Fresh voices of Southwestern Sound offer a sacrifice of praise

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, has assembled a new ministry recruiting team, and the group hopes to accomplish most of its work through song.

Created to lead times of worship in churches of all sizes, the traveling music ministry team “Southwestern Sound” exists “to present the best possible offerings to their Savior and, in the process, attract other students who want to give their best in ministry to the Lord,” James Caldwell, the group’s director, said.

Southwestern Sound is comprised of both seminary students and students from The College at Southwestern. The team is drawn from states such as Maryland, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Florida, and countries such as Indonesia and Spain.

“Whenever you have a group of musicians, they can be incredible in their own right, but to put them together and sing as a unit is a major challenge,” Caldwell said.

Thirteen students accepted Caldwell’s challenge, practicing for the first time July 5. Over the summer, they threw themselves into a short, intense period of bringing their sounds together.  “One of the students said it was like boot camp,” Caldwell said.

The effort paid off, he said. “The result is a well-honed group of musically excellent, friendly young people who present the hymns of yesterday and the songs of today in a fresh, worshipful way.”

Worship is something Caldwell has focused on for nearly three decades. He is a veteran of the gospel music industry and has been in the ministry for 28 years. Caldwell has written more than 25 gospel songs, including “Love Drove the Nails,” “I’m Going to a City,” and “Before Sunrise the Son Rose.” Today he serves as the seminary’s director of recruiting.

Southwestern Sound embodies Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson’s vision to have a traveling team bring the mission of the seminary and college to local churches, Caldwell said. Patterson, he said, wanted to help people in the churches see that the Southwestern is training men and women to undertake ministry at the highest levels of quality and scholarship.

Caldwell began recruiting the team in March 2005, looking for people who had a heart to use their gifts and talents to serve God. Seven group members are currently pursuing bachelor’s degrees, three are master-level students, and one is beginning doctoral study.

Southwestern Sound is available to sing at churches. Trips to churches across the country were made possible, Caldwell said, because of the generosity of a donor who provided a 47-passenger bus in which the group could travel.

Booking arrangements can made through Michael Davis of the Dominion Agency in Wade, N.C., on-line at, or by telephone at (910) 484-6996.

“My hope for this team is to show prospective students in churches across the country the high caliber of achievement that can be found at Southwestern,” Caldwell said.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas