Keeping the Gospel in Gospel Music

Last night, Michael Booth did an online presentation on Keeping the Gospel in Gospel Music. It was a paid workshop, presented in conjunction with the American Society of Gospel Music.

He began with the story of how he became involved in Southern Gospel music. The Booth Brothers first sang together in 1989, singing part-time through 1995. At the 1994 Grand Ole Gospel Reunion, Eddie Crook offered them a recording contract. They turned it down. In the following year, it got harder to tour part-time and work a regular job. In 1995, Ronnie and Michael decided that if Eddie Crook offered them a contract at the 1995 Grand Ole Gospel Reunion, they would keep going—and if not, they would disband. Eddie Crook offered the contract, and they went full-time.

Things started slowly for them, but took off once “Still Feelin’ Fine” caught Bill Gaither’s attention, and they became Homecoming Tour regulars. But after several years, Michael started to realize that he was running on raw talent, and running dry.

Several years ago, a friend (Darrell Toney) challenged him. “”Michael, I love you, but I gotta tell you some things.” He told Michael that he was shooting from the hip; he had to get in the word, get a deeper grounding in theology and doctrine. He needed the power of God and of the Gospel in what He was saying. He was using the effectiveness and anointing of songwriters who were in the Word and wrote the words, without studying the word of God himself.

Booth observed, “If you’re born again you’re going to grow in the Word. And if you grow in the Word, you’ll look for the Word.”

As he started getting into the Word, he became very aggressive in his presentation. He was inspired in part by Paul Washer, but then he realized that Washer had an hour and a half to do heart surgery, but concerts only allowed ten minutes. He realized that he had to be concise, and to approach topics appropriately for his venues.

After about twenty-five minutes of an introductory talk, he took questions for nearly another hour. He was amazingly candid in his answers, admitting areas where he’s currently struggling and questions he can’t answer. He discussed theology, songwriting, culture, and even answered a few lighter-hearted questions.

It was a fascinating glimpse into the heart of one of Southern Gospel’s most beloved personalities. Since the audience appeared to be largely fans, more than performers, it was more a glimpse inside Southern Gospel than a challenge to those already in the genre.

ASGM is presenting a Booth Brothers concert tonight, here.

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10 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Well amen! The unsung hero = Darrell Toney. We need more Toneys in southern gospel music. 1 for every artist.

    • So true! It was nice to see him get credit by name.

  2. It was a great evening and I have to say I ageed with him on all points.

    • Posting the same link Lynn posted at AGM. Anyone who is interested can experience Booth’s webinar after the fact for $5. [EDIT, 6/4/12: Broken link removed.]

  3. WOW…Daniel…thanks for posting this. Been struggling in my own ministry lately, and I think this is just what I needed to hear. I know I’ll never be the beast talker in the world, but if I were more grounded in the word it’d sure help.

    • Glad to hear it!

    • Should be best…not beast. 😀 MY speech sometimes is already beastly. Now I cant talk or spell.

  4. I like the Booth Brothers for their stand for Christ. Michael has been speaking at several venues and he is communicating from his heart, if only , he would stop apologizing for preaching the Gospel. The Word of God is a two-edged sword, its suppose to cut both ways. God intended us to be reproved, rebuked, and instructed by the word. There are many who attend gospel singing venues who have no idea of the need for the Word of God, who need salvation, they need Jesus in their lives, and God has raised up singers the caliber of the Booth Brothers to fulfill his commission….go Michael and preach!!!

  5. Kudos to Michael on getting it right.

    A couple of years ago we heard The Booth Brothers in Roseville, MI at a Vic Seaton concert, and Michael gave the absolutely clearest Plan of Salvation that I have ever heard! I am 44 and went to church 9 months before I was born, but I have never heard a better Plan of Salvation than was given that night!

    I was very glad to hear such a clear message going forth at a Gospel concert. If SG Music has a future, we’d better start putting more gospel with the music!

    Looking forward to their online concert tonight. (Thanks to whoever is responsible for the giveaway)

    • It was a joint promotion from and ASGM, but they deserve most of the credit. They actually built the page, etc.