Music comes naturally to Buddy Mullins, worship pastor at The Chapel at Crosspoint in Santa Rosa Beach.
He had an early love for music, nurtured by his mother, a classically trained pianist, and his father, a preacher/worship leader.
"He took our family on the road in evangelism when I was eight years old," Mullins told The Sun. "He placed a bass guitar in my hand and told me to learn how to play it."
Traveling across America, Mullins, his sister and parents held week long meetings at churches — and somewhere during those years Mullins fell in love with "communicating through music."
"Being homeschooled left me many hours to work on singing and playing instruments," he said. "Along with the bass guitar, I also learned to play the piano and acoustic guitar. One of the first songs I learned to sing was one my mother wrote called “This Poor Man Cried,” an upbeat Southern Gospel style song."
One of the first songs written by Mullins was "In Heaven," written when he was only17.
"Since we had been traveling full time since I was 8, I did not really have a town to call home or friends that I saw every day. It spoke about doing the work of ministry and not worrying about settling down until I got home to heaven."
As he got older, Mullins worked more and more on his music, and the family was asked to do concerts with other Christian artists. They were part of Bill Gaither's Praise Gathering event in Indiana and appeared on many of Gaither's Homecoming videos.
Eventually Mullins was contacted by Gaither and Michael English about joining the Gaither Vocal Band as new lead singer when English's solo career was too busy for both positions.
"These were some great times and very busy times flying all over the country to catch up with whichever group I was performing with at the moment," Mullins said. "I am so honored to have had the opportunity to work with Bill and I am still a part of a few things each year with the Gaithers."
For many of those years, Mullins felt his calling was to encourage believers from the platform, but he said he became focused on building his own career.
"There’s nothing wrong with doing that either, but somewhere along the way the latter became a greater pursuit than the former," he said. "I never lost my love for ministry; it just got overshadowed by self."
As God stepped into his life, Mullins career was put on hold.
"Without the platform, I had lost who I was and even what my life was about," he said. "Over the next couple of years, God would show me that He was not mad at me or finished with me. Truly I found that He was pursuing me. God would redirect my path toward one of worship leader. The main difference in this was trying to learn how to lead on stage and yet get out of the way and point all attention to Christ. I know that Christian music should always be about that, but sadly for me it had not been. This was a growing experience."
The Chapel at Crosspoint is the second church Mullins has served as worship leader.
"The main change from performing concerts to worship leader is that I serve in the same church for most of the time. My traveling has greatly reduced in the past five years."
Mullins said that in a concert setting an artist plans to take the audience on a trip with a style of music or a certain message.
"In worship leading the desire is to encourage the audience to engage in communication with their heavenly Father," Mullins said. "The bible says that God inhabits the praise of His people. How powerful is that? To know that if we lift Him up, He will come and take up residence in our midst. I have personally seen this happen upon quite a few occasions and it is like nothing I can explain."
Hope for the World
In 1993, Mullins' parents began a full time ministry with Hope for the World, a faith based humanitarian organization that provides for the needs of the poor and orphaned children while sharing hope in Christ.
"Though Hope for the World is in many countries, the country that my parents have worked with is Albania," Mullins said. "They began with just one orphanage and now, 20 years later, there are eight orphanages, a senior adult ministry, a handicapped orphanage, and a Hope Center for teens after they have grown too old to be in the orphan homes."
Mullins and his wife, Kerri, have felt led to become involved not only in Albania, but with the entire work of Hope for the World.
"God has been dealing with our hearts about this for some time," he said. "Part of what we will be doing is helping to raise awareness about the many mission works being carried out in these countries, as well as making trips to these places."
But how do you combine a love for music and a calling to mission work?
"We all know that music is universal and it transcends language barriers so I know that God will continue to use this area of my life," Mullins said. "Exactly how, we will have to wait and see, but I have a desire for His voice to be heard and however He chooses to do that is fine with me."
The congregation at The Chapel at Crosspoint is supportive of the Mullins' love for mission work and also their work at the church.
"Never in our lives have we experienced God move and confirm our decision more directly. We love the people of the Chapel, are blessed that they love us, and we look forward to many years of fruitful service together. We are so glad to be a part of our community here uplifting Christ in relationship which is true worship."