Thursday, June 14, 2007

So, my first Willow Arts Conference ever! I (David) arrived yesterday with my Technical Coordinator Jonathan Haage from Five Oaks. We were privileged to be able to ride with Joel and Kelly from the Constance Free Church ministry and had a delightful chat for the 6 hour drive down. We all met up with our good friend Dan Leverance at the hotel and proceeded to head out to the nearest ColdStone Creamery to help prepare our minds for bed. (I've heard that cookie dough ice cream will do that for you...)

This morning we arrived at Willow to be greeted by around 30 different street musicians all around the Willow campus who were invited to come and play outside of the conference. Cool idea! We were also given a USB wristband as our pass to get in and out of the conference, and it was right then that I knew this conference would be speaking my language. There's nothing that says I Love You like a USB wristband...

We had 3 main sessions today consisting of a National Geographic photojournalist Dewitt Jones, Nancy Beech - Willow's resident worship guru, and the author of a book called "They Like Jesus, but Not the Church" named Dan Kimball. The David Crowder Band led worship for the opening session also, and they are much more exciting in person. Is that even possible? :) I find that they are singable in person since they sing almost everything exactly like their albums. We had a good discussion on this idea following their time of worship with the group we were with.
Interesting discussions through the emerging church debate of the third session, and many different eye opening ideas around the emerging generation of church and secular culture.

We ended up at the end of the day going back for Willow's Wednesday evening Believer's service with worship from the David Crowder Band and the message from the author of the book, "Blue Like Jazz." Great talk from Donald Miller on the idea of narrative and story in and throughout the Bible.

We visited the local Olive Garden for dinner at around 9:15p.m. tonight, and helped close the place down for the night. There's nothing quite like a "Tour of Italy" as you head to bed, but it does inspire new ideas and give you fuel to tackle new ideas.

Last night, the 5 guys from our group from Constance and Five Oaks sat up and brainstormed and worked on a new worship arts blog and website for the Five Oaks worship arts team. We had a meeting last week with the entire team to talk about how to stay connected, and one of the ways that kept coming back to the table was to start a little slice of the web that would be dedicated to news, announcements, what we're thinking, and why we're thinking it. I think it's turning out pretty decent. Joel from Constance came up with the name of "Wires & Plugs" for the technical portion of the site, and it really turned it into something cool. We'll still be working on it throughout the weekend, and we'll see what all we've come up with by the end of the week. We'll keep you posted on how it goes since this is a foray into the unknown for us. There's nothing quite like the ability to learn from other people doing it first, right? A special thanks to the Constance guys (and Dan's nephew Mitch from Michigan) for their help pulling this all together.

More to come from Tuesday's sessions. Tuesday is the day that we all go to different breakout sessions for the day, and i'm sure this will give us great fodder for the new website and blogs. See you tomorrow! D


Jenn Mealy said...

What an exciting time! I am so jealous. I love conferences like that that get your mind going and spark new ideas.

On a side note I am currently reading the book They like Jesus, But on the Church. I love it!!! Now if I could just get some pastors and board members I know to read it....

TheGaffords said...

It's a great book from what i've heard, and I look forward to reading it in the near future. I'm just now finishing a book called "Transformation" that has excellent ideas for the American church. It's a good 180 page quick read for those who haven't read anything in awhile and need a place to start!