Random 2013 Music Conference Highlights

Once again, I’m riding high in the fog of anther encouraging, exciting, emotional and (what’s another ‘e’ word?) conference.

I was struck by several things that come to in no particular order:

The UNbroken chain of mentoring. Karl and Karen Ellis shared in their talk about the “broken chain of mentoring,” which was the rift between the Boomers and the generation before it which has also carried over into the GenX and Millennials. I can see that problem and relate to it, but I was struck at our conference with how many people were there who HAD been mentored and who were following in their mentor’s footsteps. I talked with so many people who I had grown up with or had seen come-of-age at New City Fellowship who were now in active leadership roles in other ministries. It made me thankful for the grace of God working in my life to provide me with mentors who have shaped me, and it made me ask myself who is being mentored by me right now.

New City Fellowship is not the inventor or patent-holder of reconciliation, justice or the kingdom. We can get myopic in our circles about what NCF is doing. We can loose sight of the big picture of how the Spirit of God moves across the face of the earth in the hearts of people all over the world. The conference over and over again reveals to me how small I am in the movement of the kingdom and also how powerful the undercurrent of the kingdom is in the church. I was so glad to meet other Christian musicians who are wrestling with the same questions and desires that I am and who came to those conclusions from entirely different experiences.  It reveals that there is some unseen personality behind all this guiding and directing the development of the church.

There’s too much good music out there. So many songs, so little time. (The same can be said for new books).

God likes to spread his gifted people around. I met and played with so many skilled musicians. It makes me feel a little sad that we can’t all be together in one church to really have a “Dream Team” group of musicians. Of course, I know that if we did that, it would greatly reduce our effectiveness as church musicians. The kingdom calls us to “spread our gifts abroad” and not to consolidate them.

There’s a deep thirst in the church for songs that tell the full gospel in a musical language that invites us to sing. I wrote a theme song for the  conference and it’s reception by the folks there FAR exceeded my expectations. I think that it tapped in on the need for songs to express aspects of the gospel that are missing from the mainstream.

My wife is awesome. I just want to throw that in there.


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  1. #1 by rnhatch on July 29, 2013 - 8:26 am

    Wonderful reflection Kirk. Mad Props to your wife too…
    A few reactions:
    1. Bad typo in first section. You say “… not in active leadership roles…” I think you meant “now”
    2. Dream team / need for music connection. We need to organize some dream team songwriting confab workshop. Like pull 15 folk to a house in the woods for a weekend of playing and writing.
    3. I realized that Hear My Cry is not on NCFMusic.com we need to remedy that fast… so it can properly blow up around the world..
    4. Can I cross post this reflection there?

    • #2 by Kirk Ward on July 29, 2013 - 11:50 am

      1. thanks!
      2. I was thinking the same idea. Maybe we need to go on our own cruise.
      3. let me know if you need any resources for that. I do need to fix a few details in the chart.
      4. of course!

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