GCoMM 2003

Fort Worth, Texas, USA
From September 15-18, 2003, more than 300 delegates, who serve in nearly 30 nations around the planet, converged for the Global Consultation on Music and Missions (GCoMM). This historic event was held on the grounds of the world’s largest evangelical seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Texas. Members of the Body of Christ joined together for one purpose: to be holy worshippers calling the whole world to whole-hearted worship.

One of the great attractions of this gathering was the huge diversity of seminars for the delegates. Nearly forty topics were discussed, including the role of media and recordings, the arts and cultural restoration, the use of music with Chronological Bible Storying, blending contemporary and cultural music, the need for missionaries to receive education in music culture, teaching about worship across cultures, using music in Islamic contexts, music and issues of syncretism—more topics than we can list here. Presenters shared penetrating insights through numerous case studies from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Islamic world.

Congregational times of worship were a key component of the Consultation. A unique worship team included the usual western praise band, augmented with a percussion section employing more than 40 percussion instruments from around the world, a woodwind section featuring a vast array of flutes, a cellist and even a sitar (played by a musical missionary to India). Most members of the worship team were music missionaries with past or present involvement in India, Syria, Hungary, Germany, and various African nations including Senegal, Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. Led by Chuck Steddom, Worship Pastor from Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, the song repertoire featured western praise songs, African and Spanish tunes, and a rich array of hymn arrangements.

Among the many new materials released in conjunction with GCoMM, two stand out. One was a compilation recording of Heart Sounds International, one of the sponsoring groups of GCoMM. Called “Heart Sounds—Sounds of Global Worship.” The other significant release at GCoMM was another compilation, in written form, called “All the World Will Worship—Helps for Developing Indigenous Hymns.” The expanded “tool chest” of materials brings together a compilation of documents and research tools, each describing an idea, activity or concept to enable the missionary or Christian worker to encourage some aspect of indigenous hymnody.

One of the important outcomes of GCoMM was the founding of the International Council of Ethnodoxologists, an Association for Global Christian Worship. ICE provides a platform for Christian ethnomusicologists and others involved in ethnic worship and the arts to partner in mission, research, and dialogue over common concerns.

But perhaps the greatest outcome of GCoMM was the forming or renewing of relationships among the delegates. Some discovered other workers from their regions for the first time at GCoMM. For others, GCoMM was a homecoming, seeing lifelong friends after years, even decades. For still others, GCoMM connected like-minded people with similar ministries and interests. The event was like a rushing waterfall of new contacts. As one person put it, “I felt like I had found a huge “family” that I never knew I had—I share so much in common with these brothers and sisters in the Lord! It was a tremendously empowering experience to fellowship and worship with so many people who are passionate about using music and other arts in missions.”

GCoMM 2003 Plenary Speakers:

Dr. John Piper, Desiring God Ministries

Dr. Harold Best, Wheaton Conservatory/retired

Colin Harbinson, Bellhaven College/International Festival of the Arts

Dick Eastman, Every Home For Christ

Richard Twiss, Wiconi

Dr. Roberta King, Fuller Seminary

Dr. Daniel Avorgbedor, Ohio State University

Other Speakers and Groups:

Amos Lee
Atilano Muradas
Brian Schrag, SIL/UCLA
Connie Wong, UCLA
Dave Hall, WFN
Dawn Goodwin, IMB
Dr. C. Michael Hawn, SMU
Dr. Deborah Barkey, Friends
Dr. Grant Lovejoy, SWBTS
Dr. James R. Krabill, Mennonite Mission Network
Dr. John Benham, MIWC/Bethel
Dr. Milton Lites
Dr. Stephen Duncan
Dr. Sue Hall, SIL International
Dr. Tom Avery, SIL International
Frank Fortunato &, HSI/OM International
Jim Miller, NAIM
Jim Mills, Creative Arts Europe
John Oswald, WEC International
Joyce Scott, AIM, retired
Karen Campbell
Karen Lafferty, YWAM
Kathleen Noss, UCLA
Ken Davidson, HSI
Kirk Bullington, IMB
Kristy Miller, NAIM
Marilyn Malmstrom, VMS/SIL
Mary Lou Totten, FACE/USCWM
Richard Shawyer, WEC International
Robin Harris, InterAct Ministries
Roger Thomassen, Central Bible College
Ron Man, GEM
Sheila MacKenzie Brown, OUC/SIL
Tom Ferguson, IMB
Von Newcomb, Pioneers
Wendy Atkins, AIM

