The church needs to learn from what is happening in global music culture, according to Keith Getty, the renowned modern hymn-writer and founder of SING! Conference.
This year, Getty’s team hopes to accomplish that goal with the SING! Conference, as it expands virtually to six continents.
With the theme “Singing the Scriptures,” the conference, which will be held online Aug. 30-Sept. 2, will feature guest teachers, speakers, musicians, worship leaders and artists. The conference will be filmed from multiple locations worldwide.
“What is happening in the global church today is extremely exciting,” Getty said. “Christianity is the largest religion and the fastest growing religion in the history of mankind. … It’s an amazing thing to learn about what God is doing around the world and to be part of that.”
Getty noted that many of the hymns sung in America are not from American writers. Thus, he said, bringing together God’s people and their unique musical and worship cultures is vital for a true understanding of unity and for gaining a picture of the ministry happening outside one’s personal context.
“In a time like COVID-19 with all the issues that are happening right now, to bring God’s people together to hear the Word of God is such a critical thing,” Getty said.
The conference will include pre-recorded worship led by Keith and Kristyn Getty from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, with voices of individuals from all over the world added to the choral mix; speakers and artists such as John Piper, Alistair Begg, Trip Lee, Shane & Shane and Steven Curtis Chapman; new music premiers from the Gettys; behind the song interviews with writers of notable hymns and worship songs; Q&A sessions; and more than 50 breakout sessions.
The videos and materials from SING! will be available for 90 days after the conference. Getty said the goal is to create a line-up of resources for individuals and groups to dive into during the fall months.
“If you sign up for the SING! Conference, you then have three months to enjoy it,” Getty explained. “What we’re trying to do is build people up for the fall, so they have these three months where they can really just engage in this stuff and go deep.”
The theme “Singing the Scriptures” will focus on how believers can engage in beautiful art, sound theology and vibrant worship, all geared toward diving deep in God’s Word.
“Our goal was never to be performers,” Getty said. “Our goal was to help bring hymns that teach the Bible more deeply, that help people have a deeper understanding of the Lord. Being able to bring that online, to bring pastors and worship leaders and musicians together, is a special privilege. We couldn’t be more excited.”
Although the halt on touring because of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a loss of revenue and energy, Getty said they are glad to take the conference global and to see what new level of impact and engagement the Lord might have in store.
“The SING! Conference is unique because it takes theology as seriously as it takes singing, as seriously as it takes the arts,” Getty said. “It’s a very unique conference in the middle of everything. People need to go deep into the scriptures. People need to be building these singing habits for themselves, for their own sanity, for their families, for their churches.”
He said the current environment and attitude of the world amplifies the importance of a focused effort to know God through His Word, as well as the ability to express that understanding through worship and music.
“It’s a unique moment in history for the Christian family,” Getty said. “This is a time for us, having more time with our families, to really build solid family patterns. For us as individuals, it’s a time to spend, to give three months of stuff to read, to sing, to engage with. I believe in the importance of beautiful art. I’m excited about what this music is going to do.”
Registration for the SING! Conference is available at gettymusicworshipconference.com.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tess Schoonhoven is a Baptist Press staff writer.)