When I reflect upon the experiences that have influenced my musical and spiritual life, I am overwhelmed at the grace that has been shown to me. Music and faith were nurtured in me from the very start, and my life has been in cooperation and celebration of that legacy of service and song.

As I grow older, I look back on those gifts and understand more fully how much impact they still have in my language of spiritual expression. Sometimes these elements are mere nostalgia, while others represent treasured rituals and traditions that are foundational to my work and worship.

In this issue of WorshipSongsOnline, our bloggers look at the past to consider how it might inform our future. From the personal to the corporate, we celebrate our heritage of faith and look at our different ways of “doing church” and wonder at what might be around the corner for the millennial church.

Sometimes our observations can be joyful:

Why in traditional churches do we put our worship leaders in those big uncomfortable thrones on Sunday morning? Why do they always put the pianist behind a bunch of potted plants?

Sometimes our ways of doing things can be challenging:

How do you keep the animals from eating each other during those “blessings of the beasts” services? How do you navigate telling Mrs. Luckadoo not to sing the high note on “O Holy Night” this year?

Sometimes our looking back can remind us of interesting things we are slowly losing to time:

Summer revivals, the church graveyard, Bible drills…

Sometimes our looking back reminds of important things that we must not lose as we grow and adapt with the times:

The choir, the organ, hymnals, our sense of community and service.

Hopefully, our blogs this month will be a chance for you to pause, reflect, and be grateful!

Much grace….



Joseph Martin, a native of North Carolina, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Subsequently he earned a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Texas, Austin. Joseph taught for five years in the Piano Pedagogy Department of the University of Texas. His piano teachers include Jimmy Woodle, David Gibson, Amanda Vick Lethco, Martha Hilley and Danielle Martin. While at Furman University, he was accompanist for choral director and composer Milburn Price and, inspired by his teaching, Martin began to compose.
He is a member of the staff at the Hal Leonard Corporation and Shawnee Press, Inc. as Director of Sacred Publications, with responsibilities for overseeing the editorial and creative direction of the company and also coordinating the recording and production aspects of future sacred publishing efforts.
Joseph has performed solo piano recitals and has been the featured artist with symphony orchestras in the United States and Mexico. As winner of the Nina Plant Wideman Competition, he performed with the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra. His solo recital in Ex-convento del Carmen was broadcast nationally throughout the country.
Joseph is Artist in Residence at Concordia University in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife Sue, and his children Jonathan and Aubrey.

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