NASHVILLE (BP) – Several Southern Baptists were among the noteworthy speakers and worship artists at the 2021 Sing! Worship Conference, hosted by hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty.
The fifth annual conference, held Sept. 13-15, attracted a large crowd to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
“When we sing, we’re singing worship to our Lord, but we’re also singing to one another and encouraging one another in what we believe and in what we affirm,” Keith Getty said as he opened the conference Monday (Sept 13).
After last year’s conference was hosted solely online with recorded videos, this year’s conference was live with an available online option. The theme for the conference was “In Christ Alone” and operated under the tagline “Reset. Restore. Reunite.”
The theme was appropriate, as this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Gettys’ well-known hymn “In Christ Alone.”
Monday’s evening session featured a time of worship, including a performance from the Gettys that included all the songs from their upcoming album.
Also Monday, songwriters and worship leaders Matt Papa and Matt Boswell premiered their full upcoming album. Boswell is pastor of Trails Church in Prosper, Texas, and assistant professor of church music and worship at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Other notable musical guests at the conference included Chris Tomlin, Shane and Shane, CityAlight and Bill Gaither.
Notable speakers included Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President (SEBTS) Danny Akin, John Piper, David Platt, Alistair Begg, Paul David Tripp, Dane Ortlund and SEBTS professor Karen Swallow Prior.
H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., spoke during the opening plenary session Monday afternoon about focusing on God alone during worship.
“True worship is God-centered,” Charles said. “We don’t gather to proclaim our cause. We gather to proclaim the virtues of Him who called us into the marvelous light.”
Charles, who has released two albums of original music himself, preached out of 1 Peter 2:4-5 about the Church both proclaiming Christ through worship and relying on Him in the midst of trials.
“We are not the ones who nurture the Church, sustain the Church or advance the Church,” Charles said.
“If this extended pandemic has taught us anything, I hope it has taught us the Lord doesn’t need us. Pastoral leadership, ministry leadership, worship leadership do not grow the Church. … The Church stands firm because Christ is the Cornerstone. In Christ the Cornerstone, we are safe, strong and secure.”
Charles acknowledged that the last year and a half has been challenging, but Christ is sufficient for meeting the needy where they are.
“It is in Christ alone that we find total sufficiency for all of the needs of our lives, especially the deep needs of our souls …,” he said. “There are many of us who gather here weak and weary and worn out. How do we reset, find renewal and restoration – as we come to Him.”
During the final conference session Wednesday (Sept. 16), Keith Getty had a conversation with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin about living a missional life and the role of worship in fulfilling the Great Commission.
“At Southeastern I’ve had music professors that were the most active in going to the nations in my entire faculty,” Akin said.
“They (music professors) recognized the value of teaching different people groups songs in their heart language, not just exporting our songs, but teaching them how to create, how to write, how to put melody to songs in their heart language.
“For the musicians here, I would say get your passports. … God can use you in an incredible way because music is universal and barriers come down very easily in that context. Barriers come down and friendships are quickly established around God’s great gift of music.”