LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Larry Grayson, Music and Worship Consultant at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC), is retiring from the ABSC after 10-years of service at the state convention and 45-years of ministry service. However, he is not retiring from ministry – he is joining the Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) staff as Chair of the Department of Worship Arts at the end of August.
Not only does Grayson have a passion for worship, but he also has a passion for investing in others – especially those who also have a call to worship ministry. In his role at the ABSC, one of his favorite things has been the fact that he’s been in a position to encourage various worship leaders. “I remember when I was in a situation where I felt isolated and alone – as far as career goes – and I really wanted to have somebody to talk to,” Grayson shared, “Isolation is not your friend. You may be around people all the time and have some connection, but if you’re isolated, you are almost in danger; it will burn you out or you can get a distorted fuse. You need that connection so bad – I need that connection so bad,” Grayson said.
And this is why he has loved his time at the ABSC: his position has enabled him to connect with and encourage fellow worship pastors. “I always learn just as much from them as they could learn from me,” he shared. He has supported, encouraged and mentored worship pastors in the state of Arkansas; he has helped churches find their worship identity.
Another one of his all-time favorite parts of each year is PraiseWorks and JoyWorks (worship-arts camps for kids and students). Last year, over 918 students participated. Grayson’s leadership helped produce significant growth to the various worship ministries of the ABSC. “Each year they have grown and been more exciting. God has done great things, beyond anything I could have asked or imagined,” Grayson stated.
Grayson led multiple mission trips to Ukraine. On these mission trips, the Master’Singers led worship at various locations, where 7,934 people came to know the Lord. For the 2019-2020 year, there are 289 total Master’Singers. He loves Master’Singers and Roundtables with worship pastors as well. “To me, one of the best resources – besides Scripture of course – is each other. Roundtables gave us a chance to come together in a safe place to talk worship. These gatherings always helped, and if nothing else, they were fellowship with like-minded people,” Grayson shared.
As he transitions to OBU for this upcoming school year, he will serve as the Chair of the Department of Worship Arts. He will oversee all worship arts students, and he’ll also look at any curriculum adjustments. “I want this program to prepare students for any church, any size, any style. Life changes; church changes. I want them to be best prepared and to understand the real challenge. It’s deep ministry, not just performing,” Grayson said.
The main thing that Grayson desires is relationships with these students – not just while they are at Ouachita, but for a lifetime. Since he had a call to ministry, many people have invested in him, specifically David Tate, his worship pastor growing up at First Baptist Camden, and Dr. Charles Wright, his voice teacher who later became the Dean of School of Fine Arts at OBU. For Grayson, he understands the power of discipleship, and he wants to be present and available for the worship arts students at OBU.
As he reflects on his time in ministry, one thing he wants to encourage others with is that we are all created to worship. “If God thinks this is important, then we need to invest, question and challenge to offer only the best we can individually and as churches,” Grayson shared.
“It has been an honor to serve Arkansas Baptists and to serve at the ABSC. I told people over and over that I never saw myself working in denominational work; I fought it with everything I had when I came here. But, it’s been nothing but the best for me. I’m very grateful for those who have trusted me to be in this position,” Grayson said.