• February 19, 2020

Acuff follows teaching with ministry - Odessa American: Local News

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Acuff follows teaching with ministry

Odessa native has led church choir and band since 2013

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Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2020 4:00 am

When the Rev. Joe Acuff gets up each Sunday morning to lead the choir and stage band at Crescent Park Baptist Church, he hopes to invoke the Holy Spirit and prepare the people to hear the sermon.

“My goal is to lead out in praise and worship and help people who may not have shown up in the spirit to get there,” said Acuff, the 3002 E. University Blvd. church’s music minister since 2013. “We try to inspire the congregation to participate in worship and prepare them for hearing the message of the Gospel.”

Acuff is an Odessa native who graduated from Permian High School in 1968 and worked in sales for Zales Jewelry, as a commercial items teller at the National Bank of Odessa and in management at Bill Sears and Everybody’s supermarkets. He attended Odessa College, took a degree in art with a history minor at the University of Texas Permian Basin and taught for 18 years in Ector County ISD, the last 12 in the sixth grade at San Jacinto Elementary School.

Acuff was music minister at Kingston Avenue Baptist Church for 20 years before going to Crescent Park. He and his wife Jo Ann have two children.

A singer, he has no formal music training other than a week-long course in conducting at the Glorieta Baptist Encampment in New Mexico. He is part of the 135-member Singing Men of West Texas, having performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 2018, and is a cousin of the late Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff of Nashville.

Crescent Park’s 10:45 a.m. services are attended by an average of 90 people. Blending choruses and traditional hymns, its choir has a dozen members and its band features pianist Sally Pool, keyboardist Jerry Lesher and bassist Bob Smith.

“Music enables us to get the Gospel message out in a way that people will listen to when they might not listen to a sermon,” he said. “It can reach a part of your mind that the spoken word might not. My parents, Gene and Hazel, were charter members of this church. My mother was a church pianist and my dad led singing.”

Deacon David Pool said Acuff “is a dedicated guy who loves the Lord.

“Joe knows God’s word and is always there to answer any question and solve problems,” Pool said. “He has also worked as our office manager and I don’t know what we would have done if he hadn’t come along.”

Pool said Acuff’s wife travels the Permian Basin to teach sign language to the deaf.

Odessa, TX

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