Baptist and Reflector
BRENTWOOD – Paul Clark Jr., retired director of worship and music ministries for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, died Dec. 24 after a long illness.
Clark served on the TBMB staff from 2000 until his retirement in 2016 after suffering a stroke in November of 2015. During his tenure with the TBMB, Clark directed both the Tennessee Men’s Chorale and the Tennessee Ladies Chorus. He also served for 26 years as a local church music minister for churches in Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee and Georgia.
Clark served as a clinician and conference leader at local, regional and state events. He was elected president of the Southern Baptist Church Music Conference in 2007. In 2017 Clark was named recipient of the organization’s W. Hines Sims Award for leadership in church music.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, described Clark as “a brilliant and Christian gentleman.”
Davis said he developed a deep appreciation for Clark and his ministry while serving as a pastor in East Tennessee, long before joining the TBMB staff. “Paul’s brilliance, passion for authentic worship and his great work ethic were only exceeded by his Christ-like character, love for the Lord, the church and his family,” Davis observed.
Scott Shepherd, former minister of music and worship at First Baptist Church, Paris, succeeded Clark at the TBMB.
“Paul was my most influential mentor and a treasured friend. He was known across our state — and beyond — as a man of remarkable skill, extensive knowledge and deep humility. He trained, mentored, encouraged and loved Tennessee Baptists.
“Above all, Paul’s passion was in training and equipping others to engage in Christ-centered worship,” Shepherd observed.
“Paul will be missed deeply, but his legacy will continue to impact the kingdom of Christ through the lives he influenced with his immense intellect, wise discernment, infectious smile, witty humor and huge heart,” he added.
Lonnie Wilkey, B&R editor, was a longtime friend and colleague of Clark. ”There is no telling how many musicians across Tennessee benefited from conferences and workshops that Paul led. He truly had a passion to see churches worship the God that he loved so dearly.”
Wilkey observed that Clark was beloved throughout the convention as evidenced by the large number of comments posted on the TBMB Facebook page following his death on Christmas Eve.
“Those comments are just a sampling of the feelings Tennessee Baptists had for Clark and his ministry,” said Wilkey. “He will be missed.”
Clark is survived by his wife, Ebbie, three children, and nine grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for Clark on Saturday, Dec. 29, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Nashville. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Clark family would like to assemble a special choir as a tribute to Clark and his ministry. The choir will rehearse in First Baptist’s choir room at 12:30 p.m. and have been requested to wear all black. For more information about the choir, contact Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org. B&R