I consider myself very fortunate to be able to attend a wide variety of conferences and trade shows. The connections made, the information gathered and the fun we have is priceless to me. While I thought I was pretty much done with conferences for the year, it looks like we have the chance to try out a brand-new one this fall. 

It’s called SALT and is designated “The Visual Worship Conference.” I’ve been getting to know the organizers over the past few years and months and I’m really impressed with these guys. As this is a new conference I thought it would be good to let you know a little more about it. I sat down with Luke McElroy (OK, did this via e-mail, but I’d like to think we had a conversation…) to get some background on the conference and why it would be worth your time. Here goes:

There are a ton of conferences out there. I think we could attend a conference every week if we wanted to. What makes SALT unique?

That is so true! [Laughs] One of the reasons we sat on this idea for over a year before we announced anything was to make sure this wasn’t “another” conference and that God was actually calling a community to gather. SALT is the visual worship conference. It’s about the look and feel of a Sunday morning or weekday worship service. As you are well aware, there are conferences that focus on pastoral leadership, on worship, musical technique and the ability to lead a worship team and there are tech conferences that tend to have a natural bend toward audio and the “gear” that’s used in church. Yet here aren’t really any conferences that are fully dedicated to the conversation of the visual experience that takes place on Sunday Morning. 

MIT (yes the university) did a study that opened my eyes to how much we need a conference like this… They revealed in their study that we remember 10% of what we read, 30% of what we hear and 80% of what we watch or see!  IF this is even remotely true then why is our entire Sunday morning experience focused on what we read and say?!? How many churches are beginning to ask how we are visually telling the story of God to our communities? If visuals are the “stickiest” form of communication, then wouldn’t we want to pour a lot of attention into creating visual experiences that cause people to remember the word of God? That’s exactly why SALT exists… to encourage, equip and inspire a generation to use art, media, creativity and visuals to help spread the word of Truth and create atmospheres that impact people’s lives. 

Who is the SALT conference for?

Honestly, everyone. I remember sitting in a marketing class when I was at college and the professor said… “Marketing isn’t a role in the company anymore… it needs to be the mindset of every key leader in any organization” and that’s exactly what I would say about visuals and the look & feel of a Sunday morning. Powerful visual worship isn’t just for the technical or creative people to execute, it has to be a team endeavor. So SALT is designed for these key areas.. Technicians, creatives, worship leaders, volunteers and senior pastors. 

Honestly, it’s a great place to bring your entire team and begin having a dialogue about how visuals play into the story we’re all telling on a Sunday morning. Discussing the role of color, texture, lighting and video isn’t for one guy behind the light board or running lyrics—it’s a group effort. Because it’s a “new” topic, the whole team needs to be present. 

My church isn’t into environmental projection; will there be anything for me to learn at SALT?

ABSOLUTELY! [Laughs] There are actually only 2 classes that have anything to do with environmental projection! Environmental projection is just one tool of visual worship. We’re going to talk about cost effective stage design, lighting, color theory, telling story through film, do-it-yourself creative projects, leading creatives, and many many more topics. 

We’ve recently posted the list of workshops we’re going to be covering, so make sure to check that out! You’ll be amazed at how much there is to talk about at SALT. 

Besides learning more about the visual aspects of worship, what else can we expect?

Where do I begin? Our goal is to inspire! We hope you’ll get a chance to engage in great worship, be inspired to go create new things… regardless if you’re an “artist” or not. We’re all creative. I think you’ll have a chance to meet other like-minded people around the nation and begin to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things. There’s a rumor going around that we’ll learn how to make a hovercraft out of a leaf blower… trust me, you don’t want to miss the inaugural year!

So there you go! A brief explanation of SALT 2013! If you can possibly make it, I encourage you to attend. Van & I will be there and we would love to meet you and talk. The conference is in Nashville, October 21-23. You can lear more and register at the SALTNashville.com website. See you there! 

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