April 2015 Feature: Love Me Tender

April 2015 Feature: Love Me Tender

April 2015 Feature: Love Me Tender

Prodigal Members Share how They Were Nurtured Back Into the Church Family

Story by Mark Tyler
Kevin Booth left the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the early ’90s to go on the road as an Elvis Presley impersonator and became a country singer in a honkey-tonk band. He returned a decade later because his soul just couldn’t rest, even though he was following his dream.

Kevin Booth, an Elvis impersonator, is photographed on stage at the Hagar Hall in Hagerstown, Md. on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Visitor Magazine)

Kevin Booth, an Elvis impersonator, is photographed on stage at the Hagar Hall in Hagerstown, Md. on Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for Visitor Magazine)

“You think you can manage a relationship with Christ and still be in the business, and one thing leads to another,” Booth explains. “You’re sitting around the club and they say, ‘You never have a drink with us. Have one drink with us. It won’t kill you.”’ Then there’s another, and another. That leads to other vices.

“Everybody thought I was the happiest guy in the world,” Booth says. “But, when the lights went down and the crowds were gone, I would lay in bed at night with my eyes open.”

Booth never renounced Adventism, so occasionally he would find a church while on the road. “Once you learn those great truths, you can’t go anywhere else,” he says. “But, I was in a band playing 23 to 24 nights a month.”

Booth, like so many, just lost touch. “It wasn’t anything that the church did,” he says. “You tell yourself, ‘I’m going to get started this week,’ and it would never happen.”

What made the difference for Booth was an Adventist girlfriend, now his wife, who supported his career but encouraged him to return to the church. When they got married, Booth quit the band. He started attending Chesapeake Conference’s Hagerstown (Md.) church and now does a stage show celebrating Elvis’ gospel music.

“People aren’t just going to walk through our church doors,” Booth says. “We’ve got to go out and find the hurting and find the lost.”

Read and share these other articles from the April Visitor:

April2015VisitorCover_400pxFeature: Love Me Tender
Underscore: How Are We Addressing Gossip?
Peggy Lee Departs Her Favorite Port of Call—CURF
Editorial: Parable of the Lost Band
5 Tips for Approaching Missing Members
6 Practical Ways to Stop Gossip
Creating a Path Home: Williamsport Church Member Seeks After Missing Members