Larry Ford: Little Is Much When God Is In It

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on November 14, 2012 – 2:16 pm -

Larry Ford: Little Is Much When God Is In It
By Sandi Duncan Clark

One of the nicest, most gracious couples in Southern Gospel music is Larry and
Sherryl Ford. No matter where you meet this charismatic couple, they greet you with a
smile, a hug and a warm handshake. This IS Larry and Sherryl Ford. More than forty
years of marriage, six children and eight grandchildren, have melded this couple into a
ministry of faith and family that God has used all around the world.

Larry’s first performance was on the stage of his home church in Levelland,
Texas. Standing on a chair, singing “How Great Thou Art,” and accompanied by his
Mom at the piano, Larry began an illustrious music career. Larry credits his mother for
instilling in him and his brother, Bruce, a love for God and a love for music.

“Our musical training began at home and at church. We learned to sing shaped notes;
the old fashioned way to read music. Mom saw to it that we were also trained by an
Italian vocal coach, who began our formal, classical training” Larry stated. Later, Larry
attended Eastern New Mexico University on a music scholarship.

During those years, the family; Larry, his brother Bruce, along with his Mom and Dad,
would sing and his Mom would play piano. On Sunday mornings, they often sang for
their church’s live radio program before going to the morning service and singing. “More
importantly, my mom and dad modeled for us a life of faith and trusting God.” Larry
adds.

From that early beginning to some of the grandest stages all around the world, Larry
Ford has ministered and entertained thousands of people with his testimony and vibrant
tenor voice. Larry has appeared at many Gaither Homecoming events and on a number of
videos. As an ordained minister, former pastor and evangelist, he has shared the love of
God and the plan of salvation wherever he is called.

He stated, “And I still sing ‘How Great Thou Art.’ Of course we know that this is
one of the most well-known songs in Christian music and I’m often asked to sing it. As
we’ve traveled all over the world, I’ve learned to sing it in Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese,
Italian, Russian and German. It is one of my most requested songs.” He always tries to
report his “How Great Thou Art” stories to their good friend, Judy Nelon.

Singer, pastor, evangelist, pilot…these are some of the hats this gentleman wears. “The
last church we served as pastors was in central Florida in 1980. Sherryl and I remain very
involved in the ministry of our local church here. We especially love being in church
together on Wednesday nights, because I am gone nearly every weekend for concerts,
church services and conferences,” Larry stated.

The venues where Larry performs are many, and varied. “People have seen the
Gaither videos on TV or they’ve been to a Gaither concert all over the world, and

because of that, I’ve been invited to churches of every denomination all over the country
~ actually, all over the world, from Alaska going east all the way to Japan, and from
Norway in the north to Argentina” he shared. Because of the variety of churches and the
areas where I’m called, I try to learn as much about the congregation as I can. This often
includes learning a song in a new language. It’s hard to put into words the experience of
hearing ‘Because He Lives’ sung in five languages at one time as we did in Aruba.”

“There is always worship music in the native language of the countries we visit, and
I do my best to learn at least a chorus in the language of the country I’m in,” Larry
explained. “Just recently I was in a church where the audience was about half Hispanic.
I was able to sing “O, Cristo, Yo Te Amo” (My Jesus, I Love Thee) in Spanish, and the
audience was able to enjoy the message in their language.”

When asked how he adjusted to travel to a foreign country, he stated, “I do my best
to find common ground with the worshippers; a common ground with which we are all
familiar, and God never fails to lead us to that place.”

Larry’s appearances on the Gaither videos and events have introduced fans to his
previous recordings and the songs he sings. He recently released a recording with
some new music. “Sometimes we get comfortable, and we need to try something
new,” he said. “Kenna Turner West, whom I’ve known since she was eight years old,
produced my new album, ‘Praise Him Anyway.’ Kenna is an awesome song writer and
producer. Actually, her father, Ken Turner, the famous bass singer for the Blackwood
Brothers Quartet, was best man at our wedding.”

“Anyway, Kenna wrote four of the songs that I recorded and I trust her completely,”
Larry further explained. “However some of the songs were a “stretch” for me and I
wasn’t comfortable in the beginning. Of course, they do the music tracks first, and then
we go back into the studio and do the vocals,” Larry said. “When I went back to do the
vocals, I just thought I couldn’t so some of the songs. They weren’t me.

“There’s a fine line between growing musically and singing what people expect to
hear. After lots of discussions with Kenna and her husband, Kerry West and more talks
Sherryl,” Larry continued. “I began getting comfortable with the music and God brought
it all together.” Larry settled into the new music and has found that everywhere he sings
the new songs, people love them. “I tell you, I just didn’t know at first if this would
work, but there are some great songs on this project by songwriters like Kenna, Marty
Funderburk, John Lemonis and a friend from Northern Ireland, Keith Getty.

Kenna, John Lemonis and Sue C.Smith wrote a song that ministers to me every time I
sing it. It’s called, ‘Take My Life’. Part of the lyric is, ‘Take my life, every breath, let the
sacred be all that’s left.’ I love that song.”

Larry concluded, “When we totally trust God, He works things for our good, and
His glory. I’m thrilled every time I sing “Praise Him Anyway” and another song Kenna
wrote, “Red Letter Day” because the message excites me and I can see the same feeling

on the faces of the audience. I’m reminded of the verse in Ephesians 6:13, ‘His strength is
made strong in our weakness,’ and I’m so thankful for that.”

Talking with Larry and Sherryl was such a blessing, and while we laughed together
and talked of God’s goodness in their ministry, I must say that his testimony and wisdom
brought tears to my eyes and a quickening in my heart. As Larry told of a recent revival,
he shared the following story:

“When I finish a service or a concert service, I try to be aware of an opportunity for
anyone to come forward for prayer, no matter what the need,” Larry informed. “At the
end of the service that night, a ninety two year old woman came forward to accept Christ.
Her testimony was that she had been in church all her life, however during that revival
she realized she had never had a personal relationship with God. His grace continues to
amaze me!”

And what a blessing it was to this writer…to know that God loves every one of us,
and His mercy is long-suffering.

Larry and Sherryl will continue to minister as long as God directs. “He is a God
of forever, and if it’s another ten or twenty years, I want to be found faithful and
accountable,” Larry testified. “I love being able to sense the Lord’s pleasure. Eternity is
a reality, and it’s up to us to be accountable for our daily actions and for our ministry.”

“Praise Him Anyway” is highly recommended for the enjoyable music and for
the reminder the songs bring to us. It is available through Larry’s website, where
you may also learn more about Larry, his music and his ministry. Contact him at
www.larryford.com.

 

If you enjoyed this story read more in this months magazine here


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