Lifting spirits and encouraging people during troubled times has been at the core of gospel singing star Rance Allen’s joyous musical messages ever since he began recording with his brothers Steve and Tom – collectively known as the Rance Allen Group – 48 years ago. Hit songs such as “Ain’t No Need of Crying” and “Smile” reflect such positivity.
The trio’s current CD and DVD, both titled “Live in San Francisco,” but actually recorded four years ago at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium, includes a new version of “Like a Good Neighbor,” a composition by Rance and Steve that the group first recorded in 1991.
“We wanted to redo that because we felt the message was applicable to today’s situation,” the 68-year-old singer says by phone from Toledo, Ohio, where he has been the pastor of New Bethel Church of God in Christ for the past 32 years. He also presides as the bishop of 14 other churches in Michigan and Ohio.
“There’s so much violence in the world today,” he explains. “People who don’t know the Lord, people who are self-sufficient and people who depend on themselves only – they can get into such problems. All of a sudden, you’ve got the Chicago thing happening – 20 or 30 or 40 shot every day. The same thing is going on in Detroit. It’s even starting to happen in Toledo. Because of the absence of God, the government is not even able to protect people. It’s a terrible, terrible situation that we’re living in. I love America. It is the best place on the face of the earth, but there is trouble in America
“This song simply says, ‘When you get through trying to do it yourself and you think that you’ve got the answer and you go back to God and you ask Him for the answer, we’re going to have a better world.’”
Asked how he manages to divide his time between being a pastor, supervising other churches, performing at concerts and holding revival meetings throughout the United States, Bishop Allen says, “I’m a real person who trusts in the Lord. I’ll say to the Lord, ‘Man, I can’t do all of this by myself.’ What I do at that point is I put it in His hands. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.’ The Lord directs my path. If it weren’t for Him, there’s no way I could do all of this.”
The Rance Allen Group will perform on the 6th Annual Reid’s Records Gospel Festival beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday,1, March 18, at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza. Also on the all-star program are Shirley Caesar, LaShun Pace, Douglas Miller and Paul Porter. Phone (877) 295-5227 for tickets.