By NMC - January 19, 2017
Posted in Partnerships, Worship, Stories from NMC
It sounds a bit like a Christian cliché to say, “I never could have dreamed of what God would do with this idea.” So often we come to God with dreams and visions placed in our hearts by the Father Himself. We act in obedience and take step after step in faith, trusting Him to fill in the gaps when our weaknesses are overwhelming.
Truly this is the story behind ReFuel Conference.
ReFuel Conference is a one-day event for worship ministry teams and those that lead them. The simple and focused goal of ReFuel is to create a day for worship teams and their leaders to be together, be refreshed and be equipped to continue to effectively lead the local church in worship.
Four years ago, a group of 100 people met at New Life Fellowship in Topeka, Indiana, for ReFuel. They were members of NMC’s worship team, New Life Fellowship’s worship team and a couple of worship-leader friends of Pastor David Cummings.
“There was no big dream or vision for ReFuel. We had no intention of creating a conference. The idea just came out of a need we saw in our worship team and in the worship team of New Life Fellowship,” Pastor David explained.
They met and worshiped together. They learned from worship leaders who were invested in and who believed in the local church. It was essentially a retreat, but during that one day, God set ReFuel on a path toward greater impact and influence as its leaders were obedient and trusted Him.
“I still remember the moment I realized ReFuel was bigger than I could imagine. The next year we decided to open it up to the public. I was in the office with Jessica Watts when she told me, ‘Dave, 32 churches have already registered for ReFuel.’ What I felt next was a mixture of excitement and fear,” Pastor David said.
By the time the conference rolled around, over 350 people from 50 churches had registered for ReFuel. They gathered on the campus of Bethel College, and God began to pour into the people who pour themselves out week after week.
And each year since, the Lord has been faithful. This year, the fourth year of the conference, ReFuel was a sold-out event. Over 830 people registered from nearly 100 churches. Eight churches from diverse denominations and three businesses partnered with this event to make it affordable for churches of all sizes.
No one could have imagined what God would do with a retreat for two churches’ worship teams, but as worship leaders from different backgrounds and churches have gathered together to learn from one another, to worship with one another and to encourage one another, God has been glorified.
ReFuel itself is a mixture of big sessions and small group breakout sessions. It includes worship times when people who lead others in worship every Sunday get to be led in worship by someone else. They are given the opportunity to simply come and participate, to worship in Spirit and in truth and not worry about the logistics that come with leading.
“This is one of my favorite parts of ReFuel. As a worship leader, I get to come and be led in worship by local musicians. I get to forget about the nuances that come with leading worship on a Sunday morning, and this fills me up,” Pastor David said.
The goal of the conference is to do just that, to refresh people. Although this is done through teaching and times of worship, it’s also done with time alone with God. In this space, people come back to the most important part of leading worship—their relationship with Jesus.
This is what the whole conference is about. At the core of ReFuel is the deep desire for each person to grow in his or her relationship with Christ. Pastor David reiterates to worship leaders over and over again: “Your time spent at the feet of Jesus will prepare you for the time you stand on the stage.”
And for many who come to ReFuel, this one-day conference is a time when they have the space to sit at the feet of Jesus. For many, this is the only time they get to be led in worship. For many, this is the one time they receive training on how to lead people in worship. For many, this is the one time a year they get to be refreshed in their minds, souls and spirits. It’s more than a conference. It’s a lifeline.
The mission of this conference is to equip worship teams and send them out to continue to impact the local church. As the ReFuel leadership team looks to the future, they are excited about what God has been doing and will continue to do. Their vision is expanding, and they are learning to dream bigger and bigger. As they look ahead, they are asking God how He wants to expand this conference and impact even more people.
As only God could do, he has begun to answer their prayers in incredible ways. Earlier this week, Pastor David boarded a flight to Kenya to meet with a team of Kenyan and Ugandan pastors. Their vision: ReFuel– Kenya. Much of this is still in the works, and only time will tell what this partnership could look like. Yet, it is clear that God is doing something incredible in the hearts of these leaders and is opening doors that the ReFuel team could have never thought to imagine.
Step by step, this team of churches is walking in obedience to the Father and seeking His face. The expansion of ReFuel is uncertain, but even in the midst of this uncertainty, this team is passionate about gathering worship teams, being refreshed by the Spirit, and equipping teams to serve the local church.