Hank Murphy (right) leads worship at the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham in June. SCREENCAPTURE
MCDONOUGH – Hank Murphy, the current worship leader for Summit Church’s Brier Creek Campus, would tell you it all began with a spontaneous night of worship. And knowing Hank Murphy, that’s the only way it should have begun.
Four months after his salvation, while still a senior in high school, Murphy went to visit some friends at Valdosta State University. He attended a football game and two other events with them, eventually winding up in someone’s apartment leading worship that night. Most of the people there knew each other though the Baptist Collegiate Ministries at VSU.
“Afterwards I’m talking to some people there and it turns out the common denominator, the common connection in most of them, was the BCM. So I was like, okay, what is this deal?”
As he continued to plan for college, the memory of that night and the people he met from BCM stuck with him. “It seemed like this was the place I needed to be and these were the people I needed to be around,” he says.
Murphy chose to attend VSU and became an active member of the BCM – even leading the worship team his freshman year. He remained involved throughout college and formed close relationships with the people there. Several of his friends from BCM made up his wedding party.
“When I think about some of the most impactful people in my life, a strong percentage of them I met throughout my time in BCM,” he remembers.
Murphy describes BCM as “a launching pad for the rest of my life as it is now.” That’s not only because of the friendships built, but because of the passion for the Word of God instilled in him during his time there.
“More than anything, my worship leading has been shaped by the Word of God and a love for the Word of God,” he stresses. “That is a part of who I am because of how emphasized it was [in BCM]. My discipleship during those years taught me and gave me the gift of having a love for God’s Word. It shaped me as a worship leader to not just do what’s popular, but to be biblically sound.”
And Murphy practices what he preaches. Sept. 26-29, he led worship for a crowd of 769 BCM students from across the state of Georgia during Confluence Conference hosted at Eagle’s Landing Baptist Church in McDonough. And, he made certain that the Word of God was quoted in every worship set.
“Inevitably when you’re on the worship stage your mouth is going to open to say something other than singing the song you’re leading. I learned during that time of my life that what I’m going to say better be worth it. God has plenty more to say than I do, so if I don’t know His Word, then I’m giving people a lot of useless opinions and feelings of my own.”
He also has some important advice for current college students, “’Follow your heart’ is just terrible advice, a terrible idea. Learn how to lead your heart instead of following it, and the way you lead your heart is by loving and knowing the Word of God.”