Praise erupted among many plaintive cries to God and holy dancing during the first annual Praise and Worship Empowerment Conference that was held October 26-27. Pastors Bill Russell and Sheila Stewart Russell, co-pastors of The International Worship Center (IWC) hosted the event.
The conference kicked off with the “Cry Out” service at Washington Christian Center in Temple Hills, Md. It was a night that began and ended with heartfelt prayers as it was unequivocally clear the service was indeed a “Cry Out” to God. After extended prayer the service moved into worship that featured Javon Inman and H.O.A.W. Inman debuted his new song, “Cry Out,” written specifically for the service.
The night ended with more prayer punctuated with cries and people laying prostrate before the Lord. The prophetic was in effect as Pastor Russell was led to pray for healing and deliverance for several in the congregation.
The Praise and Worship Empowerment Brunch was held Saturday, October 27. Guest artist Nicois brought participants to their feet with her exhortations through song, including her single, “Undeniable” from her album of the same name.
Next up was a panel discussion with Nicois, Javon Inman, Steve Swann, Shondra Watson and gospel concert promoter Shawn Papi. Pastor Russell moderated the very lively question and answer session. The participants were asked a variety of questions regarding music ministry. The topics included the role of a worship leader, the definition of worship, the use of tracks, the Pastor/Minister of Music relationship and more. Below are a few quotes and tips from the discussion:
“Learn how to wait in His presence. Praise is cultural; there is no right way or wrong way to praise Him. But, there is only one way to worship”-Steve Swann, Music & Fine Arts Director/Minister of Music for IWC.
“Make sure you’re covered when you are out here advancing the kingdom. Have the head praying for you. Don’t just know the song, know the Word.-Nicois, former Minister of Music, recording artist
“Seek to fall in love with God every day and bring that back to the people”-Javon Inman, former Minister of Music, recording artist
“Stay loyal, fast, pray, have an accountability partner, tithe, attend church. Find your gift and use it for the kingdom. A church home is very important.”-Shawn Papi, Gospel Concert Promoter
“In all you are getting, get an understanding. Spend enough time with Him and cultivate a relationship with Him to know your assignment.”-Shondra Watson, Minister of Music, Hear the Word Bible Church
“You are a transporter of glory. If there’s no glory, you’re not a worship leader. You can’t be a true leader if you’re not prophetic, otherwise you are just a leader of songs without inspiration and no Godly intellect”-Pastor Antonio Briggs, Radical Apostolic Power Ministries
The evening session and conference finale featured Minister Dave Hammond, Hope Aglow Empowerment Center, Woodbridge, Va. Music included Donte Young and Divine Creation. The first annual Praise and Worship Empowerment Conference definitely set the stage for next year’s conference. The event was edifying, uplifting and educational. No doubt accolades will continue to pour in for this inaugural event. Those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the connection between praise, worship and prayer should definitely plan to attend next year.
“Cry Out” sessions are scheduled to resume January 2013. Visit the International Worship Center at http://www.theiwc.org/ for updates. For a more extensive photo gallery, visit the D.C. Gospel Music Examiner’s Official Facebook page.