By Loren Rhoades, Assistant Features Editor (Courtesy photo/Raelyn Williamson)
OBU is a university filled with talent that is used to glorify the Lord. This talent extends from athletic ability to musical ability.
One student with musical skills here on campus is Raelyn Williamson. Williamson is
a freshman worship arts major.
She said she hopes to use her gifts to one day work in ministry.
“At first I didn’t know what ministry I was being called to,” she said. “I didn’t know if it would be women’s ministry, missions, or worship. But, once I learned about the worship arts degree at OBU, I knew worship was a perfect fit.”
Williamson said she only recently discovered her call to lead worship but has performed this type of music and others since a very young age.
She has played the piano and sang since she was 10 years old. She said she discovered her love for music even before learning to play the piano, because she was always in elementary choir and enjoyed being able to sing and perform.
“When I was really young, I actually loved performing in front of people,” Williamson said. “When I was four years old, I was known for going down during halftime of my hometown’s basketball games and dancing in front of the entire crowd.”
Williamson said her love of performing has grown over the years, and since then she has been a part of the worship band at her home church and her high school choir, and she
now performs with 519 Collective and Chorale at OBU.
Byng High School choir director Lane Taylor said he sees the Kingdom in her work.
“Raelyn has always taken her giftings in singing and piano performance seriously and
integrated them into her life worship of Christ. I am proud that she has chosen to obey God’s calling to use those giftings to lead the multitudes in the extremely important task of praising Him,” he said.
Williamson said she especially enjoys performing worship music because of the diversity in the types of worship music that are played and the freedom it gives to show off everyone’s musical ability no matter what they like to play.
“I think worship music is a form of teaching. I think a lot of people look at teaching as a preacher getting up there and giving a sermon, but I really love how worship songs are
based on scripture, and how the words you sing are portraying the word of God,” she said.
Williamson said she has now used this type of teaching at home and across the globe when doing mission work overseas.
While doing so, she has been able to grow others while growing herself as well.
“Last summer Raelyn went with our church to Nicaragua,” youth pastor at Trinity Baptist
Church Whitley Tracy said. “During this trip I saw Raelyn really grow her relationship with God as she stepped out of her comfort zone and was sharing the gospel and leading congregations in worship in their native language,” Tracy said. “I was so proud of her
for being obedient to the Lord and the call to go tell others about him.”
Williamson said all of her favorite memories of worship are in Nicaragua because the people there are so free and energetic with their worship.
She said singing worship songs with the people there and hearing the different languages has made her look at worship differently.
“It’s inspired me to be more free in my worship,” Williamson said. “When you hear what you are singing, you should be jumping for joy.”
Williamson said she has had the opportunity to lead now in many different settings. Throughout all of them she has used her music to glorify the Father and lead others toward him.
“Raelyn has never been a ‘look at me type of leader’ she leads quietly but strongly, and that’s something I’ve always admired about her,” Tracy said.