I have no sense of how many of my readers live within easy driving distance of the location of this event, but I would be pleased if the attendance were very strong. So I invite you to come and spread the word to others who may be able and interested in coming.
On Tuesday, September 15 (2015) I will be delivering a message entitled “Certainty Not” in the weekly chapel service (“community gathering for worship”) at Baylor’s Truett Seminary. The chapel service will include an appearance by and celebration of the contribution of hymn writer and recording artist Bill Gaither (who will not be singing but will be interviewed at length about his songs some of which will be sung by the congregation).
Like many other evangelical Christians around my age, I grew up (especially in my teen years and later) on the songs written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. And I still own several of their records from the time when they were the core of the “Gaither Trio”–which sometimes included a sister, sometimes a brother, and, at other times, other Christian recording artists who went on to become famous in their own rights.
One of my most striking and vivid memories of “way back then” was attending the Iowa Nazarene Campmeeting in West Des Moines in the summer of (I think it was) 1970 (maybe 1971) when the Christian musical family group The Speers premiered Bill Gaither’s new song “The King Is Coming.” There were hundreds of people present and “the place went wild.” Or, put more spiritually, “the Spirit came down.” I don’t recall ever witnessing such Christian fervor and emotion that was not merely manufactured. People literally “rushed the altars” (reminiscent of the old camp meetings of the Second Great Awakening) as the Speers sang and Bill played the piano. They sang the song at least fifty times. Well, you had to have been there is all I can say. (Bill and Gloria talk about that event on the “Homecoming” video dedicated solely to their lives, family and careers.)
I’m extremely honored to be invited to speak at this special celebration of the life and ministry of someone who so significantly influenced by Christian life–from “He Touched Me” to “Lovest Thou Me?” to “Have You Had Your Gethsemane?” I still love those songs. And I tell my students who wince when I say that “Someday you’ll go to an event bringing back David Crowder with enthusiasm because of what his music has done for you and your children and grandchildren will wince and tell you that’s ‘old school’.”