Ky. Baptist pastors, worship leaders encouraged at Sing! conference

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Jason “Bubba” Stewart already has a date circled on his calendar for 2020.


Stewart, who is the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s worship and music consultant, will be going back to the Sing! music conference in Nashville after being a part of it Aug. 19-21.


More than 13,000 participated in one of the largest music conferences anywhere and that included dozens of Kentucky Baptist pastors and worship leaders. A concert at Bridgeport Arena with a 1,000-voice choir for Keith and Kristyn Getty took place Aug. 20.


“If I could take every KBC pastor and every church worship leader, whether fulltime, bivocational or volunteer, I would take them,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to learn and experience ways to help congregations sing.”


Stewart said it was a blessing to see not only worship leaders but pastors attending the conference simply because they share in leading worship at the respective churches.


He estimated that three or four dozen pastors and/or worship leaders came to the conference.


“Jeremy Atwood (the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Glasgow) said it was one of the most worshipful times he’d ever been involved with,” Stewart said. “That says something.”


The three-day conference was at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and drew people from all over the United States and Canada. Hundreds of vendors were also lined up for the participants to peruse.


“It was for the encouragement of the church leaders to help congregations sing better, bottom line,” Stewart said. “There were tons of resources there and dozens of breakouts.”


Stewart hears from worship leaders daily about what they need to do to engage the congregations in Kentucky Baptist churches. There’s no magic cure, he said, but finding the music that your congregation enjoys tops the to-do list.


“Each worship leader needs to find his church’s playlist, whatever that may be,” Stewart said. “We run the gamut here in Kentucky. What they like in western Kentucky may be totally different than eastern Kentucky.


“If our congregations aren’t singing, we’re losing a big part of the worship experience.”


Stewart said he sometimes asks the congregation to sing with him if they are standing with hands in pockets or arms crossed.


“Sometimes people just want to be asked,” he said.


The conference touched on several ways to engage congregations of all types and sizes, he said. This year’s theme was the Life of Christ which focused on Christmas and Easter music. Next year’s conference, he said, was going to be focused on the scriptures for songs.


“New music is always presented,” he said. “It’s a great conference.”


Next year’s dates are Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and 2.

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