Two weekends ago I had the chance to attend the Christian Musician Summit with 5 others from our team at Redemption. The CMS is an annual event that has been going on for the last 10 years. I’ve gone a couple of times in the past, but a bit of a loss in interest coupled with various circumstantial realities have made it so that I haven’t attended in a few years. But this year’s lineup of featured presenters and musicians intrigued me, and we had a great group interested in going, so we made the investment. There was a lot of great stuff. Here are just a few of my highlights:
1. Worshiping with Crowder David Crowder has been an important part of my journey as a worship leader. A bit of history…it was over 12 years ago that I first heard him as a junior in high school at a Christ in Youth conference, and my entire youth group fell in love with the band. I was blown away hearing his arrangement of “Come Thou Fount” – at that point in my life I had pretty much written hymns off as having no relevance to me or in “modern” worship. Suddenly hymns were cool. Beyond that, I had never been so inspired by someone’s acoustic guitar stylings – I literally went home and learned every single one of Crowder’s acoustic guitar riffs from his “All I Can Say” album. I don’t know that any other person or group has had as much influence on my guitar playing as he has. Beyond that, seeing Crowder and the band reconfirmed to me what I had been sensing for a couple of years – that God was calling me lead others in worship. I vividly remember one night at the conference worshiping down in front of the stage, kneeling and tearily belting the old Delirious song, “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” and knowing that I was singing my life’s mission statement.
I’ve seen Crowder probably a half-dozen times or so since those conferences in high school. Each time has been great and I’ve enjoyed seeing the band evolve over the years. I was bummed when I heard the news that they were breaking up a year ago, and then excited to see that he would be at CMS this year. He’s formed an all bluegrass band, and they just performed versions of previous DC*B songs. I’m excited Crowder is still around making music, and can’t wait to see what new thing he comes up with next.
2. Teaching from Bob Kauflin This guy has so much great wisdom for worship leaders. I attended his session on “practicing spontaneity” in worship, and was challenged and encouraged to ask God each time I lead: “What do you want with this group of people today?” We spent time as a group singing through a Psalm, inviting the Spirit to reveal, teach, and move. The biggest takeaway for me from this session was remembering that we love, serve and worship a living God and risen Savior. Worshiping Him is more about meeting with Him than it is about simply carrying out my plan.
4. Hanging with the RC crew I feel so blessed to get to have the team that I do right now. We’re a young band of mostly newish musicians, but the way these guys soak up everything they can when it comes to learning how to better worship God and lead others in the experience gets me excited. I loved learning with and I love leading alongside guys who exhibit such a passion for Jesus and His church.