Can I TWIST your arm?

Jodie McNeill

Over many years I have witnessed a dramatic range of music in our churches.

On the one hand, I have sung with church bands that seem to have an almost zombie-like connection with each other, intuitively knowing each other’s moves before they even strike a chord.

On the other hand, I have tried to sing with church musicians who seem to have the best intentions, but really miss the note (or notes) on a regular basis as they head off in not-so-complementary directions.

Many church musicians have learnt how to play their instruments as soloists. Sometimes they also learn how to play in an ensemble, using carefully-prepared arrangements, with predictable and safe outcomes.

However, the experience of playing contemporary music in a church setting is something completely different in so many ways. And, interestingly, the quality of the music is not always directly proportional to the skill levels of the individual musicians.

In my mind, what makes a great church band is one that both understands the idiosyncrasies of playing in a band with fluid membership, and short and frequently-under-cooked rehearsals, yet also recognises the need to share the common vision of serving the congregation as they join together in one voice to praise their great God in the assembly of his people.

For this reason, I want to TWIST the arm of the congregational leaders in our churches. I want to TWIST the arm of the rectors, assistant ministers, wardens, and anyone who has a key role in our churches.

I want to TWIST your arm to encourage your church musicians to be a part of one of the TWIST (‘The Word in Song Together’) music events this year run by Emu Music and Youthworks.

At the TWIST Away Music Conference in August, we are offering a residential, weekend-long boot camp in practical church music. It’s a bring-your-own-instruments kind of event, where we seek to help church musos learn the special skills required to be better at playing together in servant musicianship.

Plus, we’ll be joined by Colin Buchanan, who will provide a special up-close-and-personal account of his music ministry journey, accompanied by his guitar. Garage Hymnal will lead the workshops and the music in the main sessions, showcasing and modelling the best of congregational music leadership. And Simon Flinders will open the Scriptures to encourage to us to get the essentials right in our role as church musicians.

This residential conference has dramatically reduced fees for children and youth, and will also include a children’s program, to enable the parents to participate in the main sessions as well as the hands-on workshops. Extra-cheap Early Bird Rates finish in two weeks.

At the one-day TWIST Conference in October, we welcome international guest Bob Kauflin, the man behind Sovereign Grace music and writer of many of our current popular songs such as Let Your Kingdom Come and O Great God. He will also be leading our first-ever pastor’s conference.

Can I TWIST your arm to encourage you to encourage the musos in your church to attend this important investment in their ministry…an investment that will reap returns in the life of your congregation?

Jodie McNeill is the Executive Director of Youthworks Outdoors, and part of the team behind the TWIST Music Conferences in Sydney. For more information about the TWIST events, visit www.twistconference.com