Music leaders charged to grow our Army

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North America’s music leaders convene at Asbury College

by Martin Hunt –

Arriving at Asbury College in Kentucky for the North America Music Leaders Forum—along with 40 other music leaders—I wondered: What was the aim of this conference? Why had we been selected to attend? What did we expect to get out of it? The four territorial music secretaries had requested this weekend conference, and territorial leadership had agreed that this would be a good opportunity for those of us in “week in/week out” ministry leadership to meet and discuss common goals, concerns and visions for music ministry.

The delegates included people from all areas of Army music leadership, from staff bandmasters to singing company leaders—each person bringing different experiences and skills to the conference. For example, one of the first people I met was Ken Burton from Harlem Temple Corps (N.Y.). Ken serves as the bandmaster, choir director, youth band leader, worship band leader and the corps sergeant major. The level of commitment that he gives to his corps was an example to us all.

The conference challenged each of us to examine our Spiritual Fitness, Musical Fitness and Leadership Fitness through presentations, discussion groups and practical lessons. Commissioner Paul Kellner, a composer, and songster leader in retirement, led us in daily devotional sessions, calling us to be spiritually in tune so that our leadership may bring harmony to our ministry.

Music leaders find themselves tremendously busy on Sundays. Ensuring that the musical presentation is an integral part of worship is a big responsibility, requiring time, effort and faithful consistency. Often we feel pressure, not to perform well, but to provide meaningful music so that our congregations will be brought closer to the Lord. How refreshing it was, then, for us not to be responsible for leading or planning anything, but to just relax and listen to God’s Word.

Looking around the room at the 40 delegates and staff, I realized what a huge impact these people can have on the kingdom and the growth of the Army. We are all passionate about growing the Army and discipling people for the Lord. These local officers, many who have served for a long period of time, can have a significant impact on literally thousands of people, including both those who come under their leadership and those who are challenged by the music ministry they produce. How pleased I was that time and energy were invested in helping us be better leaders!

Delegates from the USA Western Territory were: BM Neil Smith/THQ, BM Bill Flinn/Pasadena, Tabernacle, SL Derek Helms/Sacramento Citadel, BM Tim DeCastro/Denver Citadel, BM Stefan Wennstig/Seattle Temple, BM Jim Black/Concord, SL Martin Hunt/Pasadena Tabernacle.

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