FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Lyndel Vaught, professor of church music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary since 1993, died Sept. 10 of cancer. He was 63.
“In the last few days of his life he spent his time encouraging others in the assurance of salvation and the hope that lies ahead of all who put their faith in Jesus,” said Stephen Johnson, dean of the school of church music at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary. Many seminary faculty, staff and students had visited Vaught in the hospital, and a student-initiated prayer meeting had been held for him the week before he died.
“Dr. Vaught’s heart for the future ministers that sat in his classroom was well-known,” Johnson said. “His love for deep worship and active missionary involvement, most recently with the Navajo, represented passions that occupied many of his conversations and much of his time.” During his sabbatical in the 2007-08 academic year, Vaught ministered to Native Americans in New Mexico.
Southwestern President Paige Patterson recounted, “Visiting him just a few days ago, I could not help being drawn to his Navajo jewelry, which he faithfully wore even in the hospital. It reminded me of his profound commitment not only to music and worship, but also to missions.”
Vaught’s wealth of knowledge came from a broad range of life experiences. While studying music at Oklahoma Baptist University, he met his wife Janet. He went on to earn a master’s degree in music from the University of Oklahoma in 1968.
After graduation, he enlisted to serve in the Navy during the Vietnam War, but he never made it to battle. During basic training, his officers saw that he had a gift for quickly learning foreign languages, so they sent him to language school followed by the Navy Officer’s Training School. He served in various roles across the country as an analyst and specialist, eventually, working as a writer at the Pentagon.
Still, music remained his passion. He led worship for a small church while he was in the military. When his tour of duty was over, he pursued his doctorate in music at the University of Maryland. His first full-time position in music ministry was at First Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas, from 1976 until joining Southwestern’s faculty.
He began leading a senior adult choir and became energized by their desire for the Lord. He even wrote a book, “Senior Adult Choir Ministry -– Age Is No Excuse,” which still is in print. While many people would think working with senior adults would be dull in comparison to the fast-paced life in Washington, D.C., Vaught once said if he were given another lifetime to work, he would spend the entire time in senior adult music ministry.
In recent years, Vaught combined his passions for worship, education and technology to teaching online worship courses for Southwestern’s school of church music.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children, Andrea, Christopher and William.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at First Baptist Church in San Angelo. Also, a noon memorial service will be held Friday, Sept. 19, in Reynolds Auditorium on the Southwestern Seminary campus.
Michelle Myers is a writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.