Steven Hodge

Associate Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church of Leesburg, FL

Bachelor of Music

Please describe your position and what you enjoy most about it.

As the Associate Worship Pastor, I work closely with our Senior Worship Pastor in planning services and strategizing for the future of our worship program. We have 3 campuses and run 5 services on Sunday morning. It gets a little crazy around here but it is a joy getting to lead worship at our South Campus and sometimes all 3 campuses. The best part of my job is the people I get to serve and serve with. Our folks here are incredible and have tremendous hearts for serving in all capacities (the Worship Department is usually just one of many facets).

What aspects of your HLGU experience helped you prepare for your career?

HLGU did a wonderful job in setting me up for success in my career. Not only did our professors teach relevant material, but they coached us on life and challenged us to have a biblical perspective on and off campus. My former professors have now turned into friends, mentors, and colleagues in ministry.

The friends I made during my time at HLGU have become discipleship partners, people I can call with ministry questions, and lifelong brothers and sisters in Christ. Not to mention, I married one of them! Definitely the highlight of my HLGU career was meeting my wife, Megan.

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

Working in full-time vocational ministry is extremely rewarding. Getting to serve the Lord alongside an incredible staff is just an added bonus. My job consists of 2 extremely important things in my life – worshipping the Lord and music. I get to pursue my passion everyday through my job at the church.

How did HLGU shape you as a person?

HLGU provided an environment where I could grow not only educationally and in maturity, but also spiritually. I knew from my initial visit that the Lord was being glorified on campus and through the staff.

Please share a specific example from your career or life when the skills you gained at HLGU helped you most.

The beginning of my first “full-time” ministry position was a bit intimidating. However, when I actually started in the office I immediately began to put my education to work. I’ll never forget my first choir rehearsal at the church and the confidence I had after studying under Mrs. Griffen and Mr. Francis. Learning from a lecture is helpful, but the field experience in the classroom that our music department offers you is invaluable.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m pretty new in the “professional” world so my pickings are slim. I am excited, however, about the Summer Choir I started. Our first rehearsal had 40 members from our church and community and we expect more at our next rehearsal. This group will lead a Night of Worship with an orchestra in August.

What HLGU professors played a part in your success? How did your relationship with faculty help you succeed?

Wow, this is a very tough question to answer. Every professor that I studied under had an impact on me. A few that stood out, however, were Dr. Turner, Mrs. Griffen, Mrs. Scott, Mr. Francis, Mr. Corkern, Mr. Newbold, and Mr. Tanner.

Every one of these professors took time to personally invest in my life. Whether it was musically, spiritually, or just calling me out where I was wrong, they took time to pour truth and wisdom into me. I am thankful for all of my professors but I owe a lot of my success to these seven.

Do you have any tips to share with students interested in this field?

Study and PRACTICE! Music is a tough field to be successful in. Whether you have natural talent or not, college is a place for you to learn and grow. Your professors are the professionals – let them correct you where you are wrong and don’t get offended. Music is subjective and we all have opinions, therefore our feelings can get hurt and emotions can get the best of us. Try to maintain a professional mindset during lessons, lectures, and music juries. Your professors are only there to make you better at your craft.

Also, enjoy it! I would argue that we have the funnest major on the market! Don’t let that fool you though, it’s hard work – don’t procrastinate!

What are some of your favorite HLGU memories?

There are way too many to choose from. Here are just a FEW:
-Meeting my wife
-Mission trip to East Asia with Dr. Turner
-Educational trip to Israel with Dr. Turner
-Pranking our music professors after juries
-Music gatherings at our professors’ homes

HLGU’s motto is “knowledge for service.” What roles have these values played in your life?

We are to honor the Lord with our entire life. Every word that comes out of our mouth, every move we make, and everything we study. The phrase “knowledge for service” emphasizes that we are to use what we learn (at HLGU and elsewhere) to advance the Kingdom of God.

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” ~1 Corinthians 10:31

What is one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you started in the field?

Every music major should spend more time practicing… I should have taken advantage of the practice time for private voice, piano, organ, and guitar lessons. I am finding myself having to relearn things and create new healthy habits that I should have spent more time on during my “practice hours” in school.

Find Steven on Facebook at Steven Hodge Worship