The Immersion Conference is a one day praise & worship training and concert event. The inaugural day of workshops took place on April 25, 2015 at Hope Restoration Ministries in Queens Village, New York. The attendance for the first installment was so good, the venue had to be changed to accommodate all the attendees. The various workshops were led by anointed men and women from the Greater New York area in voice, worship leading/prophetic song, liturgical dancing, and worship band. I had the privilege to catch up with the visionary of The Immersion Conference Mrs. Jerri Robinson-Williams. She shared what led her to create this movement and where she sees it going in the near future.
AB: What birthed the vision for the Immersion Conference
JRW: Well, I go around to various churches to do praise and worship for particular services. I am usually asked to come in because the local church does not have a stable or solid praise & worship ministry. I have noticed in my travels, that a lot of members in the various churches view praise and worship time as a filler before the real service starts. They do not see the vitalness and importance of it in the body of Christ. Thus, I saw the need for the body of Christ to truly understand the importance and effectiveness of praise and worship. And that’s on an individual level as well as collectively. It was birthed about two years ago, but came into fruition this year.
AB: How have you gone about developing the conference?
JRW: It is a lot of work. I pretty much threw the idea out there on Facebook for the initial conference in April to see how people would respond to it. I did my own flyers and began promoting it, without a staff or executive team. I did a lot of research to see what else is out there in the same vein of the Immersion conference. I noticed most conferences were two-day or weekend conferences, but nothing done in a 1-day setting. And I believe you can get a worthwhile experience in a day, for an inexpensive price.
The different seminars within the conference were based on what I saw was consistently missing from the various churches in their proper understanding of praise and worship. One area that is overlooked is the prophetic song. Many people are able to sing a song, but not effectively minister the song. A lot of people do not know how to take a song and move the song along prophetically, by hearing what God is saying. The ability to relate what God is saying in the worship service to the congregation. I also love the format that Bethel Music uses for their conferences, so I pull from that example as well.
AB: What was your expectation of the first gathering? Were they met? Any surprises?
JRW: My expectation was not much, because I knew it was something new. I expected to get a few into my home church and we would go forth for the day. But to God be the glory, we had about 100 people who purchased tickets for the conference. The tickets were sold at $20 for the whole day. We had to move the venue because of the amount of tickets sold. The venue in Queens seated over 100 people and even then, we had to stop selling tickets as to not go over capacity.
I was surprised at a lot of things. I have never done anything on this large scale before. The planning and back-end of the conference is a lot of work. I was doing marketing, taking care of administrative tasks, and a host of other things. I quickly learned of the importance of having a team in place to handle all the logistics.
AB: How has the feedback been?
JRW: It has been awesome. We have gotten messages saying how the conference has blessed people immensely. A particular young lady in-boxed me and said she was thinking about committing suicide. She came to the concert just to see if God had something to say to her, because she felt like God was not there. She said, “thank you for changing my mind on some things.” We had folks say the concert brought them into another level of personal worship. It has been those comments that encourage us and keep us going.
AB: What’s next for Immersion? How can folks get involved?
JRW: We are back into the planning process for the next conference. We are looking for an executive board that would assist with marketing, pr, administrative assistants, street teams, and special events coordinator. In general, we need people who will say they may not have specific experience but are willing to help. Our next one shall be in August and we have a surprise guest coming in for that one. We are definitely planning on a bigger venue this time and providing something for the youth this time. Folks can reach us on Facebook at Immersion Praise & Worship Conference, on twitter @IAmImmersion, and our website www.immersionconference.com. Anyone who would like to minister at the conference can send inquiries to email@example.com along with a performance clip.
AB: How do you define ministry?
JRW: Ministry for me as I have been taught by my late Bishop Clarence Keaton, is, it boils down to souls. Jesus said He came to seek and save the lost. It is a simple formula. I believe personally for me ministry is two-fold. Our first goal should be souls, but my secondary goal is to edify the body of Christ. To strengthen us and keep us moving, realizing we can do nothing without His presence.
AB: Are you partnering with any churches or faith based organizations?
JRW: We are actually working on that right now. We are definitely looking for churches to co-labor with us. It was a part of our initial planning ideas. We are also looking into having an incentive to partnering with us, because we do not want to be in anyone’s church without leaving a gift to the house. As we finalize the logistics for the partnerships and have a team in place, we are going to push that even more.