Andrae Crouch: His Tribute
By Matt Vilkas, Cheryl Wilcox, and Tim Branson
The 700 Club
Tim Branson [reporting]: Andrae Crouch was only 14 when he wrote his first gospel hit. Since then, his music has resonated across generations and cultures. You may remember "Soon and Very Soon," "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power," and "My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)."
But did you know that gospel music’s most celebrated artist had a stuttering problem? It was so severe, his twin sister, Sandra, had to speak for him. It started when Andrae was just three years old.
Andrae Crouch: I was on my way to get some ice cream right down the street from where my folks had a business, and a guy picked me up and started running with me. And we’d always say, “If anybody ever kidnapped us, we would scream and beat them up.” And here this guy was running with me. I couldn’t say anything. My folks saw him carry me across the street ‘cause they heard me let out a yell and the guy dropped me. I remember then is when I started stuttering.
Tim [reporting]: Little did Andrae know that his stuttering would help him find his purpose in life.
Andrae: My father said, “Andrae, you never stutter when you sing. Why don’t you act like you’re singing when you answer a question?” So when someone would ask me, “How you doing?” I would hear [singing] “How you doing?” Din-da-din!
Tim: You’d walk away with a whole song.
Andrae: [singing] I’m doing all right. And I’m doing all right. Da-da. That’s the way I started singing, and that’s the way I got out of stuttering. So everything sounded like music.
Tim [reporting]: Andrae’s and Sandra’s parents started a church in San Fernando, California. It was at this very organ that Andrae discovered his God-given ability for songwriting. He was just 11. But music wasn’t the only thing that he and Sandra learned growing up as pastor’s kids.
Sandra Crouch: I remember when we were kids, and they would fast. My mother would say, “Come home for lunch.” When the family fasted, everybody fasted. She’d put an ice cube in our mouth, pray for us, and tell us “Go back to school. You’ll be all right.” They taught us how to pray and taught us that Jesus was our best friend. So when you get devastated, we always knew that Jesus was never going to leave us no matter what.
Tim [reporting]: Then in 1992 that lesson hit home. In less than a year they lost both their mother and father to cancer. Their oldest brother, Benjamin, took over the church. But tragically, he too died from cancer. Andrae and Sandra say they felt God pulling on their hearts to lead the church. But Andrae was at the peak of his music career and wasn’t ready to give it up to become a pastor. That is, until one Sunday morning when he got “a little push from God.”
Andrae: The choir was all pumped up. I was walking across the pulpit, singing something like [singing] “There was power, power, wonder-working power.” Then I got to this side of the church and all of a sudden I hit the ground. God told me, “Okay, Mr. Through-It-All, Mr. Soon and Very Soon, Mr. Take Me back, you will not get up from this floor until you tell me yes.” There were things in my life that to be honest… I’m sure there are a lot of people that are watching right now -- you could be a preacher, a preacher’s son -- but you got a little stuff that you kinda hide, things that you haven’t surrendered yet. I finally said, “Yes, Lord.” Boy, when I said, “Yes, Lord. That’s it,” I felt like that I could fly. I felt everything lifted off of me -- everything. I said, “God, if we ever had a time, we’re going to have a time now, ‘cause you’ve got me. I mean, you’ve got all of me.”
Tim [reporting]: Soon Andrae became the pastor of his father’s church, and he’s still there today. He also continues to write and produce music. But nothing is more rewarding to him and Sandra than helping people come to Christ even if that means never being no. 1 on the music charts again.
Sandra: It has nothing to do with the chart. It has everything to do with the cross. People will say, “Sandra, will you record?” You know, it’s so far away from my heart because once you say “yes” to God, He puts His passion [in you] for His people.
Tim [reporting]: In 2004, Andrae received a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. It stands as a reminder of how God used a boy who could barely talk to bring the message of Christ to millions.
Andrae: Anybody who passes that [will] say, “Who’s Andrae Crouch?” They say, “Well, he sang about Jesus Christ.” That’s the part that I’m grateful about.
Tim [reporting]: This grateful spirit has inspired Andrae and Sandra throughout their careers and ministry. And what’s their prayer for today?
Andrae: [singing] Take me back, take me back, dear Lord to the place where I first received You. Take me back, take me back dear Lord where I first believed. In other words, we want to be reminded of what God has done in our lives and never forget. It’s not saying, “take me back and let me do the old thing” but that attitude of desiring Christ. Take me back to that attitude.
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