Written by Gloria Diavangama, Arlington Corps
“Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your name. Because You have made wonders marvelous and beautiful— the most ancient designs holding strong and sure”. Isaiah 25:1 was the theme scripture that carried the first North American Salvation Army Worship Leaders conference. This event was held at the USA South Territorial Headquarters in Atlanta, GA on January 24-26 of this year, and gathered worship leaders from all four USA territories and the Canada-Bermuda territory. The vision of this event was brought forward by the Southern Territory’s Contemporary Music Specialist, Joshua Powell.
I was honored, along with Stefan Manoharan of the Bryan/College Station Corps to be a delegate at the conference from the Texas Division, and to sit for a weekend under the teachings of true servants of the Most High, who shared their spiritual and practical knowledge and experience in the praise and worship ministry. We got the opportunity to be equipped through a variety of workshops that ranged from technical tools such as accessing loops and tracks and online aids, songwriting and transitions, to social and spiritual development which covered incorporating cultural diversity in worship and developing holy instinct… a wealth of information to help us be more effective in our service to God and His people.
We were also challenged in our own spiritual walk through our general sessions’ speakers.
Captain Esan Kistan from the Western Territory reminded us of what it meant to be a true worshiper, using the example of Abraham in Genesis 22. He did not rely on the natural/physical, but trusted the supernatural/spiritual, and was willing to lay what was most precious to him on the altar even when he did not understand God’s plan.
Courtney Rose from Chicago, Illinois focused on the fact that we were created to worship our Creator through everything that we do, and are invited to participate in His work on earth.
Randy Bonifield, worship pastor at Christ Community Church in Overland Park, Kansas through Ephesians 4 taught us that God gifted us for the shepherding, teaching and loving of His people; as worship leaders that is our main job.
We were also blessed to hear from Captain Marion Platt of the Evangeline Booth College who challenged us to ask ourselves whether or not we are in alignment with God’s character whose purpose is static, but whose procedure is dynamic. Our weekend ended with a powerful message from Lt. Colonel Allan Hofer of the Southern Territory that inspired us to say, like Moses: “If Your presence doesn’t travel with me, then don’t lead us away from here”- Exodus 33:15.
I can honestly say, that I left the conference feeling better equipped, and more ready than ever to serve my Lord effectively; but more importantly this experience allowed me to better understand the duty that my Master has charged me with, and realize even more of how much I need to really make myself completely bendable in His hand, because I have been redeemed for His service, and I live to reflect who He is. To Him be all the glory and honor!
In HIS service,