In the first ever music festival held on Nov. 12 by the Southwest Chinese Baptist Association (SWCBA), praise bands and congregants from local churches in the Southwest region of the United States came together with the "passion to spread God's glory."
The request was brought forth by the local Christian bands who practice three months out of the year for SWCBA's annual Pioneers Conference, in a ministry that was established five years ago to train the next generation to "serve God" and to "seek Him."
They believed that "more could be done, and more probably should be done," Danny Lee, the coordinator of the festival who was chosen by the association, said. So after consulting with several pastors, the musical festival ministry was born.
The vision of the ministry is to hold several events throughout the year in different cities in the Southwest region where local praise bands can perform, either the songs they composed or worship music. The festival will conclude with a "revival" or "evangelical" rally depending on the local area needs.
The festival will also include workshops to support the needs or problems of music-related ministries.
Some of the problems that churches in the Southwest region are facing is the transition between traditional hymns to a more contemporary praise and worship, with some of the churches caught in the middle between the two musical forms.
"A lack of understanding…behind music and worship can lead to in-fighting among brothers and sisters within a church," who don't know whether to switch to praise and worship or to stay with hymns, Lee said, and by "not knowing how to lead a praise and worship it can make the transition period difficult; and more importantly, it could hinder the efforts to worship God through music."
The workshops are "carefully" chosen by the planning committee to help the churches in the Southwest region by addressing the needs of their community. The workshops this year were "Congregational Songs in Worship," "How to lead Praise and Worship," and "Instruments in Praise and Worship."
The keynote speaker was Rev. Ted Lam, the director of church planting for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, who spoke on the "Confidence in Christ," based on the passage in 2 Corinthians 1:12-15.
In the "revival rally" that concluded the first festival, SWCBA hoped that it would send a "renewal" in the lives of the Christians who attended, and to shift their "focus back on Jesus," and once again on the "heavenly goals."
Lee said that Nov. 12 was "the start of the Music Festival Ministry. Personally, I cannot wait to see how God may use this ministry for our regional needs."
SWCBA is an association of affiliated churches in the Southwest region of the United States, established to support the needs and concerns of their churches from Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.