It's buzzing in the Rosen Shingle as about 5,000 men and women representing 49 states and 42 countries pour in to kick-off the biennial 2013 National Conference.
Today culminates two years of planning, organizing, and praying for every aspect of the conference. Walking through the halls you get a sense of the anticipation that is building for those who desire to learn and grow and—most importantly—apply it in their local communities.
Perusing through the exhibit hall, which features over 93 exhibitors representing publishing, ministries, and non-profit agencies, was Amber Chadwell, 25, of Tampa, Florida. Chadwell and her group of six friends have been anticipating this conference all year. "I've never been to a conference where there were so many people representing all the different denominations, uniting for one purpose," said Chadwell, who is attending TGC's National Conference for the first time. She serves as a worship leader in her church, singing and scheduling leaders, and hopes to learn more about worship and music ministry.
"I want to gain a deeper understanding of ministry," she added. "I'm excited to hear about the various issues and how to work them out and then to get a fresh view on the ministry."
The conference started with a chorus of voices singing "Come People of the Risen King" led by the modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty. "I love hearing her reading Scripture with her Irish accent," shared Nathan Simmons, 25, of Knoxville, TN. "I'm super thankful to have them not only because they are gospel-centered," said Simmons, "they have songs about the implications and mission of the gospel. They have songs about the Jesus' heart for the lost. Jesus came to set captives free."
The Getty's encapsulate the theme of the entire conference: His Mission: Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.
Today's plenary sermons focused on the gospel from Jesus' birth to his death. Speakers included John Piper, Colin Smith, Crawford Loritts, and Don Carson.
You don't have to be in Orlando to hear the messages from the plenary sessions. Watch the worship and plenary sessions all week via the livestream.