By Daniel Wallace
The award is named for the longtime director of the church music department of the Baptist Sunday School Board, today known as LifeWay Christian Resources. Sims helped elevate the position of music minister to a full-time ministry and established a model for church music used in churches throughout the convention.
Travis was chosen because of his publishing record and the significant contributions he has made to the field of church music as a hymn festival leader, improvisation workshop clinician, arranger and composer, said Stan Moore, conference president.
Travis was also chosen for the award — the organization’s highest — because his heart is always in his music, Moore added.
“I think he is a model of not only musical excellence but he also has a heart of a minister,” he said. “When he plays the organ, he is a spiritual leader of worship, not just someone who provides background music for the worship service.”
Travis has served at Broadway Baptist since 1978 and is the distinguished professor emeritus of organ at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He served on the faculty of the School of Church Music 1977-2008. He holds degrees from Oklahoma Baptist University, Syracuse University and the University of Michigan.
The Baptist Church Music Conference was originally chartered as an organization of Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated ministers of music, denominational music employees and state Southern Baptist leaders. During the past several years, with the advent of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the establishment of churches and state organizations which may be aligned with one or both Baptist fellowships, the group widened its scope to gather “under the banner of Christian first, Baptist second, and to focus on our similarities rather than our differences.”
The Southern Baptist Convention expelled Broadway Baptist Church in 2009 because some church members are openly gay.