Gulf Shores worship leader, UM grad ready for where God leads next

September 11, 2020

(Photos courtesy of Blake Walker)

Just over a year ago, Blake Walker developed a vision for an album he hoped would launch his songwriting career.

“Generation to Generation,” an extended play album, debuted in January. The four-song project, written with songwriters Dick and Melodie Tunney, eventually led Walker to a position as LifeWay Christian Resources staff songwriter.

Orchestration and accompaniment tracks for the EP are scheduled for release by LifeWay Worship in March 2021.

“I wrote the song ‘Through the Valley’ at the end of a long week,” Walker said. “I remember God putting this phrase in my head — you may be walking through a valley, but you’re not walking it alone. You never walk it alone.”

‘Lord just spoke’

“I sat down at the piano and the Lord just spoke that song through me. That’s a song for the Church today, (one) we need to hear.”

As a LifeWay songwriter, Walker composes contemporary and traditional music, some suited for younger generations and others for choirs or orchestras.

Walker enjoys writing for LifeWay, which he said has been good to him and to the Church.

“LifeWay is doing what they can to put out good, new music. We are writing songs that can resonate with the Church today,” Walker said.

‘Gift of music’

A recent composition, “Gather in Glorious Light,” was designed to inspire churches as they reopen after COVID-19, he said.

Growing up, Walker loved to sing and lead worship, and aspired to become a band director.

He credits University of Mobile with nurturing his passion for songwriting. It was there he sensed God’s call to songwriting and learned that singing and performing are all about reaching people.

“You’re more than just a number there,” Walker said. “They care about you as a person and about your spiritual life. I’m thankful for my time at University of Mobile and for people like Roger Breland who took time and invested in me. They taught me what it means to not just get up and sing a song in front of people. As a worship leader, God has given us the gift of music to communicate His gospel.”

As a member of the vocal ensemble, Voices of Mobile, Walker was prepared for ministry with ample platform experience. He also surrounded himself with other writers. It fostered his passion to write from the heart, Walker said.

In 2018, he sang with the group UniVoice in Concert of the Ages at the Museum of the Bible in Washington. The production, created by the Tunneys and Stan Moser, gave audiences a deeper understanding of God with songs that led them through the Bible.

The group performed at Billy Graham’s U.S. Capitol memorial service and also sang with Michael W. Smith during his release concert for the album “Surrounded.”

Pandemic challenges

Walker also recently served as contemporary worship leader at First Baptist Gulf Shores under worship pastor Jim Van Matre.

Providing safe worship experiences, including a drive-up in-person Easter service, during the coronavirus pandemic presented a new set of challenges for worship leaders, he said.

Walker found that worshippers weren’t as concerned with the quality of sound or overall experience as they were in coming together.

“It was such a joy to see people, to see their smiles,” Walker said. “They were so excited to come out in their cars to worship each week. It felt right, and I believe we honored the Lord by doing that.”

Future plans

Blake Walker Music has produced two online projects: a band arrangement of “Everything to Me,” which Walker released in college, and Generation to Generation, a modern choir book.

And after two years at First, Gulf Shores, Walker wrapped up his time there on Sept. 6. In a Facebook post, Walker said he is thankful for his time there and for the friendships he’s made.

Walker wrote, “God is opening some new and exciting doors for me, which I’ll share down the road. He is Faithful!”

Walker told TAB Media he looks forward to watching what God will do through the songs he writes for LifeWay and desires to continue leading worship and writing worship songs.

“I’m where God has planted me and I’m trying to be as faithful as I can until He opens more doors.”

By Lanell Downs Smith

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