“It must be exciting,” my Mom said Monday morning. I had called her on the Alabama farm from Charlotte, NC, for our daily visit and in the conversation, I reported on my Sunday night adventure in my former church. Friends of Milton and JoAnne LeDoux–he’s the minister of music at the First Baptist Church of Charlotte–threw him a party to celebrate his 20th anniversary, and I had flown up for the occasion. I told Mom I would fly back home Monday afternoon. She thought that had to be an adventure.
Milton LeDoux’s coming to the Charlotte church was what we call a “God-thing,” something that no one could have anticipated, an event that could never have been planned. Back in 1987, a mutual friend, Joe Joslin, had moved to Charlotte from the FBC of Deridder, Louisiana, to become our minister of music. Before long, he told us of this young couple who had grown up in his church and were students at our seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He had some vacant slots on the church music team in Charlotte and wanted to invite them to move from Texas, and let Milton finish his masters degree at the seminary in Wake Forest, NC. That’s how we got them. Milton was 27 years old. The only church he had served as worship leader had run 100 in attendance. Ours ran from 1200 to 1500.
About the time they settled into place, Joe Joslin announced that he was resigning to move back to Deridder. My precise words to him were, “You dirty dog.” He was out of his element in that urban setting, he explained, and should never have left southwestern Louisiana. He remained at FBC Deridder for another 15 years or more, and is now part-time at New Life Baptist Church there, a congregation he and Lynn Clayton founded. Joe’s main weekday work, however, is conducting fishing tours in the Toledo Bend area. It’s a tough life.
Anyway–long story short–we turned to Milton and said, “You’re our interim minister of music. We’re counting on you. But you need to know that you will not be a candidate for this position. We need someone older and more experienced.” He agreed and went to work.
Immediately, church members came to me raving at his musicianship, his leadership, and his wonderful spirit. JoAnne was our organist and is as fine a Christian lady as there comes. At Christmastime, members exclaimed over the seasonal music, that it was the best ever. We all agreed that the Lord had sent us Milton and JoAnne LeDoux and gave him the position permanently. The years since have borne out that this was the Father’s plan.
The banquet Sunday night was a masterpiece of spiritual blessings and hilarious moments, as well done as any I’ve ever seen. Everyone laughed and some cried. Old friends and family members showed up. The biggest blessing was probably mine though, and the banquet was only one part of it.