Name: Randy Cuchens (known as Bro. Randy).
Church: First Baptist Church, Newton.
Number years at FBC Newton: Presently in my 35th Year as Minister of Music.
When did you know you wanted to become a minister of music?
When I was eight-years-old, I went to a RA (Royal Ambassador) Camp in Panama City Beach, Florida. One night God spoke to me and said, “I want you to become a Minister of Music.” Of course, what does an eight-year-old boy really know about being a Minister of Music? I wrote my mom and dad a postcard (yes, I’m that old!) from Camp and shared with them what God had said to me. From that day forward, I did my best to prepare myself to be what God called me to be.
Did it require any training?
Yes, I participated in school and church choirs throughout elementary school, junior high school, high school, and into college. I pursued and completed an undergraduate bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in 1977, and a master's degree in Church Music from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1980.
Through all 45 plus years of ministry, I have continued attending conferences on an annual basis which are designed to help me become a better person, a better minister, and a better church musician.
How much time does it take to prepare for services each week?
As a Minister of Music, I am always in preparation mode. Every day, I am thinking about last week’s worship, this coming Sunday’s worship, or some worship opportunity in the future. I believe it is always important to evaluate what you have done as you seek to plan for future worship experiences. I usually plan each worship based on a particular theme, scripture, or sermon title provided for me by my Pastor, Dr. Brian Rushing.
Of course, it can be challenging at times to provide specific scripture readings, prayers, hymns, choruses, choral songs, solos, instrumental music, etc., in an effort to be sure our focus in on God, on all He has done, and on all, He is doing!
Worship is NOT a spectator sport! In fact, we have an audience of One – God! It’s not what you get out of it – it’s what you put into it! I seek to do my best to help our congregation give glory and honor to God in every worship experience!
What inspires you to press on?
I continue seeking to be obedient to the call God placed on my life when I was 8-years-old. I am now 63 and though I realize health may be a factor for me in the future, I intend to continue this journey until God says otherwise!
Why should someone become involved in a ministry in their church?
I believe every believer is called by God to be a minister and should find some specific area where God will use them in His kingdom! I think the scripture teaches that this is best accomplished through the local church!
Who has been your inspiration?
I have received much inspiration over the last 55 plus years from my mom, my dad, my wife, my daughters, my extended family, my elementary/junior high/high school/college/seminary music teachers and professors, as well as many friends and colleagues who love me and care about me.
My home-church pastor, Rev. Ernest Walker (First Baptist Church, Valparaiso, Florida) believed in me and taught me so very much about God, about the Bible, about myself, about the church, about people, and about ministry. Three specific Church Musicians – Jim Hayes, Graham Smith, and Slater Murphy – have challenged me, encouraged me, and mentored me over 45 plus years in music ministry. Of course, there are many people God has used in the three churches I have served in Mississippi over the last 45 plus years – Indian Springs Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Arlington Heights Baptist Church in Pascagoula, and First Baptist Church in Newton.
What has been your biggest joy in the ministry?
The biggest joy throughout my life and ministry has been to see people of all ages–children, youth, and adults – come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord…and then grow in His likeness!
Tell me about your family.
My sweet wife, Martha Susan McNab Cuchens, who died a year ago, was very supportive as a partner in ministry. We have two wonderful daughters, Jennifer, and Jessica (Josh), and four beautiful granddaughters, Hannah Brooke, Ella, Avery, and Mary Leigh.
As for me – I wake up every day with a desire to know God more and to make God known to everyone around me. My life verses are Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”