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Southern Baptist evangelists focus on family with Huckabee, Penrod

Jerry Drace (left) interviews former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at the Sunday (June 13) worship service of the Southern Baptist Evangelists. Photo by Abbey Sprinkle

NASHVILLE (BP) – As a musician since the age of 11, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Southern Baptist evangelists he knows the first thing he has to do when he picks up an instrument is to tune it so each note sounds like it should.

Huckabee was the guest June 13 of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists (COSBE) at that group’s annual Sunday worship service before the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting. The service took place at Hermitage Hills Baptist Church in a northeast Nashville suburb.

Guy Penrod, longtime lead singer with the Gaither Vocal Band, also was a COSBE guest.

Instruments everywhere in the world that are not tuned to an unchanging, rigid, fixed standard are agonizing to listen to, Huckabee said in response to a question posed by evangelist Jerry Drace, a COSBE past president.

“I am deeply concerned that so many children are being raised up in a world where what they think, feel, believe becomes the standard,” Huckabee said. “We need to have our children and grandchildren tune themselves not to a trend, fashion, thought or vocabulary.

“Tune to the Word of God and you will make music with your life,” the former governor and Republican presidential candidate said. “Anything else, and you’ll have a train wreck.”

Organizers for this year’s service opted to minister to those who minister to others, Drace told Baptist Press. “Hope for the Home” was the day’s theme as the nation comes out of a pandemic season that upended it in several ways, Drace said.

The evangelist whose ministry is called “Hope for the Home” interviewed Huckabee and Penrod about their families. That part of the 90-minutee program came after opening worship led by the Hermitage Hills worship team followed by vocalist Amy Stockwell singing “How Great Thou Art.”

Huckabee said he didn’t raise his hand at Vacation Bible School, but “I raised my heart.” That was the start of his Christian life; it was his 11th birthday. He got a clearer understanding of how much God loved him when his first child was born. His wife’s cancer diagnosis a year into their marriage taught him to trust God, to depend on God to get through all the hard times.

“The biggest burden I have [at this time] is that so many families are trying to appease their children,” Huckabee said. “When the Bible is in conflict with culture it is not the Bible that needs to be rewritten. It’s the culture that needs to be changed.”

Before Drace interviewed Penrod, the vocalist performed “Pray About Everything” and “You Reign.”

“Through the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross … you guys, women, boys and girls are the plan,” Penrod then told the congregation. “It’s up to us to take this Good News to the world. [Jesus] brings dead things to life.”

Drace interviewed Penrod and his wife Angie, who are the parents of one daughter and seven sons, all of whom were homeschooled.

“Parenting is a cinch compared to wife-ing,” Angie Penrod said with a grin as she patted her husband on his knee. “The hope is greater than the challenge. … Faith, hope and peace are available through the Holy Spirit. Hold on. Believe what God says.”

Her husband concurred. “Struggles are a part of life,” Guy Penrod said. “You can’t get through it without God. I lean on God.”

Joe and Kim Stanley, vocal evangelists from Fayetteville, Ga., spoke of the death of their daughter when they were interviewed by Drace.

Mount Hood, which can be seen east of Portland, Ore., unless it is shrouded by clouds, reminds her of God, Kim Stanley said. “Like Mount Hood, even when I couldn’t see, God is still there,” she said.

Psalm 127:1 starts, Unless the Lord builds the house…. “If we as Christian parents and grandparents do not instill Christian values in our children, if we do not live Christian lives in front of our children, do not expect the world to do it,” Drace said in his sermon.

Southern Baptists Evangelists officers are (left to right): Russell Johnson, music director;
Kristi Johnson, music director; Joe Stanley, assistant music director;
Kim Stanley, assistant music director; Amy Stockwell, secretary-treasurer; Kay Cox, recording secretary;
Keith Cook, vice president; Jerry Drace, pastor advisor; Terry Veazey, president

“What do children want most?” the evangelist asked. Time, love. Boundaries. Godly parents. Security. “What do children fear the most?” Divorce. Abuse. “What is the greatest gift a man can give his children?” A godly father. Second: Love their mother.

“Do your children hear their father calling out their children’s names in prayer? Can your wife trust you in all matters? … A family altar will alter your family,” Drace concluded his message by inviting men to stand, and then their wives with them, in support of strong, Christian families.

An evangelistic invitation followed, led by evangelist Terry Veasey of Birmingham, Ala. He was elected president of the Southern Baptist Evangelists’ group during its annual business session Tuesday (June 15) at the Thompson Hotel in Nashville.

Other officers, all of whom are evangelists are: Vice President Keith Cook, On the Go Ministries, Springfield, Tenn.; Secretary-Treasurer Amy Stockwell, David Stockwell Evangelistic Association, Katy, Texas; Music Directors Russell and Kristi Johnson of Conway, S.C.; Assistant music directors Joe and Kim Stanley of Fayetteville, Ga.; Recording Secretary Kay Cox, Tom Cox World Ministries, Boise, Idaho; Parliamentarian Royce Williams, Missions Evangelism Ministries, Rocky Mount, N.C.; Co-pastor advisors Neal Hughes, director of missions for Montgomery Baptist Association, Montgomery, Ala., and Jerry Drace, Hope for the Home, Humboldt, Tenn.

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  • Karen Willoughby