By Dianne Barker
JOHNSON CITY — Tennessee evangelist Charles “Toonie” Cash recently surpassed a ministry milestone — 50 years in fulltime evangelism.
Cash has served four terms as president of the Fellowship of Tennessee Baptist Evangelists. He has ministered in 18 states, preaching revival meetings and leading special conferences, teaching Bible studies and speaking for banquets and other events.
“I understand the average stay for an evangelist in this ministry is 18 months,” Cash said. “I appreciate the goodness of God in supplying every need over these many years and look forward to a busy preaching schedule this year. What a privilege to present the hope of Christ to a hurting world!”
A lifelong resident of Gray, Cash accepted Christ as a young boy at Oak Grove Baptist Church, Gray, where he later felt called to ministry, preached his first sermon and was ordained. The church recently hosted a reception to recognize his five decades in evangelism.
A revival meeting at Oak Grove in October, 1971, helped confirm the call to evangelism. The meeting planned for one week continued two-and-a-half weeks with numerous decisions, including 55 professions of faith and about 45 coming for baptism.
The young preacher left his pastorate at Green Pine Baptist Church, Johnson City, and organized the Charles “Toonie” Cash Evangelistic Association. The first meeting on Jan. 15, 1972, was held at the home of two of his newly chosen board of directors, James and Dianne Barker.
When the temperature dropped to seven degrees and an ice storm caused a power outage, the group gathered around the fireplace and conducted business by candlelight.
Before ministry, Cash was a star basketball player. At Boones Creek High School, where he played for Coach Bobby Snyder, Cash was named All-State and honorable mention All-American.
After high school, he was recruited by Milligan College basketball coach Harold Stout, and Cash set school records that still stand.
Milligan proclaimed Feb. 13, 1971, to be Charles “Toonie” Cash Day in honor of the athlete regarded as “an inspiration to others and a spokesman for Jesus Christ, exemplifying high Christian principles and leadership.” Cash was inducted into the Milligan Athletic Hall of Fame in October, 1996.
Cash noted that early in his ministry, he averaged preaching 25 to 30 revivals and Bible studies every year, while also preaching for numerous other special occasions.
During his first year in evangelism, he preached a revival at Sinking Creek Baptist Church, the oldest established church in Tennessee (at the invitation of then pastor Reece Harris) resulting in 88 professions of faith, over 50 baptisms, with about 230 total decisions.
“It’s hard to get unbelievers through church doors today,” said Cash, who has been a member of Boones Creek Baptist Church, Johnson City, since 1972.
“The economy has slowed things down, and revival work is taking a beating,” he said. “But the Lord has kept me busy preaching.” B&R