Sharpen Conference: Sharpen your skills, your vision and your heart
by Joyce Rempel
Coming to Calgary May 2-4, 2019, Sharpen Conference welcomes a diverse and gifted team of presenters from Bethel Conservatory of the Arts in Redding, California as well as Nashville recording group Here Be Lions, and local worship collective, HopefulSon.
In its seventh year, Sharpen is one of the largest conferences in southern Alberta crafted for both skill development and spiritual growth. Designed for ministry teams and individuals, it’s sponsored jointly by RockPointe Church and First Alliance Church. What started at RockPointe as an internal tech workshop has grown exponentially into a music, tech, leadership and discipleship conference with breakout sessions utilizing every corner of First Alliance Church.
“Our passion is inspiring teams to create and lead expressions of worship that move us to pursue God and the glory of His presence,” says Daryl Yakielashek, Conference Administrator. “It’s by God’s presence we are transformed. Our dream is teams of worshippers in every church, growing in character and skill, united in purpose, leading us to encounter Jesus.”
Conference organizers believe the method by which individuals, teams, and churches are best equipped is to learn through community, leveraging the power of team-based ministry. Attendees and teams from more than 100 churches participated in Sharpen 2018. With the addition of a pre-conference Workshop in 2019, Yakielashek sees movement beyond a skill-development event to increased pursuit of the Holy Spirit.
“We’re passionate about the church,” Yakielashek says, “Seeing believers find their calling in the kingdom and how that fits together as the Body of Christ.” And the conference continues to grow. “The biggest piece of feedback we received from last year was, ‘Can we have more of Sharpen?’,” Yakielashek smiles. So, Saturday will include a fourth breakout session and a closing session in conjunction with the Saturday evening service at First Alliance. There are nine breakout tracks on Friday night and Saturday: Arts, Audio, Discipleship, Instrument, Lighting, Multi-media, Production, Vocal, and Worship. “The breakouts are about skill development,” Yakielashek says, “but in the optional pre-conference workshop you participate in the creative process from start to finish.”
The workshop offers the choice of one track from six themes: dance, drama, story, painting, songwriting, and creative leaders. “These are focused,” Yakielashek explains, “on harnessing the beauty and prophetic potential of the fine arts.” The format offers ten hours of content, Thursday night through Friday afternoon. “We’ll take participants through an entire creative process, seeing the process demonstrated and participating in the process. In the songwriting track, for example, we won’t just talk about how to write a song, we’ll write songs together. In dance, we’ll work through choreographing a piece.” The focus is not simply on the “how-to”, but an emphasis on partnering with the Holy Spirit in the creative process.
Theresa Dedmon is the Friday evening keynote speaker. She is an author, painter, and serves on the pastoral staff of Bethel Church as Creative Arts Director. She’ll be an integral part of the workshops on Thursday/Friday and the Conference breakouts on Saturday.
Saturday keynote is David Noroña, one of the founders of Bethel Conservatory and a director with Bethel Media: producing live-stream services, music, and short films. He’s also a professional actor with impressive credits, including a recurring role in Jack Ryan (Prime). He leads the Story Workshop.
Here Be Lions is from Nashville, and member Dustin Smith is a great songwriter who spent some time with 2018 Sharpen presenters, People and Songs. They have signed with Integrity Music and released two albums. Their ministry includes three distinct movements: All About Worship, Be Fierce (for men, women and families), and Healing is Right.
The Conference is wrapped in powerful times of music with Here Be Lions and Calgary’s HopefulSon, along with prayer and ministry that point participants to the One who has called and equipped them. Whatever one’s area of service or gifting, the aim is for participants to emerge from Sharpen 2019 inspired with fresh ideas, improved skill, and a renewed desire to see God’s power and presence unleashed in their local fellowship and in the greater Body of Christ.
Conference early bird discounts are available until February 28. Individual $69, group or student $64. “The event is all about teams. Whether two of you or twenty of you are coming, you’re a team and you’re a group,” Yakielashek says, but he emphasizes the group rate is only available until the end of February. Individual and student price increase each month. Cost at the door is $99. The optional Pre-conference Workshop is $99.
For more info, presenter bios and registration, go to www.sharpenconference.com.