Arise Session 1—Nancy Beach

The conference opened with a drum line. Very cool. A group of about 10 very energetic drummers took to the stage and amazed all with their chops. Next up was a time of worship with the Willow Creek band. They sounded great. I notice that the rig sounds smoother than it did last year. The mix was quite good (center mezanine). I seem to recall that they implemented a new, lower maximum SPL here not that long ago; it sound quieter than I remember from last year, but no less powerful. Like I always say, louder is not better—better is better.

As Nancy welcomed us, we were invited into a drama. The scene was very powerful—three people struggling with three distinct secret sins. Not that groundbreaking, but thought provoking. It was very well done.

Nancy then shared some thoughts with us. Here are the notes I took.

  • Psalm 40
  • We are called to be faithful, not produce results.
  • Think about the all the times God has rescued me just in the last year.
  • Doing things for God is not what He wants.
  • True worship always leads to a point of surrender.
  • David was given a new song to teach the congregation.
  • It is when we spend time alone with God that the "new songs" come about.
  • Are we guilty of telling the awesome story of God in the same old tired ways?
  • We need to be careful that we do not do ministry from memory instead of imagination. Mark Batterson
  • We need to fight to stay innovative.
  • Are we painting the full picture of God? Are we balancing worship and teaching? Present the Word of God in it's fullness.
  • God loves the church more than we do. We have to remind ourselves of that. Often.

Finally, we got to see Craig's story. Craig is a guy who was convicted and sentenced to jail for vehicular homicide. He found God in jail and his live hasn't been the same. The story was presented via video, and, interestingly enough, dance. Time won't let me describe it fully, but it was quite innovative. The dance mirrored the words that were spoken not so much in direct action, but in tempo and movement.

I wish I could upload pictures. The set is really cool. There are several sections of truss wrapped in translucent white cloth angling up from the stage. The side walls of the stage have sort of a fish-scale look to them, though the scales look like 14" cymbals. And the back wall is a huge video screen. It's bigger than the side LED screens, if you're familiar with the size of those.

Well, that's a quick summary of the first session. It's great to be here again this year and to be refreshed. Gilles Ste-Croix of Cirque du Soleil is up next. That should be interesting!