South to host first North American worship conference

By: Brad Rowland

In many corners of The Salvation Army world, the growth of contemporary worship is evident and, in facilitating that development, the Southern Territory will host the inaugural North American Worship Leader’s Conference. The event is scheduled to take place Jan. 24-27, 2019, in Atlanta, with representatives from each of the four United States territories, as well as the Canada and Bermuda Territory, coming together for a fruitful time of instruction and worship.

Territories were provided an allotment of 10 worship leaders who are actively engaged, with the hope of facilitating tangible growth in their collective ministry.

“We’re bringing in worship leaders that are actively engaged in corps and divisional contemporary worship leading,” said Joshua Powell, territorial contemporary worship specialist. “This gives us a chance to set up mentoring opportunities and support systems, while also giving worship leaders a chance to establish contacts and take in high-end instruction to further their local work.”

The conference will feature six worship sessions – including classes centering on songwriting, worship transitions, song selection, mentoring, worship committees and embracing cultural diversity – and six general sessions, including the elements of worship discussed during the weekend, with guest speakers from across the country. Randy Bonifield will serve as a musical guest and instructor for the weekend, with Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer, Captain Marion Platt, Captain Nesan Kistan (USA West) and Captain Swetha Vincent (USA East) set to minister in general sessions.

While this is the first such gathering of the five territories, plans are underway to hold the event biannually, with the goal of supporting corps and divisions by equipping leaders for congregational worship. Resources focusing on worship leadership and development will be highlighted throughout the assembly, with the technical aspects of worship planning and execution at the forefront.

Still, the primary focus is on worship and bringing others to Christ by whatever means necessary.

“The goal is to pour into these worship leaders,” said Powell, “and to equip, empower and inspire them to be more effective and intentional in local worship leading. That is the focus, and we believe that the conference will be able to accomplish that objective while simply gathering in his name and worshipping together.”