Hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty hosted their first-ever worship music conference last year. The inaugural event drew more than 4,000 attendees. The second annual “Sing!” conference, Sept. 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn., garnered nearly twice as many pastors, worship leaders and other Christians eager to hear dozens of speakers and artists.
Getty Music photo by Alli Rader
Keith and Kristyn Getty lead the 2018 Sing! Conference in Nashville, Tenn.
The Gettys developed the gathering to help church leaders “build a biblical understanding and creative vision for congregational singing,” according to the event’s website.
The program schedule featured well-known pastors and theologians such as John Piper, Alistair Begg and John MacArthur, along with worship leaders and performing artists including Trip Lee, Shane & Shane, Bob Kauflin and John Patitucci. It also featured numerous breakout sessions and auxiliary events, all focused on the biblical Psalms.
J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the Biblical Recorder he believes the conference is timely and important.
“Worship is central to the Christian life,” Greear said. “The quality of our preaching, the effectiveness of our ministries and the reach of our missions will never exceed the depth of our worship. I’m so grateful that God has raised up the Gettys at this time to call the church to a Christ-exalting, gospel-rich theology and practice of worship.”
Greear spoke in a plenary session about the presence of evil and suffering in the world, topics he said are the background for many of the Psalms and issues for every generation, especially younger generations. Greear recounted the suffering of Job in the Bible and drew four lessons from the Psalms that God teaches His people.
First, he said God has an infinite perspective on suffering and injustice. People think of God as a “slightly bigger, slightly smarter” version of themselves, Greear said. “To understand infinite justice, you need infinite perspective,” he explained.
“The questions are fine. The doubts are OK. They’re not new in our generation. The psalmists asked them, but what the Psalms labor to do is show the right posture we have to have in asking those questions.”
Second, Greear said God’s purposes are guaranteed.
“Satan’s strategy to destroy God’s people only serves to further God’s purposes. … The best illustration, of course, is the cross itself. Because at the cross God took Satan’s worst attack and turned it into the greatest thing that’s ever happened for humanity – salvation. Believer, you can rest assured that God is doing the same thing with your struggles.”
Third, Greear said God’s promises are everlasting.
“The psalmist encourages us, as we lift our eyes to the coming restoration in the length of eternity, because in the light of eternity the life we’ve lived so far will seem like a few seconds in a never-ending day.”
Lastly, Greear said God’s presence is pledged. “When I feel abandoned, I know that I’m not, because Jesus was abandoned for me so that I will be eternally embraced,” he explained.
“I know the Father will never turn His face away from me because He turned His face away from Jesus in my place. Like Job, I may not know what my suffering means, but I know what it cannot mean. It cannot mean that God has forsaken me or that He has lost control.”
Attendees traveled to the event from more than 30 countries, according to a spokesperson for Getty Music.
More than a dozen people received scholarships to cover a significant portion of the costs to attend.
The international focus represented Getty Music’s “desire to expand our reach internationally and serve the global church through training, resources and teaching,” the spokesperson said.
The 2019 Sing! Conference is scheduled for Aug. 19-21 in Nashville, Tenn. Getty Music also plans to host similar events in multiple locations across Europe in 2019, possibly including London, Paris and Belfast.
“These will be a part of our global Sing! initiative to help transform the way churches and individuals think about worship in the home, church and as individuals,” said the spokesperson.
David Platt, outgoing president of the International Mission Board and teaching pastor for McLean Bible Church in the Washington, D.C., metro area, preached from Psalm 67 in a plenary session.
Platt spoke about the connection between God’s blessing and God’s mission.
“God blesses His people for the sake of His praise among all peoples,” he said, calling the idea “absolutely critical to understanding Christianity and the purpose of your life.”
He explained how God communicates that message throughout the whole Bible, giving short illustrations from the biblical stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the Exodus, the Levitical law, Joshua and the fall of Jericho, Daniel in the lions’ den and more.
Platt also warned about the dangers of material prosperity, noting how modern day Americans represent the most wealthy population to have ever lived.
“We are prone to disconnect God’s blessing in our lives from God’s purpose for our lives,” he said. “Christianity is not ultimately about us, but that His glory would be known among all nations.”
In conclusion, Platt exhorted listeners to realize that “all the peoples of the earth will one day give Him praise. … If you know where all of history is going, then get in on it.”
Find out more information about the Sing! 2018 conference and future events at gettymusicworshipconference.com.