[Trans]FORMATION Conference 2014

Institute for Theology and Northwest Culture hosts Seattle conference to reengage and reignite imagination in worship

By Jennifer Hill


"Creativity of the overall structure - very different than a traditional conference. It carried a "conversational" approach, which was very attractive."

"Diversity of speakers, topics, and focus, diversity of audience drew together different Seattle orgs."

"I liked the variety of perspectives; the brevity of presentations which allowed for more people to contribute; the fact you didn't introduce people but that it flowed without a bunch of fanfare. I liked the worship; I liked our pre-conference workshop."

"Excellent. I LOVED the brevity of the messages and the attention to a holistic approach to worship."

"Personally rejuvenating."

"I feel it re-energized our church creative team and has us excited for the coming year. I had a fantastic time!"

Those are just some of the responses we received from people who attended our inaugural (trans)formation Worship, The Arts and the Renewal of Christian Imagination conference.

300 people converged upon Bethany Community Church with great expectations and they were not disappointed. The day and a half conference kicked off with an afternoon Worship Workshop presented by Ed Willmington the Director of the Fred Bock Institute of Music of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts, and Composer-in-Residence at Fuller Theological Seminary. He along with co-presenter Heather Kaemingk M.A. Worship and Music Ministry from Fuller Seminary worked through the biblical definitions of worship, formative worship moments of the 21st century and how to worship with a complete theology.

The evening festivities began with inspiring worship led by Eric Henderson and his team from Bethany Community, our host church. They set the tone for the awesomeness that was to come.

Dr. Todd Johnson opened Friday evening's talks by speaking on The Formative Quality of Regular Worship Practices. Then we were very fortunate to hear from Fuller's new President, Rev. Dr. Mark Labberton, who challenged us with his talk on The Dangerous Act of Worship. Christine Marie McGinn, took us on a journey of forgiveness with her pieces from the Amish Project and finally The Brilliance finished out the evening by taking the stage and being, well brilliant.

Saturday was just more inspiration from fresh perspectives. Glenn McCray took the stage with a thought provoking spoken word piece, followed by a great worship set led by Jimmy and Rachel Nichols. Ed Willmington's keynote on the power of worship had us chanting, "Music is powerful". Following Ed, Antonio Marin led a unique flavor of stirring worship.

We were also blessed to have visual artist in our midst as well. Trung Pham, gave a beautiful presentation entitled Extreme Beauty, and following him Mary Ellen Azada made us think about the implications of worship in a diverse cultural setting.

The afternoon also brought us the opportunity to break out into micro-sessions. Dr. Jeffery Overstreet spoke on Film and Spiritual Formation, Matt Whitney on Theology and Art and Ed Willmington on Creative Worship Resources for Holy Week: Palm Sunday-Easter.

Stephen Newby and his group really brought it with their fresh worship offering late in the afternoon on Saturday, followed by Dr. Jeff Keuss, talk on Your Neighbor's Hymnal. Dr. Joy Moore closed out the day with her talk on The Hunger Games.

All the while Janice and Chuck Lindley were live painting off to the side of the platform during the entire conference, click here to see their creation.

This day and a half conference was jam packed full of thoughtful presentations that inspired ideas about the many facets of worship. We have already started to plan for 2015 (end of January/middle of February), and we can't wait to see you there!

For pictures from the conference click here.