about expressing the Gospel through congregational singing.

Children’s Leadership 1 - Teaching Children to Sing their Faith in Church and at Home . . .

As children grow and learn, it is vital that we build in them solid foundations and truths of God to carry for life, and a song is one of the few things that can be given to a child that will be with them into old age. This session is part of a three-part series designed for children’s ministry leaders or those invested in the lives of children on the critical role of music in the spiritual formation of children.

Children’s Leadership 2 – Teaching Children to Sing in Parts . . .

As children grow and learn, it is vital that we build in them solid foundations and truths of God to carry for life, and a song is one of the few things that can be given to a child that will be with them into old age. This session is part of a three-part series designed for children’s ministry leaders or those invested in the lives of children on the critical role of music in the spiritual formation of children.

Children’s Leadership 3 – Songwriting for Children . . .

As children grow and learn, it is vital that we build in them solid foundations and truths of God to carry for life, and a song is one of the few things that can be given to a child that will be with them into old age. This session is part of a three-part series designed for children’s ministry leaders or those invested in the lives of children on the critical role of music in the spiritual formation of children.

Worship Leading Panel 1 . . .

Top worship leaders from a manifold of backgrounds and with over 100 years of cumulative experience serving the local church share their insights and struggles in leading congregations in corporate worship. A time of Q&A will also be included.

Worship Leading Panel 2 – Helping Those Under 30 to Sing and Sing Substance . . .

A moderated discussion panel on ways to encourage robust and substantive congregational singing, particularly in generations that didn’t grow up with it.

Worship Leading Panel 3 – Tools to Engage Your Congregation In Singing . . .

A moderated discussion on practical helps, tools and techniques for developing congregations that sing their faith.

Worship Leading Panel 4 – Developing Multiculturalism Through Congregational Singing . . .

A moderated discussion on how congregational singing can be a valuable tool in bridging cultural divides.

Fresh Streams: The Importance of Personal Worship for the Worship Leader . . .

Each week, the people of God meet to magnify Christ and bring glory to the creator through singing, praying, the preaching of God’s Word and other important elements. Yet many times, it is difficult to stay inspired and resist the temptation to view this sacred task as a stale weekly routine, especially for pastors and worship leaders. This session points to the vital discipline of personal worship and gives practical help to those on the brink of burnout.

New Songs for Your Church . . .

In this seminar, a number of different songwriters and leaders share 10 new songs they believe every church should have in their repertoire.

Great Hymns Your Church Must Know . . .

In this seminar, a number of different songwriters and leaders share 10 hymns they believe every church should know – you might be surprised!

Teaching Congregations to Sing in Parts . . .

For many worship leaders and pastors, teaching a congregation to engage and sing on Sunday morning can be difficult – especially in a culture that is generally no longer a singing culture. This session goes in-depth with practical helps and ideas on how to build a congregation that sings and sings well.

Serving a Small Congregation . . .

With the average sized church in the USA being under 100 people and a significantly lower number in many places around the world, many pastors and worship leaders have limited time and resources to serve their congregation. This session helps with tools and tips to help smaller churches sing and sing well across the globe.

Vocal Technique for Worship Leaders . . .

Top vocalists share their insights on singing in different styles of music and how critical proper vocal technique can be for longevity as a worship leader.

Pastor’s Panel 1 – Building a Theology of Congregational Worship . . .

A moderated discussion on building a theology of corporate worship and congregational singing. A time of Q&A will also be included.

Pastor’s Panel 2 – The Role of the Pastor in Congregational Singing . . .

A moderated discussion on the role of the pastor in congregational singing and worship. A time of Q&A will also be included.

Liturgy Panel 1 - How Liturgy Helps Create Diversity in Congregations . . .

A moderated discussion on what can be learned from liturgical expressions of worship and how liturgy can help foster multi-ethnic and multi-generational worship.

Liturgy Panel 2 – Liturgy in the Contemporary Church . . .

