From the Music Ministry…

In Appreciation

As most of you have heard, Warren and Bobbie Fields are moving to Athens, Georgia to live with their daughter Karen and her family. When Bobbie and Warren let everyone know they had sold their house in Atlanta and would need to be out of it by August 7, I began to think about how long I have known Dr. Fields and to reflect on what I have come to appreciate about him over the years.

Through my work as a minister of music in Georgia beginning in 1982 with Warren at the helm of the state Church Music Department, through several years of involvement with him as a member of the Sons of Jubal, a men’s sacred music choral group he led in his role as Head of the Church Music Department of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and most recently through my continued association with him at Parkway Baptist Church, I have come to appreciate several of Warren’s characteristics as a musician and a minister.

The first characteristic of Warren’s I have come to value is his high standard of musical excellence. When I first joined the Sons of Jubal in 1982, it had been led by the former Director of the Church Music Department of the GBC. This leader was an energetic and sincere Christian servant, excellent organizer and motivator, and did a great job initiating many life changing church music programs throughout the Church Music Department of the GBC. However, under this faithful servant’s musical leadership, the Sons of Jubal had two volume levels – loud and louder. When Dr. Fields assumed leadership of the Church Music Department and therefore the Sons of Jubal, he held the group to a higher musical standard. Warren patiently encouraged members, who were used to singing full bore all the time, to sing not only with our hearts but also with our minds. He led the group to discover that God can be honored and people can be brought to the Throne of God through a beautiful quiet passage as well as through loud, bombastic singing. He believed the worship of God called for offering the best possible and he continually moved the group to achieve their musical best.

Secondly, I have found Warren to a genuinely sincere and authentic minister. While Dr. Fields is an excellent musician, he does lack one thing most academics and highly skilled musician have – a large ego. While Warren has his well-founded opinions, I have found him to be a caring minister and considerate person foremost.

Last of all, I appreciate Warren’s high opinion of worship. I remember him advocating for the primacy of worship when he worked at the Georgia Baptist Convention. As many organizations do, one year the Georgia Baptist Convention was reevaluating and ordering its organizational priorities. Dr. Fields strongly advocated for worship being the priority of the Convention. He argued that, without worship, that life-changing experience with God, the Church’s purpose is lost. The Church can care for the poor, evangelize the lost, and disciple believers – all of these good and vital Christian ministries – but all these ministries flow from worship.

Warren and Bobbie – I know you are doing the best thing and will enjoy your time closer to your family, but you will be missed tremendously. Thank you for positively impacting my life and ministry through the wonderful example you have been over the years. Blessings on you both as you transition into this new part of your life’s journey. Soli Deo gloria.