How has Music Ministry and Worship Changed At Liberty University?
Early Music Ministry, By Jacqueline Hale
Music has held deep roots at Liberty University since 1971.
“There are two ways to reach young people,’’ Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr. said. ‘’Sports and music.’’
During the early days, music was an integral part of the school’s fundraising efforts.
The first LBC Chorale was born the same year as the school and regularly performed on Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr.’s Old Time Gospel Hour. In 1975, the Chorale toured with Falwell on a support-raising journey. Again, in 1976, the LBC Choral Road Team traveled to over 300 churches in just 11 months.
Another important musical moment was the “I Love America” tour, a campaign centered around rallying America for the cause of Christ. In a dazzle of red, white and blue, 70 students traveled with Falwell to 150 cities around the country performing Don Wyrtzen’s musical, “I Love America,” in commemoration of the nation’s bicentennial
A few years later, Liberty’s Spirit of the Mountain Marching Band was chosen as one of 12 bands scheduled to perform at the 1983 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
These early notable events and others laid the groundwork for Liberty’s longstanding prioritization of music as a means for reaching young people and the world for the cause of Christ.
Worship at Liberty, By Jordan Smith
Since 2015, the heart of music ministry at Liberty has been the Worship Collective. That year, former Campus Pastor David Nasser combined the campus’ numerous worship groups into a main group of 12-13 individuals who would rotate in leading worship for core events such as Convocation and Campus Community.
However, as Liberty grew, so did the Collective. It now has about 50-70 members per year, from bassists and guitarists to pianists and vocalists who hail from a variety of backgrounds and places.
For Executive Director Kevin Huguley, a bigger group means that the Collective’s mission — to glorify God through music and worship — can take precedence.
“So much of the heartbeat of our department was like, ‘we don’t want to make it about the persons, right?’” Huguley said. “We don’t want to highlight an individual. We kind of want to be more faceless, you know, and we want to make it about peers … leading peers.”
Huguley stepped into his role as executive director in 2018. Huguley and Nasser had planted a church together in Birmingham, Alabama. Huguley said that he felt called to move to Lynchburg to get involved with the Collective.
“I felt like there was just a calling from God on my life to go. (I thought), ‘man, I need to be obedient to … really invest my life into the next generation of worship leaders,’” Huguley said.
Rachel Anderson, a Liberty senior and vocalist on the Collective said that one of her favorite parts about being on the Collective is the opportunity to encourage her peers through worship.
“The truth of God’s Word never returns void,” Anderson said. “And so, being able to sing that over people is just super special.”
In addition to leading campus worship, the Collective travels around the country to perform at conferences and retreats.
Even through the fast-paced, full weekly schedules and other endeavors, the Collective’s focus is always Christ.
“We do believe our vision comes down from the vision that God gave this founder (Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr.), so we are to raise Champions for Christ,” Huguley said. “We utilize music and the gift of music to then celebrate Jesus around the globe.”