Gospel Music’s Leading Man, Earnest Pugh, best known for his classic hits “Rain On Us” and “I Need Your Glory,” has added a new milestone to his long list of achievements as he continues his year long 20/15 Celebration (20 Years in ministry and 15 years in the music industry).
Recently, the dynamic vocalist was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree in Christian Counseling from the Institute for Teaching God’s Word (ITGW) in Rockdale, TX for his 20 years of dedicated service in ministry, the music industry and the community at large.
This honorific comes as Pugh is promoting his new radio single “More of You” that has landed in the Top 40 after a week in release. The song hails from Pugh’s forthcoming The W.I.N. (Worship In Nassau) Experience CD that releases on P Man Records on August 27, 2013.
Recorded live in Nassau, Bahamas in the Grand Ballroom of the Atlantis Hotel, the album commemorates Pugh’s 20-15 Celebration. The CD/DVD project features cameos by gospel icon Shirley Caesar, Rance Allen, LeJuene Thompson and Vincent Tharpe & Kenosis.
Most Pugh fans are likely unaware that he’s been quietly doing course work to earn a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling from ITGW and expects to graduate in 2014. The smooth singer, who has a B.A. from the school and a Master’s of Divinity degree from Howard University, was motivated to further his education after a conversation with his daughter.
“When my daughter got into high school and had difficulty identifying a career field that fulfilled her I felt frustrated and convicted because I was a public success as an artist but private failure as a parent,” Pugh recalls. “I was determined to master the art of listening and providing counsel to my daughter and worked hard at becoming as effective outside of the pulpit as I was inside of it.”
Pugh’s passion for counseling was also nurtured at Washington, D.C.’s Howard University Hospital where he trained as a chaplain in the cancer ward while working on his master’s degree.
“I wanted to reach out to hurting people and address issues that are never addressed in a church setting,” he explains. “I’ve mastered the art of listening and feel that effective counseling will ultimately push people on the road to destiny and purpose.”
In the future, Pugh plans to open a counseling center (Cast Your Cares Christian Counseling Center) to privately tackle issues that people in the church and the music world contend with on a daily basis. Pugh is Associate Pastor and Artist-in-Residence at the Silverlake Christian Church of Pearland, TX.
“Having Dr. Pugh overseeing our music and artists has taken our worship to a totally new dimension,” says the church’s pastor, Reginald DeVaughn. “We know God’s very best is yet to come.”