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Giving Honor Where Honor Is Due: 25 Years of Concert Ministry for Bob Dearey

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For 25 years, he has labored behind the scenes for concerts at Evangel Church and at some of the largest Christian music events in the region like Autumn Blaze and Revelation Generation. Bob Dearey, Sr. has been a longtime promoter, band manager, and mentor—but on Saturday, October 21, it was his turn to sit in the audience and enjoy the show.

On that evening, a multitude of friends, artists, and church members gathered at Evangel Church in Scotch Plains, NJ to honor him for 25 years of music ministry in the New York Market. One of those artists was Ed Nalle, the founding member of Glad, who brought many to tears with one of the group’s signature songs, “Be Ye Glad.” The 73-year old Dearey, who has Parkinson’s disease, raised his hand in worship as Nalle sang such poignant lyrics:

For you are timeless and part of a puzzle
You are winsome and young as a lad
And there is no disease or no struggle
That can pull you from God, be ye glad…

It was just one of many songs, tributes, and testimonies from artists with whom Dearey worked over the years. The evening had the same kind of God-honoring anointing that his concerts were known in the last quarter century.

“One of the reasons we loved coming to Evangel Church (during our tours) was the emphasis placed on the Gospel by Bob Dearey and the church,” said Nalle.

Rev. Chris Morante, senior pastor at Evangel, said, “Bob loves the Lord, and he loves the Lord’s work and music…His ministry was to help someone else succeed in their dreams. He wanted none of the glory.”

The event commemorating 25 years in ministry was sponsored by Evangel Church and Crossthreadz, the ministry of husband and wife Christopher and Dr. Rebecca Padot (also known as Rebecca Blacksmith). Over the last 10 years, Crossthreadz—a ministry that seeks to serve at-risk youth and underserved populations through mentoring, speaking, and community events—has worked with Dearey on various initiatives, including a concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.

“Bob is a man of extraordinary vision. He has a servant’s heart, and has had an enormous impact on the concert scene in the New York Market. He deserves to be honored,” said Christopher Padot.

Rebecca Padot’s connection to Dearey goes back into the 1990s when she hosted a Sunday Night block of youth-oriented Christian music on WAWZ (now Star 99.1). The current host of the Control Track show on Dish Satellite TV considers him a father figure.

Padot recalled working with Dearey on the Battle of the Bands and Autumn Blaze, which featured artists such as Cross Movement, The Waiting, Three Crosses, and Newsboys over the years. The Battle of the Bands, Dearey’s brainchild, helped launch numerous local artists into careers. Some of those bands include: Unspoken, Article A, Kronicles, and Runaway (Nelson Diaz), who affectionately referred to Dearey as “pops” when he spoke at the tribute.

“Bob has done so much for so many people in this market,” Rebecca Padot said.

Danny Sciortino, the front man for Kronicles, recalled how Dearey encouraged him for sharing a testimony when he won the Battle of the Bands. From then on, Kronicles always shared the Gospel when performing, whether it was at Autumn Blaze, Creation, or in clubs playing before people who needed to hear Good News.

In addition to Nalle of Glad, the musical performers included the Evangel Church Brass Band (where Dearey once played trumpet), Auguste and Alden, and a trio comprised of of Nashville artist Wayne Tate, Evangel Church’s worship pastor Rick Jaruczyk, and Bob Dearey, Jr. The trio sang a medley of Andrae Crouch tunes.

“You have always been a huge encouragement and have touched so many lives,” Tate told Dearey. “You always spoke into my life.”

Bob Dearey, Jr. also gave an emotional tribute to his dad, who once managed the band he played in, Limited Time.

“He has ministered to you and you have ministered to  him,” Dearey, Jr. said to the audience.

Dearey, Jr. and his sisters Erin Dearey Schempp and Moe Mawby, joined their mom Kathy, Bob’s loving wife of 53 years, for the special event. His grandchildren, his church family, and the New Jersey Christian community and beyond all celebrated a man who continues to serve the Lord, whether he is visiting shut-ins or dreaming about another great music event.

Pastor Morante spoke about Bob Dearey’s impact, especially at Evangel Church where he brought in artists such as  Phil Keaggy, Big Daddy Weave, the Imperials, Wayne Watson, Newsong, Phil Driscoll, Bryan Duncan, Glad, and Bob Carlilse.

“The Bible says to honor those who labor among us,” Pastor Morante said. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Bob has played a key role in this area through music. Only God knows how many lives have been touched.”

-written by Tom Campisi