I met Joe Pat Cox when we were in high school and attended a church youth camp. We had a lot of similar interests in athletics, Christian ministry, girls, and a lot of other things. While in college, we worked together in some youth events.
I received a phone call from the bishop in August of 1972. He asked me if I would move to Frazer in Montgomery. I immediately called Joe Pat. He said he knew why I was calling because the church had suggested my name. He was a part-time music minister at Frazer. I asked him how long he would stay at Frazer. His response was, “If you will come, I’ll stay as long as you do.” When I called and told the bishop I would come, he expressed appreciation and said that I was the third person he had asked. I’m glad I didn’t know I was the third choice, but I’m sure glad the other two said no!
Joe Pat and I began our ministry together. It lasted for 36 years!! I was the first pastor younger than he, and I reminded him of that often! He became the full-time music minister at Frazer in about eight years. He was the best music minister in any church, anywhere in America!
My dad told me once that very seldomly will you find a music minister who (1) has great musical gifts, (2) has a deep faith in Jesus Christ, and (3) gets along well with people. He said most people in church music have one or two of those qualities. Joe Pat had all three!
He and I worked together for 36 years and never had an argument, a heated conversation, or a difference of opinion on anything that was important. He often said that we never had an argument as long as he did what I suggested! We were always on the same note of the same song (even though I was a little flat!).
One of the major problems we always had at Frazer was building a choir loft that was big enough to house the choir. We expanded the choir area several times in each of the three sanctuaries!
Joe Pat knew how to do music that met the needs of people, challenged them in their commitment, and glorified God. On my first Sunday at Frazer, there were two people sitting in the front row with portable tape recorders. When the choir finished the anthem, I got up to preach and heard both tape recorders click off! Joe Pat’s music ministry was one of the premier reasons that Frazer grew from 300 to 9,000!
Joe Pat was one of the leaders who led Frazer to relocate from Clayton Street to the Atlanta Highway. We completed 11 major building programs, and he was such an asset in setting the vision for those projects and seeing that Frazer always stuck to our mission statement. I made some mistakes, and he always covered my back. He was a real friend and ministry partner!
When television became a possibility, I knew that music was the key to a television ministry. Our worship services were televised in all parts of the United States, several countries in Europe, the Caribbean, and in Russia. Everywhere I went, people commented about the television ministry, and the first thing they always commented on was the great music!
Joe Pat was promoted to direct God’s heavenly choir on November 4, 2020. I’ve often wondered why God blessed me so much to join Joe Pat’s team at Frazer. I soon quit trying to understand that and asked God to help me do my part on the team. I could not have found a better team with which to minister, nor a better ministry partner than Joe Pat Cox! Thank you, Lord!