Leon Westerhousecomment (0)
February 13, 2014
By Leigh Pritchett
Huffman Baptist Church, Birmingham
Birmingham Baptist Association
Favorite Verse: Psalm 27:1
Favorite Hymn: “My Jesus, I Love Thee”
Hobbies: Keeping up with Alabama football; fishing
Family Status: Married to wife of 55 years, Patsy; children: Wendy, Wayne and Warren Westerhouse; seven grandchildren
In 1956 and 1957, Leon Westerhouse performed summer Broadway musicals in Atlanta. He was offered the role of Li’l Abner on Broadway but declined it. In 1958, an accident critically injured him and his wife. So severe were his injuries that he was told he would never sing again. Nonetheless, through singing and preaching, Westerhouse has proclaimed Jesus Christ across the United States and on 14 missions trips abroad. In 2008, he was inducted into the Southern Baptist Evangelists Hall of Faith. In July, 78-year-old Westerhouse — a graduate of the University of Alabama and a songwriter — will celebrate 50 years of being a full-time music evangelist.
Q: What influences in your life pointed you to Christ at the beginning of your faith journey?
A: A pastor named Dr. John L. Slaughter, at First Baptist, Birmingham; and a Sunday School teacher, Mrs. E.P. Jones. Another Sunday School teacher who really influenced my life was Mr. Clarence Cox. That goes way back. I was saved when I was 8 years old in a revival meeting at First Baptist.
Q: When and how were you led into the ministry?
A: I felt the call in 1964. I was working for Frisco Railroad. I felt my life wasn’t counting for the Lord. I felt like I had a talent to sing and I wasn’t using it for God. At that time, there weren’t any music evangelists in Alabama. I just felt God’s call to do it.
Q: What does the ministry demand?
A: One of the most important things ... is my personal devotional life. I turn my day over to Jesus first thing in the morning. Let Him be in control and guide your day.
Q: What do you get from the ministry?
A: A peace and a great satisfaction that my life is counting for the Lord like it is supposed to be. Doing what God wants you to do will bring great satisfaction.
Q: How do family members support you?
A: My wife, Patsy, has been a great encourager for 55 years. Wendy, Wayne and Warren encourage me.
Q: How do you see yourself involved in this in the future?
A: I just want to be available to God, to do what He wants me to do.
Q: What difference will this ministry make for you in the future?
A: It will draw me closer to God. It is my desire each day to be more like Jesus.
Q: What difference has Jesus Christ made in your life?
A: All the difference. When I had my choice to make about Broadway, I wanted to sing songs about Jesus because He’s real. I wanted to sing for Jesus, not just act a part.