New York may have its "lights on Broadway" but Brandon Hughes, the new worship minister at Broadway Baptist Church in Southaven, is primarily focused on the "Light at Broadway" — Jesus Christ.
Making a joyful noise unto the Lord is the life mission of the 27-year-old Hughes, the son of parents with a musical background of their own.
Hughes, originally from the small community of Union, near Philadelphia, was led to his walk in faith after a near-fatal illness experienced by his father.
"I was saved at the age of nine," Hughes said. "My dad was battling cancer. I remember praying to God that He would heal my dad. My dad became one of the very first stem cell recipients in a medical trial. He was 100 percent cured. When he finally came home, I asked if I could give myself to the Lord."
Hughes, who learned to play musical instruments, such as the piano and guitar at an early age, would go on to become a musical major at Blue Mountain College.
"My parents started me on the piano at the age of seven," Hughes said, adding that playing youth sports encroached on his musical journey. "Baseball got in the way."
The versatile Hughes said that at the age of 14, he picked up playing the guitar.
Hughes, who arrived on the church campus Feb. 11, is following in the footsteps of longtime Broadway Baptist worship minister Stephen Gross.
Broadway Baptist Senior Pastor Tim Lampley paid tribute to Gross and welcomed Hughes.
"We've had a strong foundation with Stephen and Brandon will build on that," Lampley said. "Stephen Gross for the last nine years laid a great foundation and Brandon will continue in that same spirit."
Hughes said he has a great vision for the worship program at Broadway Baptist.
"My vision for worship every time we meet is that the worship experience can be enjoyed from the youngest child in the room to that older adult," Hughes said.
Hughes said as worship minister he incorporates both old and newer forms of worship and praise music.
"I love the old hymns and the newest spiritual songs," Hughes said. "As far as energy and enthusiasm it's exciting to be able to do what the Lord has placed our way. I feel really blessed. I absolutely love it. It's the highlight of my week. I will try and get with the pastor about the Scripture he plans to use. I have a great team that leads along beside me. They are sold out for Jesus. We have a really good blend of old and new. We do have a lot of college and youth and then middle age and older adults. We're trying to hone in on our generation — parents with young children. We have a lot of interest in that direction."
Brandon and wife Hanna, who teaches fourth-grade English at Byhalia Elementary School, are the parents of two boys, Jonathan Noah, 3 and Samuel David, 14 months.
The family moved to Southaven after working with a church plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"He moved us here and prepared us for Broadway," Hughes said. "I'll always remember that it's God who put us in this place."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at email@example.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.