Gary Bledsoe has led the music ministry at First Baptist Church in Belton for 19 years.

However, Sunday will mark his final service as the congregation’s executive worship pastor.

“It’s been a real joy and an honor to be at First Baptist Church for 19 years,” Bledsoe told the Telegram. “There have been a lot of great experiences with the church ... but I’m looking forward to this new chapter in life.”

This final service — staged to feature a multitude of Bledsoe’s favorite hymns — will kick off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to First Baptist Church.

“(Bledsoe) planned the whole service because he’s going to do what he likes to do ... and that’s music,” Nita Barnett, an administrative assistant for First Baptist Church said. “So we have the big music service planned, and then a farewell reception for him from 3:30-6 p.m. in the gym. There’ll be a good group of people there for treats and that kind of stuff.”

Bledsoe hopes his newfound down time will allow him more time with his family.

“My wife, (Jayne Bledsoe), is a retired music teacher with 30 years of elementary music ... and she’s quite the teacher,” Bledsoe said. “She’s always doing projects and things with (the grandchildren) and now I’ll be able to help out with that. I look forward to that.”

Sandy Blevins, a member of First Baptist Church, is among the many that will miss Bledsoe’s musical leadership.

“Gary and Jayne, I have been so blessed by your talents,” she said in a Facebook post. “Choir practice is such a joyful time with fabulous music, funny jokes, ‘drawerings’ for door prizes, and the ‘Gary-isms.’”

Despite the run-in with an occasional challenge, Blevins called her involvement in the church’s orchestra a “blessing.”

“It’s been so much fun,” she said. “Thank you for not getting frustrated with my wrong notes and rhythms, and being so patient.”

June Tanner Sanderford, another church member, shared that love for the Bledsoe family and their dedication to worship music.

“I can’t begin to tell you how special you are, and how I appreciate you both so much,” Sanderford said. “It is always a joy to come to choir practice. May God bless you in your much deserved retirement. You will be greatly missed.”

The church is located at 506 N. Main St. in Belton. For information visit