By Janice Malone
NASHVILLE, TN — The Gospel Heritage Foundation (GHF) will host the 2018 International Worship & Arts Summit February 22 – 24 2018 in Nashville TN. This anointed summit will feature all day and evening sessions that will be held at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located at 7594 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville TN 37189. The two-day conference will include dynamic speakers, powerful teaching, and gospel artists from around the country. Day classes and panels will cover a range of topics from publishing and recorded music to leading corporate worship and leadership in music ministry. The nightly sessions will be led by a diverse panel of speakers.
Award-winning singer, songwriter-producer VaShawn Mitchell, is now the new president of the Gospel Heritage Foundation. As this year’s host Mitchell will oversee the event, which includes a lineup of powerful speakers, anointed performers and honorees for the 2018 International Worship & Arts Summit. “In addition to the great music and outstanding speakers, those attending GHF can also expect to experience the education model for churches and artists alike. So, from praise and worship to the dance ministry and musicianship, and artist ministry – this event will bring them all together in one place to learn, develop, and inspire them to go back home to be better leaders in their own ministries,” says VaShawn, who is also Mt. Zion’s new General Overseer of Music & Worship Arts. This year, CeCe Winans and Byron Cage will be honored with The 2018 Heritage Award.
The GHF nightly sessions will be led by a diverse panel of speakers including prolific writer Israel Houghton; pastor Jonathan Miller; conference host VaShawn Mitchell and recognized teacher and evangelist Dr. Jasmin Sculark (Dr. Jazz). Other special features at this must-attend conference include evening performances from top worship and gospel artists including Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Casey J, Anthony Brown, JJ Hairston and a host of others. Also, on the final day of the Summit, Mitchell will put together a unique “Worship Together” gathering, an acoustic worship encounter featuring both Gospel and CCM artists on one stage.
Taking the helm at GHF earlier this year, Vashawn Mitchell brings a fresh and bold vision to the foundation. Mitchell has plans to take things in an even more upward and new direction. He hopes to expand the Gospel Heritage brand into a comprehensive and educational platform that continues to build, foster and support worship music and worship leaders. Mitchell shares more insight: “The Gospel Heritage summit has always brought together some of the industry’s most acclaimed gospel singers, to kind of teach and train others or just share their experiences with other attendees. It’s the first time GHF will take place in Nashville, so I’m praying that people from all over the city come out to support it. The nightly services are open to the public. I may sing one night. I will also be speaking during the Friday morning session. But we have so many others coming through. It’s really about the artists who are going to be a part of this summit and we just want to honor these great trailblazers of our industry. I’m so honored to be lending my gifts to the continued building of the Gospel Heritage legacy.”
Vashawn is originally from the Chicago area. He’s received countless awards and accolades for his talents as a singer/songwriter/producer, not only for his own hits songs but also for other gospel music greats. As a songwriter, Mitchell has penned hits for Smokie Norful, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and Bishop Paul Morton. Mitchell’s single, “Nobody Greater,” was the most played gospel song in 2011 and spent a combined total of 9 weeks on Billboard’s Gospel songs chart. Mr. Mitchell was the most nominated artist at the 27th Annual Stellar Awards; receiving 11 nominations and walking away with 6 statues. He was nominated for 2 Grammy Awards at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards for Best Gospel Performance for “Nobody Greater” and Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album Triumphant. Mitchell was honored by his hometown of Harvey, Illinois when they named one of the streets in his neighborhood “VaShawn Mitchell Street.”
Mitchell’s seventh album, “Secret Place (Live in South Africa)” was released about a year ago. He says the whole experience of recording the album live in South Africa was a moving experience for him as an artist. “It was the most amazing experience that I will never forget. As an artist, a lot of times when you’re recording new music, people are waiting to see, ‘Do I like it or not? Let me see what my favorite song is,’ and such. But with this recording, from beginning to end, you would think I’ve been singing these songs for years, because the entire worship experience just kept elevating, elevating higher and higher. It was the anticipation and expectation in the room for God, not necessarily for what we were going to do. So, I wouldn’t trade that whole experience for anything in the world. I love South Africa and other different places that just have this experience with God that is not based upon circumstances.”
Vashawn’s now been living in Nashville full time for almost a year, as Mt. Zion’s new General Overseer of Music & Worship Arts. Moving to Nashville and now being a part of the Mt. Zion Church family is a different environment for him but it seems that he’s enjoying the experience. Mitchell says: “You know I’ve known Bishop Walker and the church for many years. We’re all a part of the Full Gospel Fellowship. Being here is a different culture for me, but it’s definitely not different in what I do. I just love working with the church, the people, Bishop Walker and the staff…It’s been a little different for me because Bishop Walker has so much going on. He has like three churches, several services, all the time he goes back and forth. But let me tell you, I’m loving being a part of it all! It’s been good working with the people, building leaders, and building different areas of the music department, so I look forward to the continued growth.”
For a detailed schedule, registration information and more about the 2018 Gospel Heritage Foundation Summit visit https://www.gospelheritage.org