#forgecon10 - Part 1

Ah, this is the first in what will be a couple of posts on the amazing inaugural Forge Conference last week.

I wrote a little bit way back in July about why this conference would be different.  It would be affordable, it would be aimed at the small church, it would be focusing on all aspects of a worship leader's life.   Little did I know how much those things would come true, or how much more than expectations would come out of it.

Today I want to focus on the overall experience - being there, getting to meet so many great people, the environment.  Later I'll get into some specifics I pulled out of the whole thing.

The conference was held in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.  The whole town is owned by a church.  Seriously.  It's been around for 141 years, and it is an amazing little town, nestled in the Jersey Shore just below Asbury Park.  Someone commented that if Heaven had a downtown, it would look like Ocean Grove, and I agree.  The "downtown" is set off by a couple of small parks, surrounded by tiny chapels, bookstores, art stores, a youth center.  The centerpiece is perhaps the most amazing building I've seen in a long time, the century-old Great Auditorium.  This massive structure comfortably holds 6200 people (and is rumored to have once held ten thousand), has a 10,000-pipe organ, and has views of the Atlantic Ocean.

I stayed in a charming guest house, where I shared a room with up-and-coming artist Mark Siegel.  Grove House has some large common rooms where people can hang out and chat.  It is interesting that this little town, which appear to be the town time forgot, has wireless broadband throughout.

But the best part of the experience was the people I met.  Of course, there was the ability to chat with well-known artists like Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche.  But there were so many artists there, guys like Jonathan Lee, McKendree Augustus and Joel Auge.  All of these guys were wonderful, open and sharing.  All the other church worship leaders...  I couldn't begin to list them.  Let's just say my Twitter stream and Facebook friends list have both swelled in the last few days.  And, of course, there was the opportunity to meet a bunch of  people I've only known online.

I'll get into some of the classes in a later post, but there was something for everyone.  There were technical music clinics, songwriting sessions, audio and media presentations, vocal clinics, team building sessions, devotionals.  You name it.  I only wish I was able to be in multiple places so I could have attended everything.

Here's a couple of little snippets of some of the musical moments...


  1. Great post Mike! great to have met you there as well! Blessings to you!


    on Twitter @joelrockemann


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