Doctor-turned-musician leads worship
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Is there a doctor in the house?
Yes. And he can sing.
Scott Allred, leading worship at this year's Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Ky., is well-equipped to handle most anything that could come along on the platform. He's a medical doctor who spent 10 years running from God's call before discovering "His way was the best."
Allred, minister of music at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, Ala., along with a 200-voice choir from the church, has prepared a diverse repertoire of music for the SBC's Tuesday night session June 23 and will be singing with singer-songwriter Paul Baloche on Wednesday.
"I am humbled and look forward to encouraging thousands across our convention," Allred said. "This honor continues to affirm my calling and God's sovereignty."
Pointing to what God has done in his life, Allred said his road to music ministry began in 1981 at Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham when he sang in the youth choir and ensemble, played the trumpet in the church orchestra and the piano for the second-grade Sunday School children's department.
"My active involvement in the music programs at Lakeside Baptist laid the foundation for my love for music ministry today," Allred said.
In high school, although he knew God wanted him to use his life in music ministry, "I was easily distracted by making good grades," he recounted. "Guidance counselors and family encouraged me to pursue a 'more ambitious career' in medicine. Unfortunately, I did not place the matter before God."
In 1985, Allred graduated from Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham and attended Samford University in Birmingham on multiple scholarships in pre-medicine with a minor in music. He also worked missions into his studies at Samford, participating in tent revivals in a then-divided Germany during the summer of 1988.
"Even though I hesitated from answering the call to ministry, God still saw fit to use me," Allred said.
One particular tent revival made an impression. A host missionary challenged the mission team to consider the questions, "Am I where God wants me to be?" and "Am I seeking and obeying God's directives for my life?"
"Uncertain and refusing to trust God," Allred said he continued to focus on medical studies, graduating from Samford in 1989 and then attending the University of Alabama School of Medicine.
"I excelled in all my coursework but hated what I was doing." Although still involved in church ministries during medical school, he knew something was missing. "Going through the motions, I no longer prayed, and [I] wavered in reading the Bible. My passion was gone.
"Still, God was working in my life," Allred said. While involved in a prayer group and Bible study for medical professionals, Allred experienced a spiritual renewal and asked God to show him His will. "He gave me a deep burden for the ministry," yet he still refused to respond to God's call.
Upon graduation from medical school, Allred began a radiology residency program in 1994 at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore.
"I reasoned if God really didn't want me to be a doctor, He would have stopped me," Allred said. "For more than 10 years, God permitted me to run from His will. He allowed me to go my own way to discover His way was best."
Finally, in February 1995, "God's spirit impressed upon me the immediacy of my calling," Allred said. And after months of praying, he and his wife Melody left medicine and accepted the call to be minister of music at an independent Baptist church, Northside Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.
After three years at Northside Baptist, Allred answered the call to Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, serving there as senior minister of music three years. In 2003, God opened the door to join Hunter Street, where he currently serves as minister of music.
"God has shown me time and time again I made the right choice," Allred said, adding he believes everyone has a call of God on their lives.
"I am confident if they'll step back, think about it, pray and consider -- the calling is obvious. Be honest with yourself and have courage to step out on faith. In the world's eyes, it makes no sense at all."
As he remembers the long road to music ministry, Allred said he cannot believe where it has led him.
"I'm not sure I'd have ever experienced the degree of joy that comes from doing what God meant for me to do," he said. "What I do is my joy -- it is not my job. I am not sure everybody can say that."
Ashley Anderton is a correspondent for The Alabama Baptist, which first published this article.