Carolyn Arends speaks at Redeemer worship conference
Hundreds gather for eighth annual Refresh and Renew worship conference
2 min. read
October 1, 2015

Worship planners, praise team members, pastors, students, musicians and others enjoyed a time to refocus before the busyness of their work begins again at Refresh and Renew, Redeemer’s annual worship conference on Saturday, September 26.

The day started, appropriately enough, with worship. One of the highlights was singing an adaptation of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1, developed into a worship song by Jeremy Zeyl and the band Body and Soul Collective.

Listen to Body and Soul Collective perform their song, I Am Not My Own, an adaptation of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1:

Redeemer faculty and other guest speakers led more than twenty workshops throughout the day, on topics including mentoring young adults, songwriting, using visual art as worship and incorporating silence in worship. In one session, vocal coach Charmaine Brown spoke about blending voices in worship. In another, Phil Irish, a professor at Redeemer, offered a workshop where participants were invited to do lectio divinaa traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer—with paint. Participants read and reflected on a verse together, and then painted their response to the verse.

Singer, songwriter and author Carolyn Arends gave the keynote address, titled Jesus Is Our Worship Leader. Carolyn has released eleven albums, authored three books and written for numerous publications including Christianity Today and Faith Today.

In her address, Arends encouraged the gathered worship leaders to move beyond the idea of worship as a service they provide for their communities. “Like aerobics instructors, we model a life of worship and shout encouragement back, hoping to inspire as many as we can,” Arends joked. Using the words of J.B. Torrance, she encouraged leaders to instead redefine worship as the “gift of participating through the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s communion with the Father.” Arends asked the audience in closing: “How much of our worship is a conversation? Does our worship make space for both revelation and response?”

Listen to Carolyn Arends perform her song Willing:

Just as it opened, the conference closed with worship. Following the challenge of Arends’ address, it was a time of both song and reflective prayer. For those who wanted to continue worshiping that evening, Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church hosted a concert featuring performers from the conference.

Redeemer looks forward to gathering again to experience and learn about worship at next year’s September Refresh and Renew conference.

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