Singer and pastor RAY BEVAN was once blown and buffeted by the restless search for stardom. Then he let Christ in and slowly and painfully learned to go where the Holy Spirit was blowing. Tony Cummings went to Newport to meet Ray.
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"My wife said to me 'You know, I read this morning 'unless the Lord builds the house they that labour, labour in vain'. And it suddenly freed me. I said 'Lord, what you're saying is it's not my baby, it's yours.' So I said 'Okay, if it goes wrong it's not my problem it's yours'. So that released me. I got up on the Sunday morning -- 35 people in the first three rows, that's all. And the centre holds 1,000. 35 people in a thousand seat auditorium looks very small. You know,, when I got up on that first Sunday morning I didn't care if there was two, there I had such a peace. I thought I was just there for three weeks. I was still there after 14 months. I remember walking on the mountain after about six weeks and saying to God 'I'm going to be here a bit longer than three weeks aren't I Lord?' Cancelling all my ministry, all those engagements, was like cutting my legs off. My international ministry I had to cut off, or cut right back. The Lord said 'I want you to make King's a priority.' I thought 'Oh no'. But he died to let it die. I was right up on a mountain and I said 'Lord, why on earth have you called me to pastor this church and I've had no experience?'
Just answer me that, that's all, and I'll be okay'. And what the Lord said to me, I laughed out loud when he said it. 'When I asked Noah to build a boat, did I ask him because of his previous boat building experience? That's why you're going to be successful. That's where your success is. You listen to me and I'll tell you where to get the wood, how much pitch to put where, how to keep it afloat.' You know, I laughed. I had a great time with the Lord that morning. Now, we meet on a Sunday night and we're up to nearly 600 on a Sunday night. And this Sunday morning (27 October 1991) we had over 400 in the service. I've got 50 counsellors trained; I've got a ministry team of 15 in different departments - Sunday School, youth, music, visitation, pastoral - I've had to set that up and that wasn't pre-planned. King's is an on-going miracle and I give God all the glory.'
I pick songs with a view to singing them live, 'cause I'm a minister, so I just pick 'em up all over the place. I do strive for excellence in performance and also in recording but it doesn't really bother me if it isn't recorded in a 48 track with a 100K plus budget. As long as what we've got is good I'm happy.
After a period of laying his music ministry down, God has given Ray the go-ahead to accept some engagements. Today his musical ministry is reaching more people than ever before. At the beginning of 1991 he signed to Word Records and with the multi-talented keyboard player/ producer Mai Pope recorded the album 'Psalms, Hymns And Spiritual Songs' which has been a big seller in Britain's bookshops since its release. "It was a wrench leaving Chapel Lanne," admitted Ray. "Rob Andrews has been incredibly supportive of my ministry down the years. But I needed more distribution and Word could give me that. Now I'd like to do a second volume of 'Psalms, Hymns And Spiritual Songs', I've already got some songs in mind."
For the future? It seems God has more plans yet for this most amazing musician and pastor.
"I'm travelling internationally more now than ever. There are tremendous developments in the area of my music ministry which are beginning to take it worldwide. So, isn't God good? He says 'You do this for me and I'll work on your house.' There's a nautical term, 'put every sail up to catch the wind'. That's what I must keep doing."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.