Dale Perkins left this world on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. He was 87 years old.
When Shirley Perkins, Dale’s wife of 64 years, passed away in 2018, their son Clay called and said, “Daddy wants you to say something at the funeral.” “I’m not much of a speaker,” I replied. “I know, but Daddy wants you to say something.” In answer to my “What would I say?” Clay maintained that “Daddy says you’ll know what to say.”
A couple of weeks ago their son Stacy called and said that the Perkins clan wanted me to say something about my relationship with their Daddy. In the background I heard Clay say, “You’ll know what to say.”
I met Dale and his singing group Classic Praise in Longview, TX, in 2001. We brought Texas Governor Rick Perry to Longview for a Texas pastors’ luncheon. When toward the end of the meeting it began to drag, Dale Perkins jumped up and Classic Praise sprang into action. “That man has a gift,” I thought to myself.
Four years later, in 2005, we hosted our first Pastors and Pews event in Austin featuring Texas Governor Perry with 500 Texas pastors, plus spouses. Remembering the gifted guy from Longview, I tracked down Dale Perkins. That became the start of a 15-year alliance, in which Classic Praise traveled the country leading worship for pastors’ events in 20 states, as we tried to engage the Church in order to save America.
The American Renewal Project has been greatly blessed by the Perkins family.
In 2005, after our first 500 pastors’ event in Austin, the underwriter called to say, “Governor Perry loved the Austin event and we’re going to do another one!” Another $250K! The governor’s political aides kept saying throughout the 6-week mobilization and registration process, “get more pastors,” “add more pastors,” but when after the event the dust settled, we ended up with $40K in the negative.
I contacted the event’s speakers and told them, “I wound up $40K down on the Austin event and I’ll get your money for you when I dig out.” Mike Huckabee replied, “Keep your money, Lane.” David Barton wanted me to “Keep your stinking money,” and Dale Perkins wrote back, “Get it to me when convenient.”
Some of you may have known that Dale Perkins was an All-State basketball player in high school. He played college basketball at the University of Corpus Christi. I asked Dale one time about his All-State honors, and he replied, “There was a place on the court where I didn’t miss …”
I saw another facet of Dale Perkins in 2011. Byron Roach had made some kind of obstacle course for daytime activity at Maci and Kyle Roach’s wedding. It was a competition where you had to shoot at a target with an AR-15, a .22 rifle, throw an ax, shoot skeet, shoot a slingshot, cast a rod, etc… Byron called it “Cast and Blast.”
There were teams of two, and whoever won the competition received the first prize.
Having been teamed up with Dale, I had never seen Dale’s competitive side before. Whereas he always was so much fun and humbleness, his attitude that day was, “Lane, we’re going to win this thing …” And brother, could he shoot, throw an ax, and show himself to be a real competitor … I was impressed.
On reading this draft to my wife Cindy a couple of days ago, I said, “But you know what was the most impressive about Dale Perkins?” “Yeah,” she interjected, “you and he cheated at the ‘Cast and Blast!’”
The most impressive thing about Dale Perkins was that he loved God with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind; and his neighbor like himself. [Luke 10:27] What a joy it was to know Dale and to be able to call him my friend.
At Shirley’s funeral in 2018, I felt like I had a word for Dale: “We will see Shirley again, but not in this lifetime. But to her husband of 64 years, Dale Perkins, she will meet you at the Eastern Gate.” How I would have loved to have been there to see their embrace.
I spoke to Dale on the telephone right before he died. Cindy and I were taking Gary and Dana Miller to dinner when my phone rang. It said “Dale Perkins” in the caller ID. I answered but no one was there. I asked several times “Can you hear me?”
Deciding it was Dale needing prayer, I prayed, “Father, you say we have not because we ask not. In the name of Jesus, I’m asking for healing for my friend Dale Perkins,” and then I hung up. When his daughter Renee called to say that “Daddy went to be with the Lord,” I knew that Dale Perkins had been healed.
There are 7,147 promises from God to man in the Bible, wrote Reverend Dr. Herbert Lockyer [1886-1984], whom Billy Graham described as “one of the spiritual giants of the 20th century.” Many of the promises are conditional; when such promises are unknown, how can they be claimed or fulfilled?
The promises apply to us here and to the Kingdom to come. Lazarus had been dead for 4 days in the grave and Martha, his sister, was overcome with grief. She said to Christ, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” Jesus answered, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.” [John 11:25]
Three chapters later, in John 14:2, Jesus reiterated that “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
Oh, what a wonderful God.
American Renewal Project