Plenary Speakers:

Dr. John Piper
– Jesus Christ: The Radical Intensification, Internalization, De-localization, De-formalization and Pervasiveness of Worship
– The Essence of Worship is Authentic Satisfaction in All that God is for Us in Jesus, and Missions is an Effort to Expand My Worship
– Love is About the Display of the Glory of God
– Worship Songs of the Suffering Heart
– The Joy of the Lord is Your Vocation
– The Supremacy of God in Missions Through Worship

Dr. Harold Best
– Issues and Concerns Related to Ethno-Artists/Musicologists

Colin Harbinson
– The Arts as a Cultural Bridge

Dick Eastman
– Harp and Bowl Guide
– Cultivating Your “Harp and Bowl”

Richard Twiss
– Dancing Our Prayers: Using Native Arts & Music in Ministry

Dr. Roberta King
– Make Known Among the Nations What God Has Done! Communicating Christ
through the Arts

Dr. Daniel Avorgbedor
– Integrating “Indigenous” Practices in Christian Worship

Breakout Sessions:

Amos Lee – Recontextualizing Long Song in the Mongolian Feast Celebration (Nair)
Aradhna – “Sitars, Guitars and Yeshu Khrist”: Worship in the Multicultural Indian Diaspora
Atilano Muradas – Introducing Brazilian Musics into the Brazilian Church
Brian Schrag – What Right Have We to Interfere?
Connie Wong – The Coming of Age of Chinese Gospel Music
Dave Hall & Von Newcomb – Ethnodoxology 101
Dawn Goodwin/Dr. Grant Lovejoy/Tom Ferguson – Panel Discussion on Chronological Bible Storying
Dr. C. Michael Hawn – Reverse Missions: Global Singing for Local Congregations
Dr. Deborah Barkey – Music and Cultural Identity in Turkey: Towards a Kingdom Identity & Worship Expression
Dr. James R. Krabill – “Teach Us the Songs of Heaven!”
Dr. John Benham – What’s So Great About the Great Commission!? – A Musician Looks at Matthew 28
Dr. Milton Lites – Art Music vs. Heart Music?
Dr. Stephen Duncan – Christian Bhajans: Indigenization of the Rites in India
Dr. Sue Hall – Music in Arab-Influenced Africa
Dr. Tom Avery – Beyond Scripture Songs
Frank Fortunato & Ken Davidson – Missions, Music and Multimedia: Heart Sounds International
Jim Miller – Resident & Relevant Ethnomusicology
Jim Mills – The Quest for Relevance: Disseminating the Gospel to our Generation
John Oswald – Song & Spirituality in the Himalayas
Joyce Scott – Intercultural Worship in City Churches
Karen Campbell – How Can We Sing Songs in a Strange Land?
Karen Lafferty – Blending the Contemporary and Cultural
Kathleen Noss – Communicating Biblical Texts Through African Performing Arts
Kirk Bullington – The Use of Music in the “Church In Your Home” Movement in the Dominican Republic
Kristy Miller – Music Created By the People and For the People
Mary Lou Totten – Researching & Applying Indigenous Music & Arts for Christian Communication
Richard Shawyer – Facilitating the Creation of Indigenous Worship
Robin Harris – The International Council of Ethnodoxologists
Roger Thomassen – The Need for Missionaries to Receive Education in Music Culture
Ron Man – Teaching About Worship Across Cultures
Sheila MacKenzie Brown – Moba Mobilization: Song Composition with the Moba people in Togo
Von Newcomb – A Case Study in Ethnodoxology: Kyrgyzstan
Wendy Atkins – Encouraging the Use and Integration of “Heart Music” in an Established Church Setting

every music, every voice, every heart