Editor's Note: Oklahoma Baptist University alum Don Blackley, a 1963 graduate, is a 2013 recipient of the OBU Alumni Association's Profile In Excellence Award. The award is given to a former student who has "demonstrated recognizable accomplishment in his or her profession, business, avocation, or life service in such a way as to bring pride and honor to the University." Each year, Profile In Excellence recipients are featured in OBU Magazine.
As a senior in high school, Don Blackley felt God wanted him to serve vocationally as a minister of music. With OBU having a reputation of being the best place to prepare for ministry, Blackley said going to Bison Hill was the right decision for him.
Blackley graduated from OBU in 1963 with a degree in music and earned a master's in church music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth in 1966.
With the phrase "ring by spring" common on Bison Hill, Blackley gave his proposal a shot during the Christmas season while looking at lights across OBU's campus. Parked on the president's driveway, Blackley said he planned to deftly pull out a ring while his sweetheart was looking at the lights so she would see the ring when she turned to him.
"All was working well until I opened the box, and the ring fell out onto the floor of my car," said Blackley.
He managed to put the ring back in the box just in time to propose to his future wife, Gerrie Blackley, a graduate of Oklahoma State University.
He and his wife feel blessed that all three of their triplet children are 1990 graduates of OBU: Trent Blackley; Brenna (Blackley) Stull; and Tamara (Blackley) Overton. All three or their spouses serve on a church staff.
Blackley served as full-time music minister for Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, from 1966-82; First Baptist Church, Norman, Okla., from 1982-91; and First Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas, from 1991-2004. Since 2005, Blackwell has worked as part-time worship leader for Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas.
In addition to his church-staff work, Blackley has been a member and directed both the Singing Churchmen of North Central Texas and the Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma. He currently directs the Texas group.
The life of a music minister comes with challenges and rewards. Blackley said he finds it challenging to teach the average church member they are just as responsible and privileged to minister in God's kingdom as a paid staff member. He spends many hours investing time and work on special productions or projects, often without adequate funding.
"I think the worship leader's biggest challenge is teaching believers the importance of worship, individual and corporate, in the life of the body of Christ, and to teach them, in the power of the Spirit, how to respond in worship to what God has done for us in His wonderful son, Jesus," Blackley said.
For Blackley, the most rewarding part of his job is two-fold. First, he leads people to use their gifts for Kingdom service. Second, he sees people brought into the Kingdom of God as the sung Word and the preached Word combine to draw people to Jesus Christ.
At OBU, Dr. Warren Angell had a big impact on Blackley, greatly influencing his conducting skills. Under Angell's direction, Blackley served as president of the Bison Glee Club in 1963 and traveled with the Tune Clippers' USO Pacific Tour.
Blackley said OBU gave him the tools he needed for his music craft, filling him with spiritual encouragement and challenge from administrators and professors throughout his four years of college.
Click the following link to view a full list of previous Profile in Excellence recipients.