’Tis midnight, and in Diana, Tennessee …
ALL-NIGHT SINGING draws a crowd to a small Tennessee community,…
Tom Holland, a renowned preacher, author and song leader for Churches of Christ, died Thursday at age 87.
He was a longtime minister for the Crieve Hall Church of Christ in Nashville, Tenn., and served for 31 years as director of the Nashville School of Preaching and Biblical Studies.
Visitation is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday at Crieve Hall’s building, 4806 Trousdale Dr. in Nashville. The funeral begins at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Holland was “a beloved soul, a preacher’s preacher,” said Jeffrey R. Archey, minister for the East Side Church of Christ in Cleveland, Tenn., in a social media post.
In addition to preaching and song leading, Holland was a song writer, Archey said. During a gospel meeting with the East Side church, he taught the congregation “Oh, Do You Love the Lord?” his own composition. When he returned years later, he led the song again.
“How often does the writer get to lead the song?” Archey said.
Fifty years ago this autumn, Holland and fellow song leader launched a twice-yearly, all-night singing program in Diana, a small community about 60 miles south of Nashville. The event quickly outgrew Diana Church of Christ’s small building. Organizers bought property and built an outdoor pavilion for the event, eventually expanded to accommodate 2,500 people.
“We never dreamed that people would be coming here from literally all over the United States,” Holland told The Christian Chronicle in 2008. “When God ordained in the New Covenant the use of the human voice to accompany our hearts in singing … there are many, many people that respect that. The Diana Singing still emphasizes that. And I think that is the basic appeal.”
In addition to thousands of sermons, Holland penned an autobiography. His signature humor and humility are evidenced in the title: “The Life of Tom Holland: The Sadness and the Gladness, the Trials and the Triumphs” or “The Audacity of an Autobiography.”
“He was an extraordinary pulpiteer and student of the Lord’s Word,” said Brian Giselbach, minister for the Wood Avenue Church of Christ in Florence, Ala. “He was truly a singing evangelist. Thanks be to God for this gracious and wise servant of the kingdom. He will be greatly missed.”
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