Just Call it Southern!

May 3, 2012

By Carl Stagner

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Cathedral Quartet. Maybe you remember listening to the classic Blackwood Brothers or the legendary Kingsmen Quartet on the radio as a child. Or maybe your Gaither Homecoming videos are a bit worn out from continuous play. Whether the artists are new or old, whether the songs have a country flavor or a modern sound, those who know the music best just call it southern. For the sixth year in a row, NAC attendees will have the opportunity to worship and celebrate the joy of Christ, southern-gospel style!

Senior pastor Mitchell Burch sings baritone for the Townesmen Quartet, aptly named for the church out of which they minister. Burch is well-known in the Church of God for his preaching, but perhaps few know that he has sung with several gospel groups since he was child. These days he joins Jeff Allison, Greg Woodrum, and Aaron Ferry to produce classic four-part tunes that are sure to delight the soul. You’ll see that their love for the Lord is unmistakable as you hear them testify through song at the southern gospel concert on Sunday afternoon during NAC.

There’s something very special about family harmony. At this year’s gospel concert, you’ll hear the close-knit harmonies of the Means Family. As the senior pastor of First Church of God in Lancaster, Ohio, and recent contributor to Communion Together, William Means has served in ministry for more than forty years. His family has long possessed talent in music, but they rejoiced when they finally had the chance to produce a CD in 2009. The text on the back cover of their project, I’ll Not Fear, says it best: “This project is the realization of a dream. Our family has wanted to record for years and now God has made it possible.” The family group, composed of William, Cathy, and Tim Means, as well as Angela and Paul Russell (daughter and son-in-law), hopes that “you will be lifted and inspired by the songs [they] have selected with God’s direction, for they all tell a message.”

Joyful Noyz, a ministry from the First Church of God in Galesburg, Illinois, is on a mission. They seek “to lead believers to Jesus Christ through song and testimony, and to encourage and strengthen faith to establish believers.” Since 1998, the group has dedicated themselves to sharing the good news of Christ across the country with the gifts they’ve been given. Composed of Chuck and Lanni Hillery, as well as Rick and Nona Carroll, Joyful Noyz doesn’t just produce noise—they minister through music that is pleasing to the ear! The pioneers of the Church of God were very familiar with the experience of joy in the Lord, and it was evident in the music they wrote. As you listen to this group from southern Illinois, you’ll see that they too know that there is joy in the service of the Master.

Be sure to get enough sleep on Saturday during NAC; for on Sunday afternoon, June 24, at NAC 2012, there won’t be time to take a nap! From 2:00 to 3:30 PM in Reardon Auditorium, join in a celebration featuring quartets representing three Church of God congregations.

To learn more about this year's North American Convention and how you can register, visit www.chog.org/NAC.