Justin McCartney - Music Performance (Piano)
Justin McCartney says Southeastern provided him with the classical training in piano-and the humility-to be a leader at a 6,000-member church in Little Rock, Arkansas. McCartney is one of six worship pastors at Fellowship Bible Church, which has eight Sunday morning services. McCartney uses his talents leading worship at church, but he prepared for servant leadership through classes, practical experience, and ministry at Southeastern.
McCartney decided to attend Southeastern after visiting campus during a program for prospective students. The humility of the professors, staff members, and administrators he encountered during the event-now called Preview Days-impressed McCartney. He also liked that Southeastern emphasized Biblical and musical education but also stressed experience. McCartney said he felt God's peace about attending Southeastern for college.
At Southeastern, religion classes with Dr. Terris Neuman motivated McCartney to strive to live a holy and godly life. In Dr. Neuman's class on the life of Christ, McCartney learned more about Jesus' humanity and purpose for coming. McCartney studied Jesus' interaction with the disciples and discovered a Savior that people can relate to. Instead of being on an unreachable plane, Jesus revealed His feelings and frustrations. McCartney was particularly inspired by Jesus' humility. McCartney continued his study of godly life in his class on the book of Romans. He said that learning to understand the major themes of Romans helped him better comprehend other books of the New Testament.
Southeastern also molded McCartney as a musician. He modeled his humility as a church musician after the humility he saw his music professors exhibit. Department of Music Chair Dr. Danny Tindall befriended McCartney and became a sounding board for his frustrations, concerns, and interests. Dr. Tindall, said McCartney, always challenged him to pursue his full potential. Dr. Tindall helped McCartney realize that his talents were for God's glory-not his own-and admonished him to remain humble. 'God was speaking through him," said McCartney, "and showing him who I (could) be."
McCartney said his music theory classes at Southeastern trained his ear and taught him sight reading, note values, rhythm reading, and intervals. He said private piano lessons at Southeastern taught him classical techniques in fingering, wrist action, and body position. McCartney said his piano professor also helped him focus on classical training instead of superficial details of where he'd end up serving in music ministry.
In addition to instruction, McCartney also obtained performance experience at Southeastern. He toured with university singing groups for three years. When McCartney needed a job and a ministry for his talents, Dr. Tindall found a position for him as a pianist at a 1,500-member church in Highland Park, Florida. The position at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene grew into a full-time position as music director during McCartney's time at Southeastern. After graduating in 2001, he stayed at Highland for three more years.
In 2004, McCartney took a job as a worship pastor at Fellowship Bible Church. McCartney says the theory he learned at Southeastern allows him to meet the expectations of excellence at the church. He shares his knowledge of classical theory with the instrumentalists and vocalists at Fellowship. He uses composition techniques he learned, such as voicing and instrument selection and substitution, to arrange music at Fellowship. But in addition to his lessons in music, McCartney says Southeastern taught him the humility he needed to truly serve.