Quartet Takes CHOG Heritage Music Beyond the Movement
By Carl Stagner
One night at a little Baptist church in Tennessee, a team of Church of God musicians, worship leaders, and pastors proclaimed the message of Christ and the Church of God in song. After a particularly meaningful song, the quartet’s pianist spoke up regarding the problem of suicide in our culture today—how two young ladies had recently committed suicide back home. Responding to the tugging of the Holy Spirit, a lady within the sound of the pianist’s voice stood up to testify that she had come to that same depressed place in her life—it seemed like giving up was the next step. But God had told her to come to church that night, and this young lady’s life was forever changed. The quartet’s name is Common Bond, and theirs is a bond of perfectness reflecting the love and power of Jesus wherever they go.
It wasn’t too long ago that Common Bond Quartet, composed of Church of God pastors and lay leaders, graduates of Anderson College (now University) and Gulf-Coast Bible College (now Mid-America Christian University), decided to record a CD of hymns and spiritual songs that have become a part of our Church of God heritage. Their music and ministry isn’t just encouraging the saint; it’s also having a profound, eternal impact on souls desperate for hope and a future. Since the release of their CD, which includes nine heritage songs of the Church of God and two bonus songs originating from other faith movements (but which have become a part of our identity), the Church of God message is once again spanning the denominational spectrum.
“We were asked to sing for the ordination service of a pastor of a church we’d visited a couple times,” Karen Melton, quartet pianist, explains. “This was not a Church of God congregation, so I was surprised to learn that the song he requested was ‘The Reformation Glory.’ This pastor was a part of the Christian Church, but as he had listened to those Church of God truths, he knew that the message of ‘Reformation Glory’ was the message that he wanted to leave with the congregation as not only his message, but theirs as well. At the very end of the service, as the people were going out, the song was sung and the proclamation was made that they should, ‘Let it shine to every land!’”
Tracks on the CD, Hymns of Faith, Vol. 1, include the following: “The Reformation Glory”; “The Kingdom of Peace”; “The Church’s Jubilee”; “In His Love Let Me Hide”; “Pass Me Not”/“Lord, I’m Coming Home”; “Beautiful”; “A Child of God”; “He Lifted Me Out”; “We Have a Hope”; and “I’m Going On.” Tempo and stylings vary on each track, from traditional, to southern gospel, to having just a bit of a country flair. Listeners across the country and around the world have enjoyed hearing these familiar favorites time and time again.
“Having been in many different churches over the course of a couple of years,” Karen reflects, “we found that there was a common thread: the old hymns of the church still resonate with people. There is comfort, encouragement and truth to be found in so many of the words of those great hymns. As much of our musical upbringing was within the Church of God, it was natural that the songs that we remembered, and that had meaning to us, were the songs that were peculiar to the Church of God. They were the songs that had been influential in shaping our faith and values.”
“‘A Child of God’ has to be my favorite song on the CD,” Karen continues. “This song reminds us of our identity in Christ. We have the ability—even more, the gift—of being washed clean because of God’s great love for us. No longer bound by sin, we are free and can have complete peace. What wonderful words of comfort and affirmation!”
Rick, Karen’s husband, and lead singer of the quartet, prefers “The Reformation Glory.” “I think we all have our favorites, but it tells it like it is for the church. We are supposed to spread the gospel, to shine the light, to tell the story to every land! We are not to be silent or blend in with the crowd; we are called to proclaim the truth!”
You may have heard Common Bond Quartet at the North American Convention. Perhaps you soaked in their rich harmonies and pure blend at one of the Southern Gospel Gatherings hosted by Pastor Mitchell Burch and the Townesmen. Maybe they’ve visited your church, or maybe you’ve never heard them before. Now many of their songs are being heard on radio stations that reach listeners far beyond their home base of Winchester, Kentucky—even across oceans.
As a traveling ministry, Common Bond Quartet has to focus their message at every venue. Unlike local church ministry each week, they have to be intentional about getting across the most important message in just one evening. But just like a classic sermon, the quartet’s concerts ultimately leave listeners with three points. One, that there is joy to be found in the Christian life; two, that no matter where you are in your life right now, God wants to move you to a different place—If you’ve never been saved, he wants you to make a commitment to him. If you’ve been a mediocre Christian, he wants to you be on fire for him…; and, three, that God is faithful. No matter what you’ve gone through, no matter what you’ve done, no matter your current situation—God will be faithful to his promises.
Perhaps that’s why God is blessing Common Bond Quartet. Without fail, without compromise, this group of ambassadors for Christ and for the Church of God are going out into the highways and byways with the life-changing message of the gospel. What a bonus that this message has been poetically etched into the classic hymns of the church to be sung and cherished over and over again.
Common Bond Quartet is available for booking throughout the Midwest region—singing an average of seventy-five dates per year. In November, they will set sail on a gospel cruise with many of the artists well-known from the Gaither Homecoming Tour, including the Nelons and Michael English. For more information, visit www.commonbondquartet.com, or contact Karen Tate Melton by phone at 541-974-5002 or via e-mail at email@example.com. Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.