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From Hardship to Empowered: A Journey to God

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Benny Tate grew up in a dysfunctional home in Tennessee. His mother was single, and his father wanted nothing to do with him. When his mom moved in with her boyfriend, he was abusive physically and emotionally to everyone in the home. She tried to leave him several times but always came back. When Benny mustered up the courage to ask her why they always returned, she told him it was because she only had a sixth-grade education and had no way to support them. After roughly 14 years, his mother finally left for good. Yet, things didn’t get much better. 

As an attempt to make a living, Benny’s mom began selling whiskey from their home at night. Benny explains, “When your family’s making a living selling whiskey illegally out of the back door of your house, there is no such thing as a good night’s sleep. I can still hear the loud screeching and heavy slamming of the old screen door at the back of our cement-block house in that tiny mountain town.” 

After another failed relationship, Benny’s mom was ready to end her life. One night, she put a gun in her pocketbook and went to her cousin's house because she didn’t want Benny to find her body. When she got there, her cousin was different and shared that she had found Christ. Both prayed together, and Benny’s mom received Jesus into her heart. Benny says it was obvious that his mother was different after her encounter with the Lord. Her newfound love for Jesus consumed her and she started praying for Benny’s salvation daily. 

Living a sinful life, Benny would hear his mother praying for him every night. He felt ashamed of his lifestyle but wasn’t ready to surrender to God. This pattern continued for some time.

He explains, “One night around midnight, I said, ‘Mama I can’t take this anymore.’” She called the pastor, who came over and told Benny that he needed to pray. Benny responded, “I’ve never been in church. I don’t know how to pray.” At that moment, at Benny’s lowest, the Holy Spirit entered the room as the pastor led Benny in the sinner’s prayer. That was over 40 years ago. 

Benny’s desire to serve God and commit his life to helping others know Him led him into ministry. He became a minister and jokingly admits that initially, he preached out of the book of “Spasms” because he didn’t know much about the Bible. In time, he learned as he read the Word and ministered on street corners, in jails, and eventually in churches. 

As senior pastor of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia since 1990, the congregation has grown from 80 to 8,000 people which drastically exceeds the population of 800 people who live in that small town.


After teaching a Bible series about the Holy Spirit at his church in 2014, things began to change not only in Pastor Benny’s life but also throughout the congregation. 
In his book, Unlimited, he explains that people typically have three different attitudes toward the Holy Spirit:
•    Ignorance: Many Christians don’t understand who the Holy Spirit is.
•    Indifference: Lacking concern or seeing God’s spirit as unimportant. Christians typically think in terms of “saved” or “not saved.”
•    Indulgence: Having overly excessive experiences that aren’t based on biblical truths. He says the first step to getting to know the Holy Spirit is to realize He is a person. 


President Franklin D. Roosevelt told a funny story of growing weary from long receiving lines during White House receptions. Feeling unheard during small talk, the president decided to see if anyone was listening to him. As people shook his hand and flattered him with their words, he responded, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” As expected, people weren’t listening to him. They responded with “Marvelous!” or “Keep up the good work!” Finally, the ambassador of Bolivia listened to what the president was saying. When Roosevelt shook his hand and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning,” the ambassador responded, “I’m sure she had it coming!” 

Benny explains, “While the story is an entertaining fact, it also serves as an example of how Christians can miss out on being filled with the Holy Spirit. If we’re not careful, we will become distracted by things such as work, stress, family schedules, relationship expectations, and social media platforms that keep us from experiencing the manifested presence and power of the Holy Spirit that is available.”

Knowing the difference between receiving the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit, is something that Benny teaches. He says that when people give their lives to God, they don’t only get forgiveness of sins, they also receive the Holy Spirit as the seal of salvation (Ephesians 1:13). 

To purchase Benny Tate's book, Unlimited, please visit Benny's website at

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About The Author

Angell Vasko

Angell Vasko joined CBN in 1999. Acting as Floor Producer and Guest Coordinating Producer for The 700 Club, Angell briefs the cohosts before the live show and acts as a liaison between the control room and show talent during the broadcast.