130 Years of Worship

by Gary Moyers

As someone who oversees worship here at Broadway, I’ve been interested in our history and the story behind it. These occasion of our 150th anniversary seemed an excellent time to dig a little deeper.

As is often the case with history, stories from ages beyond our current lifespan proved hard to come by. The fist mention of worship I could find was in regard to the original settlers of Lubbock and founders of Broadway. For more information on who that was, please take a look at Michele’s article. Virginia Hufstedler wrote that they would stop for the night, set up camp, share a meal and worship. Those hymns were most likely poems that were set to any number of traveling refrains. melodies that were well known and would fit easily to meter and lyric. This was a common approach to congregational singing in an era when the camp meeting was predominant.

Beyond that, the first official worship-centric record we can find occurred in 1920. The church ledger records that $102 was spent on songbooks. Adjusted for inflation, this would be roughly equivalent to $1,400 today. Three years later, in 1923, they spent another $111 on more songbooks. Clearly, the church was growing quickly in the early 20th century.

Twenty years later, in the early 40’s, we arrive at an era that can still be recalled by some of our members and family. J.C. Rigney was the song leader at the time. J.C. was the grandfather of Donna Hamil and, in later years, served as an elder at Broadway. Donna shares that he could sing every part in the book and that he led without directing. In other words, he would hold the song book in his hands so it could be easily read. He would then move the book up and down as he sang, thereby assisting with tempo for the church.

In 1946, Horace Coffman moved to Lubbock. He knew Norville Young from Pepperdine and was persuade by Norville to come to Lubbock to work with Broadway and the beginnings of Lubbock Christian College. It’s difficult to overstate the impact that Horace and Dott had on Broadway, Lubbock and West Texas. They were instrumental in a great number of things that had lasting effect on the Kingdom. Horace was involved in the leadership of the youth group, the college group, and hospital visitation. He mentored a large number of young adults and prayed over an endless number of people at the hospital.

Regarding worship, Horace was the main song leader for 27 years at Broadway. He also founded the Wedding Chorus, providing music for weddings at Broadway and all over West Texas. In the same vein, he launched the Funeral Chorus shortly afterwards. These two choruses kept him very busy and he eventually had to limit their activities to Lubbock alone.

Horace also taught singing schools all over West Texas, as well as music camp at LCC and the Timothy Club here at Broadway. Interestingly,  Horace included women in his song leading classes. While they may have not had the chance to demonstrate their leadership, Broadway and the surrounding churches certainly benefitted from their knowledge. Horace was the father of Hedy Coffman who currently sings on our worship team.

Horace stepped away from leading worship in 1971 to be followed by the new college minister, Jack Paul. In those days, it was common for the balcony to be entirely filled by college students. Jack was very successful in building that ministry as well as leading worship. It is said that he would lead either Shall We Gather At The River or Oh Lord Our Lord every Sunday. Often, he would lead both.

Jack was followed by Joe Roper in the mid 70’s. Joe was a music teacher at Lubbock Christian College. He was with Broadway for a short period and was followed by Bob Massey.

Bob had been a member at Broadway for quite a while. He was even part of the Wedding Chorus with Horace. Bob began leading worship in 1978 and shortly thereafter became the main leader at all services. He led for 9 years and served under Joe Barnett and Ken Dye.

Joe Barnett was well known for thinking big and often doing seemingly outlandish things. Early on during Bob’s time, Joe began the Lubbock Bible Class. It was located very close to the Broadway building in an old X-rated theater. The class was broadcasted live over the radio and they would fill the theater to maximum and beyond each week. Bob was asked to put together a singing group to open the class and the broadcast. Over time, this led to a television program called Better Life. The quartet Bob had formed continued singing for the TV show. After the show’s run was finished, the quartet continued under the name Gloryland Singers. The group consisted of Bob and his wife Dianne, Homer Martin and Russell Young. They released multiple albums and continued singing until 1981.

After Bob’s departure, the position was filled in large part by Eddie Pleasant. Eddie joined Broadway as a student at LCC and began leadership at Broadway in 1980. One of Eddie’s wonderful legacies was the formation of Mountaintop, a mixed ensemble singing group based at Christ in Action (Campus Advance at the time). Mountaintop recorded multiple albums and sang for events all over West Texas. Several of our members were part of that group, including Richard Evans.

Eddie left in 1990 to pursue his career and Broadway went through a time of transition. The next full time leader to step into the roll was Adam Looney in 1994. Hired at the age of 23, Adam filled multiple roles for Broadway, leading the worship and campus ministries. One interesting hallmark of his time was the presentation of a Patriotic Musical. For several years, Broadway would offer the musical multiple times throughout the day during the 4th on Broadway parade. People would escape the heat and take in a highly produced program directed by Adam and aided by Robbie Crumpler. Adam served as minister at Broadway until 2003.

I began serving as Worship Minister in 2014. During the intermediate times between full time leaders, the worship ministry at Broadway was served ably by many people. John Crumpler, David Ratcliff, David Roach, John Lenard, Philip Jones, Jeff Day and many others were instrumental in carrying forward the praise of the people at Broadway. Today, others are stepping into that role, including Blake McNeill, Kelsey Maxwell, David Rains, Tim Hollis, Lonnie Hamil, Gary Head and Windy Babcock.

It is my prayer that the ministry of worship will continue to flourish, not only at Broadway but across the region, the country and the world. Broadway is uniquely placed to have a great impact on the church through worship and worship resources. If the Lord tarries in His return, the next 150 years could be bright indeed.

– Gary Moyers

5 Responses to “130 Years of Worship”

  1. Carole Compton says:

    We started Broadway when Bill Banosky was minister & Horace Coffman was song leader. We were there up until 2017, so we enjoyed most of these great song leaders & being a part of the beautiful singing in that large building with great acoustics. Dr. Wayne Hinds always said it was the best in town. Good article.

  2. Steve Thomas says:

    I was not a member, but I just ran across my copy of the album made by the Gloryland Singers. I was a friend of Russell Young’s in about 1983-1985 (When he moved to San Antonio, and I lost contact after that). Anyway, I ran across this and wanted to comment on it. I loved their music. So your ministry continues on in some regard, and it spread to places you might not have known.

    • Russell Young says:

      Hi Steve. Glad I ran across your comment. I remained heavily involved in southern gospel for decades here in San Antonio, serving on radio, gaither events and headed the South Texas Gospel Music Association for over a decade. Thanks for the comments. Glad to hear from you!!! KEEP SINGING☺

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