My Two Cents on the G3 Conference

A few weeks ago, Church Works Media was able to participate in the 2020 G3 Conference. For those unfamiliar with the conference (as I was until just a few years ago, despite living in Atlanta), the G3 Conference is primarily a preaching event featuring exceptional preachers like John MacArthur, Joel Beeke, Voddie Baucham, Steve Lawson, Tim Challies, Paul Washer, Derek Thomas, Phil Johnson, and others. The theme this year was “WORSHIP,” a topic addressed from multiple angles during the conference. The organizer, under whose watch the conference attendance has grown from several hundred to about 5,000 in 8 short years, is a recent friend of mine, Pastor Josh Buice. To be honest, had I been asked if there were a need (or market) for another large conference, I would have been skeptical. There are already conferences like Shepherds’ Conference, T4G, Gospel Coalition conferences, the Basics Conference, Ligonier, and countless other national and regional gatherings. 

To be honest, had I been asked if there were a need (or market) for another large conference, I would have been skeptical

Is there a need for another? Over 5,000 people from all over the country (and world) answered with a resounding YES! Interestingly, I think G3 is the most conservative of the large conferences I’ve attended, including many I just listed. People have a growing and unmistakable desire to hear the Word faithfully and unapologetically preached. And there seems to be a realignment of sorts—a coming together of like-minded believers whose commitment to the Scriptures reminds me of the fundamentalists of the early 20th century. Praise the Lord for what He is doing and for Josh’s vision!

People have a growing and unmistakable desire to hear the Word faithfully and unapologetically preached

What did Church Works Media’s involvement look like? Here’s a quick summary:

  • Paul Keew (who worked and worked and worked, both before and during the conference) was able to make a number of connections with people at a display we set up. The fellowship and networking was a joy, and Paul’s ministry continues to be a game-changer for CWM. We were able to serve many believers, and we established relationships which may in time turn into collaborations.
  • I was invited to participate in a Q&A panel at the pre-conference on congregational singing. Bob Kauflin moderated the discussion, which also included his son Devon, Keith Getty, Phillip Webb, and my old friend Scott Aniol (who I was surprised and pleased to see after something like a decade). 
  • I taught one of the breakout sessions on the topic “Theology that Sticks,” providing a biblical grid for choosing exceptional hymns. The session was fun, and it was a blessing to be able to encourage people to intentionally choose hymns (old and new) that are overtly doctrinal, Christ-centered, and congregational. 
  • During a plenary session I was able to introduce the doctrine contained in “His Robes for Mine,” which Devon Kauflin then led. I enjoyed every interaction I had with Devon, who (like his dad) is exceptionally gracious and kind.
  • Greg Habegger—of all the music directors in our immense city—was asked to lead a volunteer choir on the last night of the conference. He had just an hour to rehearse 2 pieces with around 200 singers, and he was absolutely in his element. Despite a challenging layout and “warehouse” acoustics, his choir nailed it, singing joyfully of Christ. Killian Hill Baptist Church and Church Works Media are blessed to have him!

Let me share one final highlight. I was blessed to share some conversations and a meal with Matt Merker, who has recently moved from serving at Capitol Hill Baptist Church to serving with the Gettys. (His pastoring mentor was Mark Dever and his hymn-writing mentor is Keith Getty. Adequate!) Matt is joyful, humble, and gracious. And mercy, is he gifted! I especially thanked him for giving the church “He Will Hold Me Fast.” His tune is just gorgeous, and it makes the old text soar. But I’m especially grateful for the third verse of the hymn, which he penned himself. Without it, the hymn is beautiful and encouraging, but it’s not distinctly Christian. Matt fixed that, exquisitely. Look at how much doctrine he put into just 4 simple lines:

“For my life He bled and died” — The bloody, substitutionary atonement
“Justice has been satisfied” — Propitiation
“Raised with Him to endless life” — Union with Christ, His resurrection, and ours
“Till our faith is turned to sight” — Christ’s second coming, the Christian’s certain hope

THAT is a hymn worth singing!

The entire experience was a blessing. Again and again and again, for 4 days, Christ was exalted and Christians were edified. The footprint of G3 is poised to grow even more, beyond just an annual conference, and the church will be the better for it. God is at work! Grace!

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