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The Open Door


I recently joined the Sons of Jubal. It was a decision I had contemplated for some time. Due to the fact that the concerts are usually on weeknights, I will be able to participate in many of those engagements. The singing of these outstanding men has consistently inspired Janice and me. We traveled with the group when they went to Russia on a mission tour. I had the privilege of bringing the inspirational messages that were a part of the concerts as we presented the Gospel to those attending.

Music has been an important aspect of my life and ministry. One of the Sons of Jubal asked me how I had become involved in singing. The answer is through the outstanding music ministries of our churches where I grew up. As far back as I remember, I was singing in a choir, beginning with preschool. There was a person, as there usually is, who most impacted my heart and life for music ministry.

Posey Starkey served as minister of music during my high school years at First Baptist Church of Montgomery, Alabama where my father was pastor. One day Posey said, “I would like to work with you through some voice lessons and other things if you would be willing to come up to the church after school.”

My response was, “Sure, I’d like to do that.” Shortly after that conversation, Posey began to give me voice lessons and assigned solos to me from time to time. I lacked confidence and Posey’s attention and personal training helped incredibly.

I remember being asked to sing “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked” for the Sunday morning worship service for the Alabama Youth Legislature that involved students from all across Alabama. The auditorium at First Baptist was filled with students that morning as I began my solo. I messed it up so bad, that I had to start over. It was pretty embarrassing, but I recovered, largely due to the good training I was receiving from Posey.

In one of our afternoon sessions, Posey said, “I’d like to teach you how to conduct, if you’d like to learn. Then when I have to be out of town you can direct the youth choir.” He taught me how to conduct choir rehearsal and performance and eventually left the adult choir with me as well.

By the time I began my college experience at Samford University, I had tools that would help me throughout my life and ministry. I was asked to direct the Freshman Class as we prepared for and sang at Step Sing, a huge musical extravaganza at Samford every spring. I was also asked to lead the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity presentation. Both groups won in their classification.

... [A]s I began my solo. I messed it up so bad, that I had to start over. It was pretty embarrassing, but I recovered ...

My junior and senior years at Samford I directed the Baptist Student Union Choir that had about 70 voices. In the summer after my senior year, I directed our choir as we sang at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas.

My early musical training through my church and a caring minister of music blessed my life immeasurably! The fact is, blessing the life of a Christian in this way extends the ministry of the church beyond our ability to know. Consider the student in choir who is led to fall in love with music ministry and is called as a missionary or a minister of music in a local church. What about the young person affected by music ministry in his or her church who later owns a business in the community or works for a business and because of that training becomes involved in a community chorus and has opportunities to share a witness for Christ in ways that would not otherwise be possible? Perhaps the student will later contribute to the music ministry of a local church by singing in the choir or serving as a music director.

Some protest, “But wait a minute. Don’t you know that youth choirs are a thing of the past? Students aren’t interested in choir anymore.”

If these are your thoughts, let me tell you what happened two weekends ago when our Music and Worship Ministries had a weekend event called “REEL Fest.” It was an event for training students and leaders regarding student choir ministry in the local church. Six hundred showed up, 521 of whom were students! Keith Chandler, who led the event, was thrilled with the student choir of 521. Jon Duncan said that the music they produced was absolutely incredible.

If your church is not involved in music ministry among the students, I encourage you to develop such a ministry. It will have a positive impact on their walk with the Lord and their Christian service, just as it did mine.