One of the most influential church musicians within the last 100 years entered into his eternal reward on December 11, 2014. But many people didn’t think of T.W Hunt as a church musician; He was often thought of as a “prayer warrior” or “discipleship author.” And yet, it was in the discipline of music that Dr. Hunt studied and taught. He served several institutions as a music professor, most notably in the School of Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Count me among the many who were greatly impacted by this humble giant.
In 1994, the study Dr. Hunt co-authored with Claude King entitled, The Mind of Christ, was released by LifeWay. As a Minister of Music, I was intrigued by the description and started working on the study. It was this study that opened my heart to the power that God’s Word could have in my life if I would hide it in heart. I remember the scripture memory cards and exercises and powerful lessons of the study. This study helped me learn to love exploring scripture and praying with God’s Word as the guide. It changed the way I thought about the Bible.
Many years later, when I became the Director of LifeWay Worship, I received a phone call from Dr. Hunt. “I want to pray for you, Mike.” And did he pray.
When the work was beginning on the 2008 Hymnal much thought was going into the various committees that would execute the work. A Theological Review Committee was formed and chaired by Jon Duncan. We quickly agreed that we had to have Dr. Hunt on this committee. I made the call, and T.W. quickly agreed to serve.
Suffice it to say that as we moved through the process, every time he spoke – the rest of us just listened. I think we all knew we were in the presence of greatness.
So, what will be the legacy of T.W. Hunt?
He was a man of the Word. He understood and modeled prayer for a generation. He was instrumental in helping us see the connection between worship and missions. He was a disciple maker of the first order and all of it from the ministry center of music.
And that’s where he had his greatest influence on so many in worship ministry. Dr. T.W. Hunt was a church musician that understood he wasn’t serving the art of music. He modeled that the church musician had no less responsibility to know God’s Word and to pray than our pastors have in their role.
I’m grateful for his legacy and friendship. And I re-commit my life to following his example. Thank you Lord, for such a great model of music ministry for all of us. Thank you for Dr. T.W. Hunt.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.