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10/1/97 Scottish seminarian puts accent on training for Christian service

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Tina Macpherson’s soft, lyrical voice seems as out of place in Texas as a cool highland mist. She patiently endures a stream of unoriginal comments from fellow students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: “I love your accent!”
But there is more geography to Macpherson than her Scottish pedigree. She has done missionary work in Korea, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Thailand and the Philippines. She plays the guitar, piano, saxophone and sings. She has led children’s and youth choirs. She has taught English, directed youth camps and led worship. She is well-versed in word processing, lifesaving, first aid and office administration.
This “renaissance woman” had only one problem: “Through everything I did, I kept asking why I was doing it. It didn’t all fit together.”
She loved missions, music, youth work and using her administrative skills. She knew she was called to ministry. But how did a Scottish Baptist decide to study music at Southwestern?
Her journey of self-discovery began in her early teens.
“I went to the Church of Scotland growing up,” she said. “My father was an elder there. But it was pretty boring.” When the Baptist church in her hometown of Glasgow started a youth group, Tina went with a friend. “For about a year, I went to the Church of Scotland in the morning and the Baptist church at night.”
All the time, she thought she was a good Christian. “But when I went to camp one summer, I found out I wasn’t a Christian at all. So after I got home from camp, I made a commitment to Christ and joined the Baptist church.”
At her new church, Tina began working with the youth on a regular basis. “It seemed the natural thing to get more knowledge, so I went to Bible college in England. I studied for three years, thinking I’d be a youth worker.”
However, following a short course in English as a Second Language, Tina recognized a call to missions. After her college years, she taught English for two years in Korea and Wales. And one month in Thailand and two in the Philippines gave her “an important cross-cultural experience with an insight into missionary work.”
Southwestern grad Kathie White, then the music minister at Macpherson’s home church, Kirkintilloch Baptist Church in Glasgow, convinced Tina to study at Southwestern.
“She knew that studying music was always something I wanted to do, and that this was the best place to do it.”
Yet Macpherson wasn’t convinced she was good enough to study at the Fort Worth seminary. “But I knew I wanted to study church music, because I have a desire to lead worship. You can’t study or improve in those kind of areas at a secular university.”
So Tina applied, was accepted and began studies in August 1996.
“My goals are to deepen my understanding of musicality and harmony,” she said. “I would love to learn how to write good worship songs — to help people worship instead of just sing songs. Since I have worked with youth, I especially want teenagers to be enthusiastic about worship.”
She loves Southwestern, but finds life in America an adjustment.
“I like it here — people are a lot more open and friendly. Scottish people are so much more reserved. I don’t miss the cold weather at home, but I do miss the hills!”
Other things she misses include Cadbury’s chocolate, Iron Brew (“like Dr. Pepper, but orange”) and salt and vinegar crisps (that’s Queen’s English for potato chips). “And I really miss being able to get tuna and sweet corn on pizza.”
And now that Tina is at Southwestern, her life has started to make sense. She plans to continue her education, possibly through the master’s level, and let the Lord lead her to the next step in ministry. “The pieces fit now,” she said. “I know I’m where I need to be.”

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  • Dena Dyer