Nashville Christian Music Event Gives People Sense of Purpose

By: The Tennessee Star, Chris Butler

Philadelphia resident Melissa Taggart, in Nashville for the Getty Music Worship Conference 2018 – Sing!, knows Christian music can renew one’s soul.

“Having the songs there to give voice to what I am experiencing is healing and also draws me closer to God and who He is. The primary thing is it gives voice to what I have experienced,” Taggart said.

“I have had to learn through major life changes that my work is only in Christ and not in fame or in the state of what my body is in. Over time and the older you get and the more you are on your journey the words (to the songs) actually start meaning something.”

Pastors, musicians, and theologians gathered at the Nashville Music City Center this week to discuss how worship transforms people and churches, said Josh Sutton, vice president of marketing and development for Getty Music.

This year’s theme examines the book of Psalms for the church today, he added.

Brentwood Baptist Church in Williamson County hosted last year’s event. About 3,500 people attended then. About 7,500 people attended this year’s event, Sutton said.

“What we consistently hear from registrants is that this conference helps us think of different nuances to how they plan and engage with the topic of worship,” Sutton said.

“For many we hear this is encouraging people to sing more in their homes with their children. For many we are hearing themes about Psalms and lament and suffering that have undergirded them in seasons of great trial. For many we are hearing being at this conference has been of encouragement and great refreshment to them professionally and personally.”

David Kim of the Philadelphia Orchestra, jazz musician John Patitucci, and hip hop artist Trip Lee also attended this week’s event, Sutton said.

Ryan Smith, who traveled from Washington, D.C., described this week’s event as a movement.

“There are people hungry for deep theology in the music they sing,” Smith said.

“It is great to sing a song that has the same lyrics. You can do that. The Psalms and other places in the Bible have that. To also sing something that has a depth of it with the understanding and the theology in it with great music, something that warms your heart in a way I can’t explain. The spirit is there. You get spoken to. You get blessed.”

Taggart told The Tennessee Star she saw people she previously only heard online.

“I ran into Stuart Townend in the elevator,” Taggart said.

“Actually, he caught me gaping awkwardly at him the other day, like I just passed him in the hallway. He put me out of my misery by coming and saying hi. Who in the world has the opportunity to do that except at this event?”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to

Elizabeth Bristow