During the month of November, we will be demonstrating our gratitude to our church staff. Some of our staff members will be offering their own words of gratitude for our church in the Chimes each week. We pray that these words of thanksgiving will model for us a spirit of appreciation for our church and for one another.
This week, we will hear from our Minister of Music, Bob Holquist, and from Jay Coward.
Why I am Grateful for First Baptist Church
By Bob Holquist
I am grateful to First Baptist Church of Sylva because this community of faith has helped me to grow and mature as a Christian. The significant outreach of the church has always been a part of our description, and it is particularly strong now. Our Sunday School offerings from birth until death encourage continued development of understanding God's word, and allows adult minds to deal with difficult topics and scriptures.
As Minister of Music, I am thankful for the fact that my efforts in providing a solid program of traditional church music through hymn singing and anthems are valued by the congregation. The tradition was established long before I assumed the position in 1983. We have been fortunate to have great musical leadership within our membership. How many churches do you know where six individuals, on a volunteer basis, can play the piano for services?? Our choir has likewise been blessed through the years with singers with musical training, offering leadership for those who are in the section. We have some WCU students singing with us now (YEAH WESTERN!!), but in the past, while I was still working, there were many that called FBC "home," and were adopted by our church. They never fail to ask about our church and the music when I see them. Thank you for opening the doors to them. Several of those people are now in church music leadership. FBC of Sylva has allowed me to return a portion of the talent the Lord has given me. You offer me the opportunity to present music I love as a part of the worship experience each week. Thanks for your support.
I need to be challenged as a Christian to look inward, and to evaluate how I am acting on Christian principles. I want messages which cause me to think, considering what changes of attitude or action I may need to do. I appreciate the fact that our congregation values sermons of substance and reflection. Our pastors have led us to spiritual growth, and in many cases, to action.
I certainly believe in the phrase "bloom where you are planted." (Is that how it goes??) I think I'm here in this community, and in this church, for a reason. I'm still here for a reason, following a "near death" accident in 2015. I hope to continue to return a portion. . . I sincerely appreciate your unflagging support of the music ministry.
Words of Affirmation for Bob Holquist
By Jay Coward
Bob Holquist is so multi-talented he could have been just about anything he wanted to be in life. He could have been a roofer, a hunter, a golfer. But those professions do not enable him to do what he does best. He loves the Lord. His calling to be a professional musician gives him the platform to show everyone else how to love the Lord, including me, and for that I am grateful.
Loving the Lord is not necessarily the easiest thing in the world to do. Even Jesus said that a true follower was on a straight and narrow path. Leading a congregation in music Sunday after Sunday is not easy. But, where else does a crowd of people ever gather to sing songs, but church? Practicing the choir every Wednesday night is not easy, unless Bob reminds you that this is your God-given gift, to use and share. Recruiting other musicians to help in the services is not easy, because he has to make them want to accept the invitation, and then like Bob for asking them. Those college kids that show up in our choir, do you think they thought of showing up on their own? No. Bob asked them to come because he loves the Lord, and he wants them to love the Lord, too.
When Bob took over the Western Carolina Community Chorus several years ago, he could have led it in show tunes and popular songs, but he chose sacred music. There is no comparison between the razzle dazzle of Broadway and the huge body of work and incredible genius that is sacred music. Next month this Chorus will be in our church to help us celebrate the Christmas season. Please come! The love of the Lord created that music. The love of the Lord stages it and directs it. And the love of the Lord puts it all in the ears of the listeners.
I am grateful for Bob on many levels but mostly this: We have had thirty-five years of spectacular music at the First Baptist Church, all because Bob Holquist has taught us how to love the Lord.