Brian Hedrick is a graduate of Florida State University (B.M.E., 1981), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.M., 1985), and the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (D.W.S., 2008). He has served in churches in Texas, Arizona, and Georgia, and is the Assistant Pastor - Instrumental Music at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia, since 1994, where he directs a 60-piece adult orchestra, 20-piece jazz band, 40-piece youth orchestra, and a 5-octave handbell choir. Brian is also the Director of the Johnson Ferry Conservatory for the Arts, where private lessons are offered on piano, voice, guitar and most orchestra and band instruments. He currently has three arrangements published for church orchestra, and his book, The Biblical Foundations of Instrumental Music in Worship: Four Pillars, was published in 2009. Brian is a member of the Metro Instrumental Directors Conference and the Conductors Guild. He and his wife, Mellonee, are both French horn players, and have four children and five grandchildren.
My Personal Testimony:
For many years, I labored with my testimony, thinking there was nothing particularly memorable or profound about it. Several years ago, as I had been reading through the book of Luke in my quiet times, I encountered once again the familiar story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, and suddenly realized there were startling similarities to my life. I was raised in a Christian home, but didn’t really understand and appreciate the depths of the love of my Heavenly Father. Some of this may be attributed to the denomination I was raised in, where I was baptized as an infant, became a member of the church only because I reached a certain age, and where, at least to my memory, there was no mention of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity for me was all head knowledge, but no heart knowledge. There was absolutely no impact on my personal life. In fact, it grieved my mother, when in high school, I confessed that the only reason I went to church was for social reasons.
Like the Prodigal Son, I left home to sow my wild oats at college, where I quickly came face to face with the sinful nature of man. Contributing greatly to my exposure to the sinfulness of man was my involvement as a member of a college fraternity. I won’t go into all the sordid details, but I will mention that I was on the campus of Florida State University in January of 1978, when Ted Bundy struck the sorority house down the street from my fraternity house, raping and killing two girls and severely injuring a third. My fraternity was having one of their famous “Stairway to Heaven” parties that night, with three different kinds of alcohol on three different floors of the house. I woke up the next morning, not remembering the night before, finding out someone else had walked my date home (thank goodness my wife, Mellonee, forgave me for that!), and hearing for the first time about Ted Bundy’s horrible crimes. You would think that alone would have been enough to bring me to my senses, but it was several years later before I came to terms with my own sinfulness and my need for a Savior.
In April of 1981, like the Prodigal, I humbly came back home to God, willing just to be a lowly servant in His kingdom. This was right after my graduation and marriage to my college girlfriend, who is now my wife. I was baptized in Mellonee’s home church in Winter Haven, Florida, with no aspirations of going into the ministry, only focused on being a school band director and one of many lay servants in the local church.
Instead, within a year, God surprised me and chose me to come alongside Him in His work, calling me into the ministry and blessing me beyond measure, more than I dreamed or deserved. I spent three years preparing for ministry in Ft. Worth, Texas, at Southwestern Seminary, and went from there to serve a wonderful church in Tucson, Arizona for nine years. All four of our children were born there and life was good. In my ninth year of ministry, though, God began to prepare me for a change. One night, as Mellonee and I were laying in bed, I asked her if she could pick one place to live, where would it be? At that time, my parents were living in central Georgia, and hers were still in central Florida. Mellonee thought about it a while and said “Atlanta would be nice.” We did nothing to follow up on that thought, and were really content to stay in Tucson, when about a month later, I received a cold call from my current boss, saying he had a new position open at his church in Marietta, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta), and he wanted to know if I was interested. After over 20 years, I feel so blessed to have served the Lord in such a great church, and I am so grateful for God’s unmerited favor towards this prodigal!