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Bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs visits LU's Center for Worship

April 15, 2008 : Mitzi Bible

Country and bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs spoke to Liberty University students Tuesday at the school’s Center for Worship.

Skaggs shared his testimony, saying he eventually came to a point in his career where he realized “that my ministry was not to be a Christian artist, but to be an artist that was Christian, and to go out and take the love of Christ in my heart … to touch as many people for Christ as I can in this lifetime.”

It’s all about humility, he told students.

“When you get through this thing and you have the training you have, one thing that you know more than anything is that it is better to be famous in Heaven than to be famous on the Earth. Because God doesn’t care for our famousness here. It’s where our name’s written – in Heaven – is what He cares about.”

He also told students how although they all may be called to music ministry, God will use each of them differently and for His own purposes.

“We’re all different and we all have the abilities to influence others for Christ in the way our brother couldn’t do. I’m always amazed how the Lord would use a bluegrass mandolin player to be here talking to you guys.”

In his professional career, Skaggs has won eight awards from the Country Music Association – including Entertainer of the Year in 1985 – and nine Grammys.

He was at Liberty to serve on the worship center’s advisory council, alongside other successful musicians, songwriters and others in the entertainment industry.

The list includes Christian singer/songwriter Al Denson, who led worship for part of the session. Denson has written 19 top 10 songs, with seven reaching No. 1. He has been nominated for five Dove awards, including Song of the Year. He won a Dove for the Choral Collection Album of the Year for his Youth Chorus Book. He has also been a featured performer on many Billy Graham and Franklin Graham Crusades as well as Dawson McAllister Ministries. Denson said being on the Liberty University campus was, in one word, “energetic.”

“We didn’t have this [Center for Worship] when I was in college. It’s amazing, it draws you in, it makes you want to be here.”

Dr. Vernon Whaley, Director of the Center for Worship, said he wanted to pull together a council of professionals, industry people, church people and educators.

“They’re all helping us stay focused on what our mission is: training and equipping worship leaders for the evangelical community,” he said.

The Center for Worship is an attractive option for students who feel the call to full-time music ministry.

“We’ve developed a program that’s cutting edge and we didn’t even know it was cutting edge,” Whaley said. “We have a new worship degree that is market-driven, it’s set up so that it meets specific needs in the church market. Right now there are little better than 1,500 job openings for our students … it’s huge, the opportunities.”

For more on the Center for Worship at Liberty University, visit their website, http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=1191.