Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

Earlier this week I participated in the National Worship Leader Conference in Leawood, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. This conference, sponsored by Worship Leader Magazine, gathered 1500-2000 people from throughout the country so that they might grow as leaders of worship in their churches. Many of these folks were professional worship leaders/pastors, but many were senior pastors, band members, or lay folks involved in leading worship in their churches. From my observation, the average age of a conference goer was about 40. Many were from mainline churches. (Photo: The lobby of the church where the conference was held.)
The conference featured headlines such as Michael W. Smith, Paul Baloche, Marva Dawn, Greg Laurie, and Scotty Smith. Then there were folks like me, who taught workshops on a wide variety of subjects. I spoke on “Leading All Generations in Worship” and “Family Dynamics of Pastoral Leadership.”
I was impressed by the commitment of those who spent a fair amount of time and money (in a slow economy) to grow as leaders of worship. What an encouraging sign for the church!
I was also impressed by how Worship Leader Magazine puts on a conference.  It was excellently planned and led. I would say this even if I weren’t on the editorial board of Worship Leader. I am proud to be associated with Chuck Fromm (publisher) and his outstanding team.
I was also greatly impressed by our venue, the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.  This United Methodist Church is one of the most outstanding mainline churches in the country, with a forthright commitment to evangelism, community, and ministry in the world. Founded by Adam Hamilton in 1990, the Church of the Resurrection now has over 12,000 members, with more than 7,500 in weekly worship services. All of this growth has happened in a period of time when most mainline denominations, including my own, have been losing members by the tens of thousands. Perhaps we should pay more attention to what’s been going on in Leawood, Kansas.

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