FRESNO – “I enjoy connecting with a good team, choir, or musicians who do their job well. It’s that connection with ministry that I miss the most” Roger Byrd said. “I was privileged to lead a choir and team every Wednesday and Sunday for 25 years, so Sundays are very different, when I don’t have a place to serve.”
Roger participates on the worship team of Woodward Park Baptist Church in Fresno when his schedule permits. His position as music and worship specialist for the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) Healthy Church Group takes him away from his home church frequently. He travels 15,000 miles a year ministering to California Southern Baptists.
His consultancy takes him wherever there is a need to support the ministry of music and worship in CSBC churches. Roger guides the Convention’s church music development and worship improvement. He also leads our churches in discipleship and in the ministry of prayer. Roger feels humbled and blessed when a music minister asks him to fill-in while he is away from church.
“I love to step in for music leaders across the state from time to time,” Roger said. “They need a Sunday off, and sometimes there is no one in the wings at their church on whom they can call to lead. I enjoy getting to go and fill in, leading their praise team or choir in ministry of worship music. Choral music has always been a part of my ministry. Getting to lead and visit these different churches is really fun for me and ministry to them.”
Choral music became part of Roger’s life as a child singing in children’s choir at the former Bristol Street Baptist Church in Santa Ana. His interest in music continued, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from California Baptist University and a master of church music degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
He became a member of the California Singing Churchmen, the choral group of California ministers he now directs. In 1995, CSBC selected Roger as state convention music leader, and he became president of the Church Music Conference. He got a taste of what it would be like to help, motivate, and work with his peers around the state. Even so, God had planted another seed in Roger’s heart.
“At the age of 16, at a youth camp, I made further commitments to the Lord in my heart about daily discipleship,” Roger shared. “It was at Jenness Park under the tent before they built the new chapel. Daily worship is our connection point to the Lord Jesus. Without that connection, we are in danger of falling away from close fellowship with the Lord.”
Roger sees the Christian life as a racetrack we run every day. The race keeps going because our life in Christ does not end and our love for Christ motivates us to run. Sometimes the pace changes because runners run differently on the curves than they do on the straightaway. Experiences in the Christian’s everyday life are what alter the pace.
“We need worship experience every day with daily devotions,” Roger said. “We need Bible experience every day. We need witnessing and ministry experience daily, and we need fellowship experience. Discipleship is not just about attending a class. Remember science class and science lab in school? We need to have a time to study, but we also need disciple experiences. My discipleship battle-cry for a few years now has been this: More lab work!”
Churches often struggle over issues dealing with the kind of worship service that is best for their congregation or what discipleship model is right for their church. Roger reminds them that worshipping and ministering together as the family of God are much like a family dinner.
“When Mom prepares the family meal, she must think about all persons present,” Roger explained. “She has to think about the adults who are there, but also about the children. She prepares differently for the children than she does for the children’s grandparents. You cannot just ignore a part of God’s family who want to express themselves in musical worship. The Scriptures say we should be tender with each other.”
Roger served as a minister of music, minister of education and associate pastor for more than 22 years for three California churches. He joined the CSBC staff in March 2001. Roger and his wife, Ginger, have two children, Jennifer and Ryan.
Roger’s message to California Southern Baptists:
“Worship drives our Christian life. When we worship well and grow closer to God on a daily basis, not just on Sundays, it drives our ministry. It motivates us to minister to others, and when we worship well and grow closer to Christ, it energizes our evangelism.
“Worship certainly is the connecting point to the Lord Jesus. Without prayer and worship, we cannot function well as Christians. We can fall away from His ministry. We start doing things in our own power, which is a constant danger. Therefore, we must stay connected with Him daily. The health of our spiritual lives depends on our connection with Jesus.”
Roger’s prayer requests:
Pray to the Lord of the Harvest to raise up spiritual workers.
Pray for churches that are struggling to discover the kinds of worship appropriate for their members and communities.
Pray for churches that are struggling financially, resulting in the downsizing of their staff to part-time, volunteer or non-existent positions.
Pray that all California Southern Baptists will experience a joyful disciple’s heart, tithing and giving faithfully to the Lord’s work.
Pray for generous giving to the California Mission Offering.
Praise God because He alone is worthy. He deserves our worship.
Praise God for keeping us healthy and serving Him.
Praise God for the blessings He bestows on our churches in spite of all our weaknesses.
Praise God for working in Convention life, which has resulted in an increased number of salvations and baptisms in our churches.
Praise God for the resurgence of choirs throughout the state. Let the people praise Him.
Praise God for music ministries to children and youth. We are raising up tomorrow’s music and worship leaders.
Roger’s contact information:
Music & Worship Specialist
678 E. Shaw Avenue
Fresno CA 93710