A Word on Bruce Leafblad

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Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

Tom Pals will be finishing his seminary training next December. During the fall he will be busy looking for a full-time ministerial position. Therefore he is terminating his ministry as our choir director at the end of August. I have really appreciated Tom’s spiritual depth, theological insight, faithful leadership, and vocal ministry among us.

The music committee has interviewed Bruce Leafblad, Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship at Bethel College and Seminary, and has recommended to the Trustees and Deacons that he be presented to the church as candidate for part-time Minster of Music and Worship beginning September 1, 1981. The Trustees and Deacons considered this recommendation in their April and May sessions, and have voted unanimously to present Bruce Leafblad to the church. Last Sunday morning, a business meeting was called for Wednesday, June 10, at 7:15 p.m. to discuss this matter and to vote on whether to extend a call to Dr. Leafblad. Please try to come.

Bruce Leafblad was born in 1939 in Waukegan, Illinois, is married to June, and has two 10-year-old children (twins) named Stewart and Stephani. He attended Bethel College and Seminary and holds a Master of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado in Music Performance (voice) and the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California in Church Music.

Bruce just came to Bethel last fall from Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California, where he served as Minister of Music and Worship for ten years. From this base, the influence of Bruce Leafblad extended across the country because of his articulate lecturing and writing on the theology of worship. He was awarded the “Alumnus of the Year” Award by Bethel College in 1979 and has been selected to inaugurate a new Masters degree program at Bethel College and Seminary for people aspiring to music ministry in the church.

If we extend to Dr. Leafblad a call, and he accepts, his responsibilities would be: 1) to plan (in consultation with the pastor and other appropriate persons) the corporate worship services, and join in leading those services; 2) to train and direct the adult choir in its ministry Sunday mornings and in its special concerts; 3) to supervise the graded choir program; and 4) along with the pastor, to give impetus to the total music program of the church. In all of these, his goal should be to equip the singers and musicians to minister (Ephesians 4:12), and through ministry, to assist the people in genuine worship.

Bruce Leafblad’s desire to work part-time in a Conference church is a part of his overall vision for developing the ministry of music and worship across our Conference. He believes he must demonstrate in a local church what he is teaching in his classes. Whether the Lord leads Bruce to Bethlehem or not, we can be grateful that such teaching and demonstrating are now a part of our Conference life.

Let’s all be in prayer for Bruce and June, and for ourselves, that we and they might be led by the Spirit in accord with biblical wisdom for the church. Perhaps a personal word would be in order since Bruce and I would have to work hand in glove on our worship services.

I have known Bruce personally for about eleven years. I sat under his ministry at Lake Avenue Church in 1971. I have met with him three times personally and once in committee. The recommendation of the deacons has my heartiest approval. But I rest my heart in the sovereign grace of God: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).

I just received word by phone that Bruce will be with us for the first part of our evening service on June 7. Let’s turn out to make him feel the very same spirit of joy we had last Sunday night.