Back Worship Choir welcomes Travis Cottrell and Bill Gaither at 09-09-09 celebration
September 10th, 2009
Last night, Brentwood Baptist's Worship Choir met for the celebration of a special date this season—09-09-09.
Dennis Worley, Music & Worship Minister, said, "When I started looking ahead at the calendar, I said, 'Let's have some fun with this date.' So we invited some personalities to show up—hoping to draw in some new people. We had 168 people check in at our computers that are on our roll. That is, by far, the largest group we've had."
At the end of the night, a total count of 252 people came—30 of those from an area church, members of our senior adult choir, and others.
The unique focus of the evening were the two musical guests who came to speak and lead in a short time of worship—Travis Cottrell, up-and-coming artist and Beth Moore's worship leader, and Bill Gaither, Gospel Music Association's Hall of Famer. Both artists shared their testimonies of how God led them into leading worship.
Travis was the first to speak. He said, "Some of my fondest memories of growing up was on Wednesday nights from 8:00-9:00 p.m. in my little old Baptist church when they would have choir practice in the sanctuary. ... I hung on their every note."
The younger worship leader encouraged the crowd, saying, "I'm all for the changes in our worship that reach people for the kingdom of God. It's not about our cool songs and our hip methodology. We can be as cool and hip as we want, but if we don't come selflessly with the heart of a servant, then it's all for nothing."
"I want to encourage you to take hold of this high calling of leading people into worship," Travis said. "As I'm telling you this, I also want to tell you two more things: this calling isn't about you—it's not just isolating your gifts and showcasing your gifts, but at the same time, God has this for you. I challenge and encourage you to see what God [has] in store for this body and this community because of your obedience."
When Travis left the stage, he ushered in legendary music artist and gospel singer, Bill Gaither. Dennis said, "As it turned out, this was the one Wednesday night [Bill] could do this the entire fall. "
Bill shared his personal testimony with the crowd—of how his parents didn't go to church and his grandmother's escort to services each week as a child. He said, "The thing that pulled me into [a relationship with Christ] were Sunday mornings—seeing and listening to the saints. It was beautiful. I was able to sift through and say, 'This is about real stuff, real life.'"
Story after story, 73-year-old Bill shared how God has showed up to teach him life and faith lessons in the disappointments, loss, and joy throughout the 46 years of ministry—one even relating to his brief encounter with Elvis Presley more than 30 years ago after a concert on Oklahoma City.
"There are a lot of things in life that can rob us of our joy," he said. "There's not been much [fan] mail saying we did some miraculous things in their lives. ... But the word they used the most is 'through.' They've said, 'Thank you for your ministry. It got us through a difficult time.' ... I've learned to trust in Jesus. I've learned to depend on His Word. With that, nothing can rob you of His joy."
The night wrapped with Bill leading the choir and guests in a song written by Andrae Crouch, "Through It All," with Travis accompanying him on the piano, and the choir praying over the two special guests.
Dennis said, "Sometimes, we take for granted that people like Travis Cottrell and Bill Gaither are constantly busy giving and giving to others, so I think this was just as much of an equal reciprocal kind of blessing for them, just being with a new group of people and worshipping together."
"We are a unique group in the church because we come from every conceivable background," Dennis said. "We're made up of all shapes, sizes, forms, and everything that you can imagine. But what we have in common is our love for God, our passion to use our voices for His glory, and our desire to learn how to better worship leaders. We can't promise Bill Gaither or Travis Cottrell every week, but we'd love to have anyone come who wants to be a part."
To learn more about how you can join the Brentwood Baptist Worship Choir and lead the congregation in worship each week, contact Dennis Worley at 324.6129 or click here.
Story by Kaylan Christopher
Photos by Stephen Kiern