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Beyond the music
Posted on 02.25.2012

I'm increasingly aware of the impact of Gospel Music. We get letters all the time which are a real encouragement to us, and I hope to share some with you on a regular basis. Here's one we received this week....

 

Ernie,

Just a brief note, long overdue, that hopefully serves as an encouragement to your vision and ministry through Southern Gospel music.  Please pass along to all the other guys.

I have recently moved back to Indiana from Arizona where for the past couple of years I worked with a group of teens as the teen director for a small church.

In 2010, I was in the local Family Christian bookstore gathering supplies and preparing for a teen activity.  While there I noticed a Gaither video with the Oak Ridge Boys in it and picked it up as they were one of my favorite “growing up” groups.  I heard Joe mention your name a few times and after watching Tim sing part of Elvira with Richard – one of my long time bass heroes – I decided I needed to find out who you guys were.  Several YouTube hours later you guys had me convinced I could sell you to teenagers with complete trust that you would not disappoint and compromise the standards they were being taught.  I ended up taking a small group of them to see you all last year in Phoenix and it has been an incredibly fun ride ever since.  Several of the teen boys began asking me to help them learn parts and some of your “Cathedrals” songs – Boundless Love, Wedding Music and Step Into the Water remain favorites.

However, you all have reached a plateau I never envisioned with the release of “Any Other Man.”  While the Lord has now called me back to Indiana, I still arranged for several of them to attend your concert in Phoenix again this year.  I received a text from one of the teens after the show which read: “Any Other Man is now my favorite song of all.”  Let me make sure you receive the full import of that statement because it is truly an amazing, miraculous, amen-shouting, WooHoo!!-Worthy accomplishment as you have, in his very carefully considered statement surpassed the following previously held “best songs” which I really didn’t think would ever change.  “Any Other Man” now is held in higher esteem for this particular soon-to-be 16 year old teenage boy than: “Freebird,” “Simple Man” and “Sweet Home Alabama!!!”  Honestly, I never thought any CCM or SG song would ever reach that threshold
Wow!!  He also aspires to be a “tenor like Ernie”
albeit one that plays guitar.  Wish I cou
ld tell you how many times he has sung right along with you while riding in my truck somewhere trying to “hold the note” for as long as you
been some pretty funny moments to be sure as his face turns purple


So, Thanks for what you guys bring to the table.  Thanks for the energy. Thanks for not being afraid to play with the edges of the envelope.  Thanks for being Maverick enough to capture the attention of a bunch of teenagers who now, to quote another of the kids who saw you in Phoenix this year, “See the gospel in a whole new and better way.”

I appreciate your vision for ministry and I appreciate your consistency.  Know you are making a difference.   God Bless.  

Yours in Christ,

 

Name withheld

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