Worship leaders bring local church feel to chapel

Communications Staff — November 11, 2008

All who attend chapel have no doubt noticed that there are new worship leaders this semester at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

But few are aware of their vision of discipling students and faculty through music.

Lange Patrick, one of the two primary chapel worship leaders said his goal is “helping people to better know God through songs with rich texts and great music together with the goal of encouraging people, discipling people through the music.”

Patrick, minister of worship and music at Highview Baptist Church’s East Campus in Louisville, shares chapel leadership responsibilities with Dan Odle, associate pastor of music and worship at Highview’s Fegenbush Campus. Eric Yeldell, Highview’s minister of music and worship development, is also part of the chapel leadership team.

The team began leading chapel worship at the request of Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., who wanted them to bring the “ethos of Sunday church” to campus, Odle said.

Odle, a 2002 graduate of Southern’s School of Church Music and Worship, sees chapel leadership as an opportunity to build the Kingdom of God beyond his ministry at Highview.

“We see this as an investment beyond our own ministries because we understand that there are thousands of pastors and would-be pastors that are coming to seminary chapel,” he said. “We feel like this is an opportunity to worship not only with them but to perhaps to demonstrate what a healthy music ministry may look like in their church.”

Tom Bolton, dean of Southern’s School of Church Music and Worship said he has been edified by the worship team’s leadership this semester.

“Both men (Odle and Patrick) bring a ministerial heart and a real desire to lead God’s people in worship through the blend of historical and contemporary musical resources,” he said.

“We all realize that Southern Seminary is unlike the local church in many ways, but we are similar in that within our seminary family are represented diverse backgrounds and heart languages that no one musical style can express. We must embrace a wide diversity of styles to give everyone a voice by using different styles and media that maintain biblical integrity and avoid the carnal desire for entertainment of self. We will continue to seek the right balance for the seminary community as we would in any church situation.”

When leading worship, Odle said his goal is not to please people but to offer them a suitable outlet for voicing their praise to God.

“Our goal is to provide an outlet for students who are studying God all week and allow them an outlet to voice their praise and connect to God in a language that they speak,” Odle said. “So we do some things that some people would say are traditional and some things that people would say are contemporary. Our goal is not to be traditional or contemporary. It’s to be relevant.”

Odle particularly enjoys standing before chapel worshippers because the singing is of such high quality and carries so much passion, he said.

“In seminary chapel the refreshing thing about it is students come in having spent hours and hours thinking and talking about God and reading about God,” he said. “And they’re ready to sing and to express their praise through prayer and through the hearing of the preaching of the Word.”

Patrick said one of the greatest joys of attending chapel for him is investing in the lives of students.

“Along the way, one of my passions is to invest in the servants, the people that God places in my path that I serve with,” he said. “We can do music really well and miss the opportunity to disciple each other if we aren’t

Patrick said he hopes to model for chapel attendees how to plan a worship service that honors God.

“We hope they would see the biblical nature of what we are doing,” he said.

Most importantly, however, chapel should be a time when believers refocus their attention and affections on Christ, Patrick said.

“It is a spiritual time of refreshing and revival in my own heart this year, and I’m sure the students would say that as well,” he said.

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