Music Group Truth Celebrates 50 Years of Ministry at June 17 Reunion Concert in Mobile

Roger Breland currently holds several positions at Mobile University: Director of the Roger Breland Center for Performing Arts, Dean Emeritus of the Alabama School of the Arts, Executive Director of Voices of Mobile, and Special Assistant to the President of Mobile University. . . But when asked, he only replies that he was the “founder and director of Truth for 31 years”.

Young people today may not immediately recognize what it means, but Christians growing up in the 1970s and 1980s knew that the word “truth” didn’t just mean something factual – it was the name of a powerful vocal and musical group that lasted 31 years, had over 400 members, made 61 recordings, toured 27 countries and performed at least 10,000 concerts in front of over a million people. It’s story and Breland’s story are almost one and the same.

“In my early twenties, I was music minister at Spring Hill Baptist Church when the Jesus Movement moved east and contemporary Christian music was brought to the Deep South,” he said. Breland recalls. “I was a young man and this music really, really excited me. And I saw what it did for the young people in my church.

In the late 60s and 70s, Breland led a Spring Hill Baptist group in Mobile called The Varsity, which eventually became a full-time ministry.

Then in the summer of 1971, Breland left his family and hit the road with the band that would soon be known as Truth, an acronym for “Trust, Receive Unchangeable True Happiness” in Jesus.

In the early 1970s, Truth featured new songs by Bill Gaither and Andre’ Crouch. The group was invited to sing at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. The response to their music – especially the song “Church Triumphant” – led to more bookings and lots of travel.

Innovate

Those first days were not easy. With just three station wagons and a truck, the band played as many as 350 gigs a year, some in locations that had no indoor plumbing and had never seen drums and guitars in church.

The truth was supported by love offerings, the sale of a $5 record, and the generosity of church friends who allowed them to stay in homes.

Breland doesn’t credit having been on the road for decades to its leadership or even its talented musicians. Instead, he credits his wife Linda.

“My wife is an intercessory prayer warrior, and she prayed to us,” Breland said. “Linda is responsible, I believe, as much as anyone for any success.”

These prayers led to some amazing moments, one of which started with a phone call.

Roger Breland and his wife, Linda. (Photo courtesy of Roger Breland and Truth)

Lives changed

“He said, ‘My name is David. I haven’t seen Truth in 12 years, but my dad sends me the tapes – watch out, the bands“recalls Breland. “‘I got saved in a Truth gig when I was in the 12e to note. I was a juvenile delinquent. When I got saved, God changed my life and I went to Bible college. I am a pastor now and I would like Truth to come and sing in my church.

“I was touched by this story and said to him, ‘Tell me about your church.’ He said, ‘Well, we’re finishing our building and it can accommodate 10,000 people.’ »

At the time, few churches were so large, and Breland knew that David was not the pastor of any of them. Asking where he was, David replied, “Manila, Philippines.”

“When God opened the door for us to travel to the Philippines, we performed three or four concerts a day for 10 days sponsored by the Cathedral of Praise,” Breland recalled.

Some 20,000 people filled out cards professing a first decision for Christ during this tour. Members of the Cathedral of Praise followed them.

“Some might say that sounds like an exaggeration, but that’s the real count according to Pastor David Sumrall and his team which currently has 40,000 members in the church,” Breland said.

God’s Blessings

As a child growing up in southern Alabama, Breland’s dream was to go to college, marry the “most beautiful girl in the world” and lead music in a large church.

“It showed me how small I am and how big God is — how he is in the stretch business,” Breland said. “David was a shepherd boy. He killed Goliath and God made him king. No one would have chosen David.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think anyone would have ever chosen me. I don’t think I would have chosen myself to be able to do what I was able to do.

This list of accomplishments includes interviewing Russia’s Minister of Religion in the Kremlin and sitting at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington with a group of Middle Eastern men discussing how to get Bibles into their homes. restricted countries. Breland looks back, partly in awe of the things he has seen and done.

“But God stretches us all and lifts us up when we put our lives in his hands,” Breland said. “I am the result of God’s blessings – somely not the result of being so talented.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities God has allowed me to be part of over the years…I’ve seen God do the unimaginable in my life, and I’m grateful.”

Breland and his wife will be honored at Truth’s 50e Meeting in Mobile on June 17. For more information, visit Eventbrite.

Learn more about the meeting here.

William N. Fernandez