FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Lyndel Vaught, professor of church music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, passed away Sept. 10 of cancer. His devotion to the Lord and confidence in the faith endured to the end.

“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 Southwestern. Many seminary faculty, staff and students had visited Vaught in the hospital in addition to a student-initiated prayer meeting for him last week.

"Dr. Vaught's heart for the future ministers that sat in his classroom was well known,” said Johnson. “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 last academic year, Vaught ministered to Native Americans in New Mexico.

Southwestern president Paige Patterson said, “Lyndel Vaught was a unique individual greatly used of God in many different ways.  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.  The solidarity and faithfulness of his family also bore eloquent witness to his sterling character.  We shall miss him greatly.”

Vaught’s wealth of knowledge came from a broad range of life experience. While studying music at Oklahoma Baptist University, he met his wife, Janet. He went on to 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. His number came up quickly, but he never made it to the battle. During basic training, his officers discovered he had a gift for learning foreign languages quickly. 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, he ended up working as a writer at the Pentagon, where his primary responsibility was over the White House.

Still, music remained his passion. He led worship for a small church while he was serving 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 moved his family to West Texas.

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 currently is the only book still in print that deals with this topic. While many people would think working with senior adults would be dull in comparison to the fast-paced life in Washington, D.C., Vaught would not disagree more. He 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. Vaught was greatly loved by the Southwestern Seminary family of professors, staff and students. In his last days, groups gathered to pray for him and his family, in addition to visiting him in the hospital, and sent e-mail messages of encouragement to his wife, Janet, and his three children, Andrea, Christopher, and William.