A moderated discussion of how modern churches are using timeless liturgy to strengthen congregational worship.

Christmas – It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year . . .

Keith Getty shares a vision for the unique opportunity that is the under-appreciated exhaustion of Christmas. Beginning with the perfect time it is for singing the best congregational music, they will share some thoughts as well as old carols you may not use, as well as new carols for adults and children to enjoy. There's nothing quite like a September Christmas sing-a-long.

Lessons on Choir Leadership . . .

A moderated discussion of six choral directors from different backgrounds and traditions asking how choirs can help congregational singing.

Technology in Worship 1 – How Technology Can Support Congregational Singing . . .

One of the most criticized and often misunderstood elements of corporate worship is the use of technology. This first session addresses a philosophy of the use of technological aids and examines how those elements can help – or hurt – congregational singing.

Technology in Worship 2 – Sound Mixing Principals that Support the Congregation . . .

Building on the philosophies of session one, this session goes in-depth to help you hone your craft and learn how to pursue excellence in the realm of sound mixing in a way that encourages congregational singing.

Technology in Worship 3 – Using lighting and other tools to support congregational singing . . .

Building on the philosophical foundation of the first session, this final session in a three-part series covers the use of lighting and other technological helps such as pro-presenter that can encourage congregational participation.

Orchestral Music Panel – Classical Music in the 21st Century Church . . .

Some of the top practitioners in the country share their views and experiences on the use of orchestras in churches and ways to help infuse classical elements into modern contexts.

For Musicians and Songwriters:

Leading from the Piano . . .

A group class setting designed to help piano players and worship leaders sharpen their skills in leading worship from behind the keyboard.

Piano Accompanist Masterclass . . .

Work with world class musicians and instrumentalists to deepen your knowledge and pursue artistic excellence in a way that encourages congregational singing.

Guitar Masterclass . . .

Work with world class musicians and instrumentalists to deepen your knowledge and pursue artistic excellence in a way that encourages congregational singing.

Drum Masterclass . . .

Work with world class musicians and instrumentalists to deepen your knowledge and pursue artistic excellence in a way that encourages congregational singing.

Bass Guitar Masterclass 1 . . .

Work with world class musicians and instrumentalists to deepen your knowledge and pursue artistic excellence in a way that encourages congregational singing.

Congregational Songwriting Masterclass 1 . . .

One of the major contributions made to congregational worship by Martin Luther was the creation of one of the world’s first formative hymnals. Bringing together the best poets, musicians and lyricists from all over Europe, Luther’s desire was to compel people to sing rich theology in worship. In the same spirit, this session seeks to foster creativity and artistry with top hymn writers from around the world sharing their knowledge for a new generation.

Getty Music Band Panel 1 – Playing Your Musical Instrument to Help Congregational Singing . . .

A moderated discussion for musicians on how to foster creative excellence while supporting congregational singing.

Songwriting, Collaboration and New Songs . . .

Keith Getty, Stuart Townend & Kristyn Getty do a unique collaborative presentation and q&a on their work as songwriters that have cumulatively created almost 100 top 2000 CCLI songs between U.K. & U.S.A. This rare appearance in America from Stuart will include stories behind established songs and some of their latest works. All attendees will receive free sheet music!

Lyric Writing . . .

Stuart Townend makes a rare appearance this side of the Atlantic to share his thoughts and vision for writing lyrics for congregational singing. His lyrics such as 'how deep the fathers love', 'in Christ alone', 'power of the cross' are considered by many to have set the tone for 21st century.

Writing Melodies for Congregations to Sing . . .

Some of the world’s top melody writers and composers share their experiences and practical helps for composing song melodies that elicit better congregational singing.

Songwriter’s Panel – Navigating the World of Music Business . . .

As part of our breakouts designed to help foster creativity and rich theology for songwriters, the question is often asked, “now what?” Taught by industry leaders, this intensely practical session helps to answer that questions such as co-writing splits, copyright legalities, distribution models, ways to publicize your songs to the local church and more.