Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gray Accepts Position at Liberty University

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” - Proverbs 16:9

For the past 6 ½ years I have had the privilege to live out a dream. As a young minister of music I remember attending a presentation of Carols by Candlelight and thinking, “If God really blesses your ministry, you might one day have a chance to serve a church like First Baptist Jackson.” I never thought I would actually have an opportunity to live out that dream. During my quiet time several weeks ago as I was struggling with this decision, I pondered the question: “How do you walk away from a dream?” The only answer is that God calls you to do so. That is where I find myself today.

It is after much prayer that I have accepted the position of Professor of Worship Studies and Coordinator of Graduate Worship Studies at Liberty University and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia, effective January 1, 2012. As part of those responsibilities I will be working with the 1000+ students preparing to serve churches across the world as ministers of music and worship leaders. With over 65,000 residential and online students, Liberty University is the largest Christian University in the world and their Center for Worship Studies is on the cutting edge of training those called to the music and worship ministry. In his timing God has used my educational background, as well as 29 years of local church experience, to give me the opportunity to influence and impact the next generation of worship leaders. This is a high calling and one that I look forward to pursuing over the upcoming years.

We serve a God who has a distinct plan for me and my family, and just as importantly, for this great church. I believe with every fiber of my being that He has called me to go to Liberty University. Likewise, I believe just as strongly that He is preparing another person to lead the music and worship ministry here at FBCJ. As a church staff member for almost three decades, I know first-hand that the relationship between the pastor and minister of music is critical. This especially will be true at First Baptist Jackson in the upcoming months as important issues and challenges are addressed (i.e., vision, purpose, methodologies, schedules). Because of the importance of these decisions to the future health of the church, I am convinced the new pastor will need the ability and freedom to have input into whom will serve alongside him in the role of minister of music.

Please know the Gray family always will consider First Baptist Jackson our home, and more importantly, each of you our extended family.  Over these years you have walked with us through times of joy and sorrow and have extended love and encouragement. For this, we will always be grateful.

In closing, thank you for the honor of serving as your minister of music, and most importantly for the privilege of calling you my friends. May God bless each of you in a very special way.

Pursuing the Call,
Dr. L. Lavon Gray
Minister of Music and Worship

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Where do we as a church family go from here?  Lavon will serve full time through December 31, 2011, until he begins at Liberty.  In addition, Lavon is willing to serve as our Interim Minister of Music beginning January 1, 2012, while our Pastor Search Committee looks for a Pastor. He will be here on Sundays and Eva Hart, along with the Music staff, will conduct rehearsals on Wednesday night. We are so thankful that Lavon is willing to continue his ministry with us and for an outstanding Music Staff that will carry on the day-to-day needs of the Music Ministry at FBCJ.

We are grateful for the ministry of Lavon Gray. He has been a blessing to each of us. We move forward with the confidence that God is in control and He knows what is best for the church family of First Baptist Jackson as well as Lavon and his wonderful family.  

Bob Gladney
Executive Pastor
First Baptist Jackson

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