DULUTH — Since he arrived in Georgia in 2002, Jon Duncan has built a reputation as a leader in music and worship worldwide. Now, his new role as catalyst for Georgia Baptist Music & Worship will be to focus that experience on equipping local churches.
The first step, he said, was helping place consultants and practitioners throughout the state.
“We’ll develop their responsibilities and make sure their work is connecting to local churches,” he noted. “That will happen through training and connecting with pastors to find out their needs.”
Those consultants and practitioners will work throughout the six regions as identified in the Georgia Baptist restructuring. Those regions are: Northwest, Northeast, West Central, East Central, Southwest, and Southeast.
In his position, Duncan will lead one of the five teams dedicated to Church Strengthening – Evangelism, led by Levi Skipper; Missions, led by Buck Burch; Discipleship, led by Scott Sullivan; and Next Gen, whose catalyst has yet to be announced.
Duncan will continue to direct the state choirs Sons of Jubal and the Jubalheirs. Those groups have become known in the past for performing in places such as England, the Middle East, and even North Korea. However, their mission will now be more directed to impacting Georgia.
Biblically-balanced approach to church worship
Church Strengthening Lead Strategist Mark Marshall said Duncan’s roots in leading Christ-honoring worship will serve Georgia Baptist churches well.
“Jon brings a great, biblically-balanced approach to worship in the local church,” said Marshall. “That’s what I love about him.”
Duncan told how resource training often requires tailoring things specific to a church.
“We’ll look at various aspects of their worship setup. That can include training for accompanists, VBS music leaders, or creative planning.
“Some churches need help in transitioning their worship style. We can help so those changes can be embraced. If conflict mediation is necessary, we can provide that as well.”
Involvement in Music & Worship has a bright future, Duncan said, pointing to the high number of students the ministry saw at its camp this summer.
“That increase is tied to couple of factors,” he pointed out. “One, the students are promoting it among themselves. They’re talking to their friends about their own positive experience.”
The other reason may surprise some people.
“A lot of students love choirs and orchestras, even if its’ not seen as a popular kind of music. Attendance has gone up in these. So, if you provide an opportunity for them to be involved, they’ll respond.”
An added tract to the camp spoke to those inclined to a more contemporary style.
“We offered classes on drums, bass, and guitar. Those classes and worship services are highly-valued. The two contrasting styles work hand-in-glove at the camp,” he said.
The example of contrasting styles working together for a collective good can apply to Georgia churches in different locales, settings, and cultures, all wanting to make a greater impact for Christ. Duncan’s hope is that the result can also mirror what he experienced at camp.
“This year, we had more decisions than ever before. Many came to faith or rededicated their lives. Others answered a call to ministry.”